Manufacturing has seen impressive growth over the last couple decades but the workforce shortage has become a threat to continued growth. With more job openings than job seekers and nearly 27% of the manufacturing workforce due to retire over the next ten years, finding and keeping great talent has become a challenge. If you’re struggling with talent attraction and retention, you’re not alone.
Since working solely with manufacturers, we’ve found that industry perception and branding as a whole seem to be the biggest hurdles companies are facing when it comes to talent. Although these legacy manufacturers have long-standing and reputable brands, they are not effectively telling their brand story outside of their building, or even sometimes within it.
Employer branding is less about recruiting and marketing tactics and more about helping manufacturers tell a better story about their brand. A story that captures their passion and expertise while telling their target audience exactly who they are.
If your company is ready for a digital transformation and branding doesn’t quite seem to make sense, use these tips as a guideline to create a brand strategy that will attract new talent and customers alike.
The Evolution of Employer Branding
The way people search for jobs has changed in the last ten years. Along with the things that people care about in their careers.
Candidates want to know who a company is and what they stand for before ever applying. They want to know the type of people that work there and the culture that exists within the company. If this isn’t represented, it can mean missing out on bright and talented employees.
Manufacturers haven’t really looked at talent attraction from a sales enablement perspective and many are struggling to get the right talent in because of this. It’s not that they don’t have recruiters or great benefits.
They just aren’t telling the right story about themselves. Many have the perks and benefits, they just don’t know how to communicate that. Today’s candidates engage differently and what they see in the digital space is often a deciding factor when it comes to talent attraction.
Today’s candidates engage differently and what they see in the digital space is often a deciding factor when it comes to talent attraction.
The old ways of hanging a hiring sign outside the door and waiting for applications to roll in no longer works. A quick Google search can tell a candidate a lot about your company and your digital brand is going to be their first impression — don’t let it be lackluster, or worse, non-existent.
The Importance of Cultivating a Brand Story
If your website hasn’t been updated in 5-10 years, a user’s perception of your business is one that’s not moving forward, or worse potentially going out of business. No one wants to be stuck in the past.
Modern candidates want a vision and purpose to follow, meaning manufacturers need to do a better job of portraying that to candidates. They’re often totally lacking a representation of their company culture and what it’s like to work for them.
The term ‘company culture’ in manufacturing seems to scare people because they don’t really know what it means. But if you have a company that’s been around 50-100 years and employees who’ve been around for 20+ years then there is a reason people want to work with and for you. You as a company just need to figure out what that is and then tell that to the world.
It could be that your company is in a great location with a short commute or that you offer a family environment and flexible scheduling. It’s not always about Silicon Valley style culture with beer on Fridays and ping pong tables.
If you’re not sure how to start cultivating your brand story, start by talking with the people that are already working for you. Ask questions like:
- Who your employees are as people. IE: What are their background and interests?
- Why do they enjoy working there?
- What are the things they appreciate about your company?
From there you’ll be able to understand what makes your company attractive to prospective employees and you can begin to create a story around that.
Leading the Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Talent is a very complex problem and there are many facets to it. Strategy House originally started in marketing and sales to leverage inbound marketing for our clients but found inbound marketing is also applicable to talent attraction and retention.
Many of our clients are going through digital transformation. They’re competing for talent and have realized the need to update their technology to meet the modern candidate where they are in their process.
We now apply our three brand pillars— strategy, technology, and content — to help our manufacturing clients reach their talent attraction and retention goals. Instead of just handing a strategy out, we also help to implement that strategy by determining the best marketing technology for the job and outlining the accompanying brand content.
For starters, creating an updated website along with a consistent social media presence that represents your brand message is a must. From there tools and tactics like email marketing, blogs and landing pages, content management systems (CMS) and SEO optimization can be implemented. These things may seem like ‘nice to haves’ or tactics solely used for marketing to potential customers, but modern candidates will be looking for a curated brand presence as well.
A strategy combined with the right technology will help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to talent attraction. It doesn’t only help share your story with the world but it keeps the process streamlined.
The Future of Branding in Manufacturing
Marketing has traditionally been thought of as a sales tool, but we’ve paired inbound marketing with talent attraction and retention in order to help their clients find top talent. Recently nominated as one of the top employer branding agencies in the country by HR Tech Outlook, Strategy House is the agency dedicated to helping manufacturers with their employer brand.
For more insights on employee branding and talent attraction and retention in the manufacturing industry, get in touch with our team to dive into how we can bring your brand to life.