Unfilled manufacturing jobs pose a considerable threat to the industry and the broader economy. Projections show that we could have 2.1 million empty positions by 2030, resulting in a GDP loss of $1 trillion.
If you’re serious about closing workforce gaps in your shop, it isn’t enough to place a “help wanted” sign in your window and hope for the best. You should be putting as much effort into attracting employees as you do to attract customers. So, what’s a modern machine shop to do?
You can double down on finding out what’s unique about your shop, spend more money on ads, host open houses, and partner with local colleges. But you need to do more than find great people: you also need to keep them.
Investing in training resources is one of the best ways to stand out as a shop and offer current and future employees the chance to continuously develop and grow in their careers.
If you’re in charge of hiring at your modern machine shop, you might think it’s time to invest more resources into finding talent. While your instinct isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s leaving out an essential piece of the puzzle: training.
Does Training Make It Easier to Hire?
The biggest reason to invest in training resources is that it gives you a wider talent pool to hire from. A weak talent acquisition strategy relies on waiting for the perfect prospects with ample machining experience to come to you.
A better approach? Search for people with relevant skill sets that can be developed through comprehensive training programs. Rather than looking for a lathe operator, look for a person who is passionate about working with their hands and pays attention to detail. Then, dedicate the time to training them on the specific skills required to run a lathe.
But training programs aren’t one-size-fits-all, and modern machine shop owners must meet potential employees where they are.
More experienced employees won’t need to cover the basics; less experienced employees need training that starts at square one. As a manager, it’s up to you to find the best way to train your staff. Machine shop organizations like NTMA offer access to a range of training programs that can put employees on a path to success no matter how much experience they have or what they need to learn.
The Training Life Cycle
A common misconception about training is that it’s only necessary until an employee has learned the skills needed to do the job they were hired for.
Instead, training should occur consistently throughout an employee’s tenure in your shop. Your team members want to know that they have a path to growth, and training is an important part of that trajectory.
To maximize employee attraction and retention, include these types of training for employees:
- Onboarding. Onboarding acclimates employees to their new company and role. Nine percent of workers have left a company because of a bad onboarding experience, so it’s worth taking seriously. A robust onboarding program can help employees feel more connected and engaged with their company.
- Job training. It’s crucial to train your employees on how you expect the job to be done from day one, even if they have years of experience. If you hire someone with no previous experience, a training program like NTMA-U can help them develop their precision machining skills to suit your open role.
- Cross-training. Even after your employees have the skills to excel in the role they’ve been hired for, it’s essential to monitor their development and cross-train them where relevant. If you have a lathe operator who appears to have the skills to program, cross-training will give them a chance to evolve with their strengths. Strategic cross-training that takes your employees’ interests into account can result in a happier, more engaged workforce.
One last benefit of training: it opens up a conversation with each employee about their future and what they bring to the table. Machine shop owners tend to look at a square peg in a round hole and address it by hammering as hard as possible. A better approach is to find a peg that actually fits.
When it comes to training, you may hire a person for a job who ultimately is a better fit in another role. If you stay open to discussion and engaged with your employees, you may discover hidden talents and passions that help your shop grow in unexpected ways!
Your NTMA Membership Can Help
Modern machine shops are far from defenseless in the war on talent. With the right training resources and the willingness to listen to employees’ needs, it’s possible to bring on motivated workers and support them through a long career in your shop.
It may feel daunting to provide meaningful training for your employees, but you don’t have to figure it out on your own. NTMA offers several training resources for our members geared explicitly toward workforce development. Regardless of your training needs, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for through your NTMA membership.
To access some of the best training programs around, join NTMA today!