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Four Key HR Strategies For Scaling a Manufacturing Business

When you’re scaling a manufacturing business, your workforce is likely rapidly expanding, too. It can be tempting to overlook current gaps in your people processes and just focus on getting workers in seats while you ramp things up. However, putting a solid HR infrastructure in place to support your growing business is just as important as building out other aspects of your operations during this critical time.

Scaling up your people processes is essential to success for a number of reasons, including:

Avoiding Compliance Risk - As your workforce grows, your business may be subject to a new set of employment laws and regulations, putting you at risk for compliance violations that could lead to serious legal disputes and government fines.

Fulfilling Staffing Needs - In addition to widespread labor shortages, there’s also a growing skills gap in manufacturing thanks to baby boomers retiring in record numbers and the increasing need for professionals skilled in data and technology. In fact, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030! Successfully competing for talent in this challenging environment requires effective strategies for hiring younger generations of highly skilled candidates.

Supporting High Performance and Retention - Successful manufacturing companies today not only know how to get the right people in the right seats, they also work to engage and develop them to boost performance and employee retention.

Bottom line: If you don’t upgrade your approach to HR, it could put your business at risk, put you at a disadvantage in the competitive job market, and ultimately undermine your efforts to scale. But how do you know where to start?

Here are four ways to scale your people processes to support the success of your growing manufacturing business.

Four Ways to Scale People Processes in Manufacturing

1. Implement HR Standard Operating Procedures

HR standard operating procedures (SOPs) are detailed, step-by-step guidelines for completing tasks that ensure all people processes are easy to learn and handled correctly and consistently. Create clearly defined SOPs to reduce instances of HR mistakes or compliance violations, protect against legal liability and risk, and support efficiency and safety across all business operations.

Examples of areas that would benefit from SOPs include:

  • Recruiting and hiring

  • New-hire onboarding and training

  • Employee offboarding

  • Performance reviews

  • Salary administration

  • Disciplinary actions

  • Payroll and benefits administration

  • Workers' compensation

  • Workplace incidents, complaints and investigations

  • Leave requests, including FMLA

  • Accommodations under the ADA

  • Unemployment claims, including appeal hearings

2. Fine-tune Your Recruiting and Hiring Processes

As manufacturing labor shortages persist, the ability to hire qualified job candidates is crucial to facilitate your continued growth and stay ahead of the competition. Focus on the following areas to select the right people for the needs of your business:

  • Develop Ideal Candidate Profiles - For each open position, ask: Who would excel in this role? What are their skills and characteristics? Then, use this knowledge to develop unique job descriptions that will entice more applicants and attract the right ones.

  • Offer Competitive Compensation - Compensation is king! Once you’ve created ideal candidate profiles for each open position, conduct a detailed compensation analysis to determine the most competitive salaries in your industry and market.

  • Go Deeper in the Screening Process - Pair in-depth interviews with pre-employment assessments that will give you an accurate feel of each candidate's skill level, personality traits and cultural fit for your organization.

3. Invest in Employee Development

Workers today are increasingly demanding more than just competitive pay and benefits—they also want greater career development opportunities. Investing in training and development will not only improve your hiring results, it will also boost the productivity and performance of your workforce while reducing the costs associated with turnover.

To get started, enhance your approach in these three areas:

  • Onboarding - Build out a formal onboarding process to give new hires the resources, strategies, and mentorship they need to succeed. This is also your opportunity to set expectations for performance and cultural norms.

  • Training - Then, take it a step further to provide continuing education for your staff to help employees learn, grow, and achieve their full potential.

  • Evaluating - Provide performance metrics and goals for each employee. Have them meet with you or a manager on a regular basis to measure their results, determine where they need improvement, and set a course for success.

4. Build a Positive Company Culture

To attract and retain younger, highly skilled manufacturing professionals to your organization, cultivate a company culture that gets them excited and keeps them engaged. In addition to offering growth opportunities, here are a few ways to create a work environment people want to be a part of:

  • Support employee wellbeing - Research shows that, above all, Gen Z and millennial workers want to work for companies that actually care about their wellbeing. Offering benefits and perks such as a parental leave package, a wellness program, or a hybrid, flex or remote work option will go a long way to providing greater work-life balance and showing you care.

  • Encourage diversity, equity and inclusion - Provide DEI training for your staff to foster a more equitable and inclusive workplace where all team members feel comfortable showing up to do their best work and work towards common goals.

  • Provide public recognition - Establish a rewards and recognition program to motivate employees, boost performance, and create a domino effect of positive results.

Human capital is your most valuable asset—and the more you invest in it, the more it will grow in value! Scaling up your people processes will help attract and retain the skilled talent you need to keep pace with the evolving manufacturing industry.

Ready to scale up your people processes? We can help!

Our team of experienced HR Advisors will create a plan that’s tailored to the needs of your business and even work with your current HR representative to offer expertise and reduce their workload.


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