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How to Onboard New Recruits Smoothly in Manufacturing.

How to Onboard New Recruits Smoothly in Manufacturing.

Gloria

Good onboarding is critical to preventing employee churn. It’s even more important in manufacturing, where employees have to quickly familiarize themselves with standard operating procedures and hit the ground running. Every minute counts and keeping everyone safe is paramount. The following best practices can help you onboard new recruits smoothly and prevent turnover. 

15 June 2022

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing has seen a 60% increase in job quitting since the pandemic. This includes all industries, including healthcare and hospitality. Experts predict the industry will see over 2 million jobs unfilled by 2030, costing the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion. Low wages are a contributing factor to this trend. But it’s not just about the money. 

A 2021 study by Purdue University showed that some manufacturing companies have seen less than 15% turnover rates while not paying considerably higher than their counterparts (who see 40% turnover rates on average).

What do these companies do differently? Two things stand out:

1. They invest in employee training.
2. They prioritize a safe work environment. 

Training and workplace safety go hand-in-hand. Both need to be fostered at the very beginning: during onboarding. 

 

The importance of onboarding in manufacturing.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee turnover can be as much as 50% in the first year and a half of employment. Good onboarding is critical to prevent churn in these 18 months. It’s even more important in manufacturing, where employees have to quickly familiarize themselves with standard operating procedures and hit the ground running. Every minute counts and keeping everyone safe is paramount. The following best practices can help you onboard new recruits smoothly and prevent turnover. 

 

Facilitate access to knowledge from the start.

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To operate machinery safely without downtime, frontline teams need easy and immediate access to the right knowledge. The problem is that most companies are still using antiquated systems to share this knowledge - think PDF files, word documents, or paper manuals. This makes it very taxing to put into practice. 

Today, your knowledge management system needs to be device agnostic, so employees can read SOPs and instructions on smartphones, tablets, or wearables. It should make it easy to access knowledge through links and QR codes, so they can get the info they need quickly to execute the task at hand. The overall purpose should be to build employee autonomy.

Using a modern, cloud-based solution, instead of dated tools, will also make it easier to keep knowledge up-to-date. Norway-based Orkla Foods was able to significantly improve knowledge transfer on the shop floor by using a digital work instruction system.

New employees can go about their work and get critical guidance the moment they need it, just by scanning a QR code.

Since the information is managed and easily updated digitally, operators can instantly see the most up-to-date information. They don’t need to spend time searching through outdated binders. 

Companies that use this type of knowledge system are able to improve time to competency for new recruits by over 30%. 

 

Train to motivate.

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Training to motivate is equally important during onboarding. A European-wide survey conducted in 2019 found that companies that invest in employee training and involvement benefit from better performance. But only 9% of workplaces offer comprehensive training that’s geared towards engagement. 

Employee engagement makes a big difference on the shop floor. Young professionals are especially prone to hop jobs if they feel a values mismatch or disconnection. If their relationship with managers is poor, they are even more likely to churn. 

Reverse this trend by involving employees and empowering them to contribute from day one. Your onboarding program should build a culture of continuous learning and improvement. It should also encourage new recruits to share their own ideas and best practices. This focus on collaboration and inclusion fosters well-being and drives motivation. 

For instance, HEINEKEN uses SwipeGuide’s digital instruction platform to capture, review, and implement the knowledge of its experts - employees who use machines at their breweries on a daily basis. When a user has a suggestion about how to improve a process or procedure they simply use the built-in comment feature to leave detailed feedback. This keeps employees engaged and motivated to improve their work environment. In the words of their own brewery managers: “operators feel empowered when they’re involved in the shaping process.” In turn, empowered employees are more productive and likely to stay on. 

Manufacturing companies that involve and motivate employees during training see 25% better knowledge retention compared to classroom-based training, which is typically top-down. 

 

Dedicated onboarding software for manufacturing.

Looking to revamp your onboarding program and get new recruits motivated and empowered?

Contact us to learn more about SwipeGuide’s digital work instruction platform. SwipeGuide is used by leading companies like PepsiCo to create SOPs, perform checklists, ace audits, and cut training times in half.

Gloria

Gloria crafts content about how the world’s top companies are rethinking how to write digital work instructions. Check out the rest of her articles to learn how innovative work instruction software can improve manufacturing processes.

15 June 2022