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.
3. Long-term employees create better productivity. Knowing the ropes, and showing them to coworkers, makes long-term employees invaluable in the production process. Long-term employees know that, for example, an order e-mailed to the production people is taken care of faster than one that is faxed. Years of experience in the company have shown them shortcuts that lessen the time it takes to get a myriad of things done. In addition, long-term employees have a better knowledge of how to reduce waste in the production process, and therefore increase productivity.
4. Long-term employees add stability to the workforce and build confidence and morale. An employee who has been with a company for a number of years shows newer employees that the company has a good working environment. If it didn’t, surely he or she would have found employment elsewhere. Confidence in one’s job not only provides an employee with a feeling of stability, but often times means they work harder for a company they know they will be with for the long haul. Happy long-term employees show coworkers that a job can turn into a career, and employees often have more of a vested interest in the company’s success.
What are you doing to ensure that your new employees turn into long-term employees? What kind of working environment are you creating for them? How can you build confidence with all employees, both new and seasoned? Addressing questions such as these with the goal of keeping employees as long as possible is one of the easiest ways to increase productivity, grow your business and raise confidence with your customers.
Barry Franklin is general manager of Vulcan Information Packaging, which specializes in high-quality custom binder and packaging solutions, including heat-sealed vinyl binders, case-made binders, presentation folders and media packaging. Barry may be contacted at (800) 633-4526, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Vulcan online at www.vulcan-online.com.