The industrial and manufacturing sector in the United States accounts for 10.70 percent of the country’s total output ($2.5 trillion).

This industry is critical to the production of numerous products used every day in the United States and across the globe. However, despite its importance, the manufacturing field has experienced a progressive decline in employment for the past 40 years.

Are you struggling to retain top talent at your manufacturing company? Are you confused about why employees are leaving or what you can do to keep them around?

This blog discusses some of the most common talent retention problems industrial and manufacturing businesses face, as well as tips on how to overcome them.

Common Talent Retention Problems for Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses


If the industrial and manufacturing field continues to struggle with employment and employee retention, approximately 2.3 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030 — costing the industry $1 trillion.

Why are businesses in this industry struggling to keep employees long-term? Here are some of the most well-known reasons:

Worker Perceptions

One of the biggest issues affecting the industrial and manufacturing field is people’s perception of working for companies like yours. If employees feel disengaged and disconnected from their roles, they’re less likely to stick around or feel any sense of loyalty to their employer.

Some people who work in the industry feel that they’re undervalued or underpaid. These feelings, in turn, affect their engagement levels and decrease their overall desire to remain in the field.

Lack of Communication

Employers are more likely to be disengaged if they don’t understand the purpose behind their work, how the company runs, and how decisions are made.

One survey revealed that 65 percent of manufacturing employees understand the “why” behind recent changes in their organization. For the remaining 35 percent, this lack of understanding can lead to hesitance about buying into the changes and increased anxiety about what the changes mean for them.

Clear and proactive communication can help to prevent issues like employee anxiety and lack of buy-in. When leaders speak regularly about what is happening and why it’s happening, employees tend to feel more engaged and committed to their employers.

If you’re suffering from employee time theft, read more here on how to solve the issue.

Limited Growth Opportunities

When employees don’t feel that they have anywhere to go at a company, their engagement will naturally start to wane.

The same survey linked above showed that 65 percent of manufacturing employees feel that they have career growth opportunities at their current employer. If your employees don’t fall into this group, they may be less engaged and more inclined to jump ship when another job opportunity presents itself.

Lack of Employee Recognition

Another issue that can reduce employee engagement is a lack of recognition.

Approximately half of employees in the U.S. feel “somewhat valued” at work, and 1 in 10 don’t feel that they are “valued at all” by their employers.

If employees don’t feel seen and appreciated by managers, executives, and other leaders, they won’t feel motivated to go the extra mile. They also won’t feel guilty about leaving the company for a different job.

5 Ways to Retain Industrial and Manufacturing Staff


Because the problem of employee retention is multifaceted, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will help employers retain workers. However, the following are some of the most effective and practical strategies they can use to keep employees around long-term:

1. Prioritize Continuous Learning and Professional Development

When workers feel that they have the potential to grow and work their way up in a company, they’re more likely to be engaged and stay with their employer. To retain more industrial and manufacturing staff, look for professional development opportunities to share with them.

For example, can you offer courses on robotics, data analytics, or other skills that will help employees advance? What about management training and leadership courses?

2. Encourage Open and Ongoing Communication

Better communication will help you build stronger relationships with your employees. Better relationships, in turn, will lead to increased employee loyalty and decreased turnover.

It’s important to remember that good communication works both ways. In addition to being more transparent with your industrial and manufacturing staff, you must also make room for them to be more transparent with you.

For example, do you offer regular opportunities for them to meet with leadership, express concerns, or set goals for the future? If not, it’s time to start.

3. Use People Analytics to Make Informed Decisions

“People analytics” refers to information collected about the people who work for your company — including your industrial and manufacturing staff. This data can help you gain a better understanding of what is and isn’t working. It also allows you to make more informed decisions moving forward.

Say you distribute an employee satisfaction survey and find that 60 percent of your staff doesn’t know how their work contributes to the company’s greater mission. That’s a sign that you need to incorporate your mission and values more explicitly into your daily processes and communications.

4. Ensure Employees Feel Valued

It costs $0.00 to let your employees know you appreciate them.

Keep in mind, though, that it’s not enough to say that you value your employees. You must also show it.

If you say you value your employees but refuse to listen to or implement their feedback, you’re not showing that you truly care, are you? If your actions don’t match your words, your employees will feel less connected to you (and their jobs) and may be more inclined to jump ship.

5. Improve the Talent Search

Changing the way you search for and hire talent can also help you retain it. If you aren’t carefully vetting candidates during the hiring process, you’re likely bringing on people who aren’t great fits and are less likely to stick around.

How do you improve your industrial and manufacturing company’s talent search? Start with these strategies:

Build Your Employer Brand

If your company is known as a great place to work, you’ll have an easier time attracting qualified candidates who are engaged and likely to stay with you long-term.

Encourage employees to be ambassadors for the brand and include information about your company’s mission and values in your job ads so people know what you’re about as soon as they come across the listing.

Partner with the Best Industrial and Manufacturing Staffing Agency

Employment agencies can help you streamline the hiring process and connect with candidates who are likely to be a good fit (and easier to retain). Working with a local agency can be particularly helpful, as they have connections to job seekers in the area who are ready to start right away.

Offer In-Depth Onboarding

An in-depth onboarding and employee training process can also help you set employees up for success right from the start.

The more they know about the company’s mission, the “why” behind their job, and why it operates a certain way, the more engaged they’ll be. Increased engagement, in turn, can lead to improved retention rates and better employee perceptions across the board.

Dealing with no call/no show? Read How to Deal with No Call/No Show for a few tips!

Tips for Choosing a Staffing Agency

Many employers don’t realize that their hiring strategy has a significant impact on their employee retention rate. However, if you take your time to interview and hire qualified, engaged employees from the start, you’ll be less likely to struggle with attrition later.

Maybe you don’t have time to handle recruiting on your own. In that case, consider partnering with an experienced and reputable staffing company.

Don’t just take it from us. Take a look at how one of our job seekers had a positive and successful experience with our team!

Instead of Googling “staffing companies near me” and hoping to stumble upon a good fit, use the following tips to ensure you’re making the right choice:

  • Clarify your staffing needs: If you know what kinds of employees you’re looking for — and communicate that information to your potential staffing agency — it’ll be easier for them to help you find great fits.
  • Find out how long they’ve been in business: Generally, an agency that has been around for years or decades will be better equipped than a brand-new one.
  • Consider their specializations: Ideally, they’ll have previous experience working with employers in the industrial and manufacturing space and will know what to look for in candidates.
  • Read reviews and testimonials: Find out what past clients have experienced when working with this agency to see if they’re the right choice for you and your business.

Retain Industrial and Manufacturing Staff by Hiring Top Talent

The employee retention challenges that affect the industrial and manufacturing sectors are real. Fortunately, there are many steps employees can take to combat them, maximize productivity, and achieve their long-term goals.

If you’re struggling with employee attrition issues, utilize the strategies listed above. Partnering with recruiting agencies, in particular, can help you find the best people (those who are likely to stick around) for every open position at your company.

Do you want to work with an experienced staffing and temp agency with decades of experience working with professionals in the industrial and manufacturing field?

If so, the team at Meador Staffing Services is here for you. Reach out to start hiring talent today.