Employee Development Program for ManufacturersSmall and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) have begun to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, investing in new technologies such as advanced robotics, smart manufacturing, flexible hybrid electronics and additive manufacturing in order to grow and compete. However, there’s another often overlooked area they should also invest in to grow their company: their employees. By making an investment in employees, SMMs can begin to build a solid foundation for success and strengthen the backbone of their business.

5 Reasons to Invest in Your Employees

1. It Helps Recruit and Retain Employees 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that the average cost-per-hire for companies is more than $4,100, and that many cannot fill their openings quickly enough; in fact, the average time to fill a position is 42 days. For an SMM with high turnover, these costs can really add up. So, rather than lose good employees and bear the cost of replacing them, keep your best employees by developing a strong employee development program. By offering training and continuing education, you build loyalty among employees—and a loyal employee isn’t likely to quit. Not only that, it is viewed as a benefit when it does come time to hire a new employee, boosting your reputation and bringing in better candidates. Lastly, it helps grow their knowledge and skills, which can be a boon for you, because you never know where the next great idea will come from.

2. Grow Your Pool of Promotable Employees

All too often, when an upper-level position opens up, SMMs look to bring in a skilled new hire, passing over their internal employees. Not only is this viewed unfavorably by your existing employees, potentially causing resentment, it also neglects the fact that your current employees already know the day-to-day business, which means less training time. With a good employee development program, you’ll be able to identify which employees are ready for promotion and which are not, and when the time is right, you’ll have created a pool of skilled workers who will be ready to move up.

3. Increase Employee Engagement

Bored or disengaged employees may be dissatisfied with their job. Employee development training can shake things up, reviving their interest in their job, getting them out of their usual routine, and causing them to consider new perspectives on things. That’s not all; you’ll also be able to see which employees seem genuinely interested in taking on new roles and tasks, and which prefer the status quo. By identifying talents and weaknesses, you’ll know who is most promotable among your current crop of employees. 

4. Save and Earn Money

Well-trained and engaged employees are excited about work and tend to perform better. That will help you save money, as they will be more efficient and productive, potentially increasing output or sales. They’re also less likely to be absent from work. While many call-ins may be legitimate, employee morale can affect an employee’s absenteeism rate. Reports SHRM, organizations with good or very good morale experience a lower rate of unscheduled absences than those reporting poor or fair morale. In addition, the UpCounsel reveals that companies lose about 2.8 million workdays per year because of employee absenteeism. So, reducing absenteeism can really pay off.

5. Gain a Competitive Edge

Understanding industry trends and keeping an eye on what the competition is doing is essential for SMMs to survive. So doesn’t it makes sense to keep your employees knowledgeable by providing regular industry insights? Though employee development training, you can ensure employees are kept current to give you a competitive edge. And who knows? They may have some ideas and insights as well that can help you to improve your processes.

The benefits of investing in employees are substantial, but actually getting a program off the ground can seem intimidating. What kind of training should be offered? What costs are involved? How often should training be performed? Ultimately, it will depend on your company and your resources. You may want to simply hold a monthly “lunch and learn” in which employees get together for a brief industry update; you may choose to pay for some online courses that employees can take on their own time; you might bring in speakers to talk on a particular topic (or feature a different internal speaker each month); or you may just partner up employees so they can learn from one another. There are a number of training resources available to California SMMs, and the upcoming MFG Day is another great way to engage employees. No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to see your efforts pay off in the long run.

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