Human Resources: Long-Term Employee Retention Key to Business Success
By Barry Franklin, General Manager, Vulcan Information Packaging
Occasionally, we have the opportunity to have a prospective customer visit our manufacturing plant in Vincent, Ala. As we escort each visitor through our plant, the clean, organized facility with late-model automated equipment speaks for itself. Therefore, our focus of conversation always turns to our people. One stop we always make is at the photographs hanging on the wall of the hallway that leads into our manufacturing plant. I take great pride in sharing photographs and conversation about our 40 employees with more than 20 years of service to our company. This leads me to our secret of success for printers and manufacturers—do everything you can to retain and hold in high regard your long-term employees. This isn’t really a secret at all, because every general manager or plant manager at one time or another has been keenly aware of the value of knowledge available in their long-term employees. Today’s business world tends to make it easy for us to forget.
The following four benefits of retaining employees should be in the back of managers’ minds at all times.
1. Long-term employees have a strong knowledge base. As a custom manufacturer, employee longevity plays an important role in our products getting produced accurately and of the highest quality possible. Being an industry leader requires a structure of knowledge and directive that builds over time. Long-term employees have a wealth of knowledge in manufacturing techniques, materials and production procedures. When a manager strives to retain and put this valuable knowledge to use in their daily operations, productivity naturally increases. Success becomes routine and easily becomes part of day-to-day business.
2. Long-term employees pass down their skills to new employees, and operations run more smoothly. When problems arise, long-term employees most likely have seen those same problems in the past and know exactly how to overcome them quickly without slowing down production. In turn, waste, errors and spoilage is kept to a manageable level. Veteran employees skills are invaluable in a manufacturing environments, especially when they can use their knowledge gained over the years to benefit new employees who may still be green to the ways of the business.