By Heather Ripley

Recruiting skilled workers for manufacturing careers is about to become more challenging as the industry rebounds and employees are needed to fill the positions being created or brought back to the U.S. from offshore.

Without having a recruiting plan in place, many businesses will find themselves scrambling to fill positions. Manufacturers with a social media presence, a good online reputation and a recruiting strategy will attract the most desirable employees, leaving the ones who have been slow to adopt these new platforms and technologies out of luck.

This is when having a communications strategy in place to help your business stand out from its competitors will make the difference between being a success and just barely staying afloat, or even going out of business. Being an employer of choice is becoming more important as manufacturing businesses expand and new ones emerge, leading qualified employees to be able to pick and choose from several potential employers.

Additionally, manufacturing industries suffer from an image problem, and this increases the recruitment challenges. Younger workers see manufacturing positions as being less desirable than office or technical careers. In fact, the younger workforce often mistakenly assumes manufacturing offers only unskilled, low paying positions. This may have been true in the past, but many manufacturing plants need employees who are computer literate and have extensive experience with programs and digital platforms to run the machines and trouble shoot when computers and systems malfunction.

How your manufacturing business presents itself to the online community is going to be a crucial factor in recruiting top talent. One of the ways to improve your recruiting success rate is through an effective public relations plan that creates brand awareness and positions you and your business as an industry leader. New manufacturing workers may have college educations, or know how to work with computers and programs. These workers are more adept in technology than the manufacturing workforce of the past.

Is your manufacturing business prepared for this new type of employee or is your HR department still recruiting in the same old way, with little success?

In manufacturing, using public relations to improve the industry’s image will be a key challenge, and educating the pool of potential employees about manufacturing as a valuable career will help.

There are many ways to garner the right kind of attention for your business through PR, and as manufacturing evolves as a potential career choice for workers, presenting your business as a desirable place to work will be what makes the difference.

PR will help you recruit top workers by:

  1. Promoting your company’s culture
    Today’s workers want to know that their employers offer a good work environment, in addition to a paycheck. While money was a main motivation for older generations, younger workers are more interested in the way a business treats its employees.
  2. Publishing referrals and testimonials online
    Today’s workers have a wide variety of social media platforms available where potential employees can research an employer’s online reputation and see what current and past employees say about working there. Putting testimonials on your business website and promoting the best through public relations strategies can help build your business image.
  3. Publicizing your company’s flexibility
    When deciding which manufacturing business to work for, the one offering the most flexibility will probably capture more potential candidates than one who is perceived as old-fashioned and stuck in the past. Workers want to see that they are valued and treated as individuals.
  4. Marketing the company’s benefits
    Whether it is a great healthcare program, a free membership to a gym or an on-site day care facility, PR can help make your business stand out from the rest. The competition for workers will get more complex, and the manufacturers with the best benefits will catch the attention of potential employees. But the key here is to market the benefits to the target audience in ways that will get the best ROI.
  5. Touting the company’s social responsibility
    Younger workers are looking for businesses that speak to their sense of social responsibility. The more conscientious your business is, the more workers you will likely attract. Good PR can make your business look very attractive. Post charitable giving or good deeds by the business or its employees to online platforms and use popular hashtags and keywords to up the social media buzz.

The manufacturers who adopt new recruiting processes and understand the value of marketing themselves to potential employees through new technologies and PR tactics will have a jump start on their competitors. In PR, change is the only given. For manufacturers, those who accept and adapt to changing times will be the ones who prosper.

Heather Ripley HeadshotHeather Ripley is CEO of Ripley PR, a global B2B public relations agency specializing in manufacturing and building trades. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com.