Box plants are having issues finding the right talent, especially in a hot job market, and this is not new. For years, the Corrugated Industry has struggled with the question of how to attract the “perfect employee” into the industry.
An oversimplified, but not inaccurate, view of this challenge is that box plants are hot and loud all the time, have long shifts, are always open, and are the “working man’s job”. It’s a challenge to sell this “dream” to anyone looking for the next position/shift in their career move. What if we made the “reality” of this job a dream?
This issue has become more prevalent in the last year and a half for employers in many industries. They simply do not look at the advantages of the longevity of the industry when they present the job to the candidate.
Many people could stay at home and make it by while working comfortably at a slow pace and have a boring desk job like during the pandemic. With that being the case, though, why would anyone choose a different option of working long, sweaty hours in a manufacturing plant?
It’s a challenge that many, many employers are facing right now, and based on the calls I get every day, the Corrugated Industry is feeling this labor shortage as badly as anyone.
So, the question becomes: What can the Corrugated Industry do about it? And the answers to that question haven’t changed that much since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jump on searching for the right hire while the market is hot! Many have decided after more than a year at home during the pandemic that they need something new and fresh. For these people, it’s not necessarily what they were doing before was bad, it just wasn’t as fulfilling as they wanted it to be, and they’re looking for something different. This is the opportunity to show the reality of the job, set expectations to succeed, and highlight the potential of a well-compensated career with hard work.
How you sell the position to a potential hire is key. One key point missed in the Corrugated Industry is the stability of our positions. Many are looking for ways to better themselves and have something long-term. They feel like life was put on hold for a year, and in many ways it was. Everything has been temporary and limited, with no guarantee of a future. So, make sure your people have the opportunity to grow. Offer training opportunities. Make it a point to promote from within and take a risk on that up and comer. It won’t work out every time. The people you invest in, and train might leave, but they might not. They might be the next great Plant Manager in your company.
Next, candidates always inquire about compensation. This is nothing new for the Corrugated Industry. However, now they know they are in high demand and will request higher compensation. A candidate always will look for the opportunity to make more and have a consistent increase in income. You have two options.
The first option is the simplest: pay more. Not all companies can, but in a competitive marketplace for labor, a lot of the time, the highest dollar wins. This is as true as it has ever been.
If paying more isn’t an option, then you have to figure out other ways to entice employees to come back to work, to stay working for you, or to refer their friends. Some companies lean on extra perks or unique schedules to attract new talent. Extra vacation time, internal competitions with fun prizes or trips, free lunches, and other gimmicky perks might not be the reason someone joins your company, but those perks might keep someone there if it makes them feel valued and all else is equal. Employees that feel valued might also tell their friends how great their jobs are when there’s an opening.
Keep in mind, in today’s market, employees know they can quit and get another job quickly because everyone is hiring right now. So, be a good employer and put your people first, burn calories to keep the reality of this “dream” job going.
Finally, as we move forward from the Covid-19 era, what we have learned is employees are looking for ways to better themselves. They are ready to work. The world has changed in a lot of ways. All of that said, the answers to getting people to come and work for you have not changed. The key is setting the reality from the beginning of the hiring process. “Yes, this is going to be hard work.” but in the end, this will be your dream position because the Corrugated Industry can provide longevity, growth, stability, and well-compensated positions.
Be the Employer who is ready in this HOT market. Make sure you are burning calories, making realities the “dream”, staying on top of key things that will never change in the Corrugated Industry. This in return is the best advertising and way to get people to come to your company and stay.