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How Manufacturers Can Attract and Retain Great People

By Scott Seroka

When you hear manufacturers complain about how hard it is to find good people, do you share the same frustration?

Your answer to this question will give you insight into the appeal your brand has among the “great people” (or top producers) in your industry – in other words, those employees you need to help you achieve your goals, grow your business, care about your company and win.

When you post a job on LinkedIn, hire a recruiter, or place an ad on and receive an abundance of resumes or applications from highly qualified candidates, you should rightfully consider it to be a testimony to your brand’s good reputation and character. And nobody knows better than you that you aren’t sought after by great people because of luck.

The brand you built is one that people believe in and want to be a part of. Your company is the place to be.

However, if you find yourself shuffling through a very short stack of resumes or applications submitted by candidates who don’t possess the skills, strengths and experience you need to help your company be a force to reckon within your industry, your brand; your employer brand is to blame.

Building a brand to attract the caliber of employees necessary to help you deliver on your brand’s unique claims of distinction, win new business and keep customers loyal and happy is just as important as building a brand to win new business.

You know that average employees produce average results, do average work and provide average customer experiences. And you know that average is the biggest barrier to excellence.

If you want to fill your company with top producers, you’ll need to compete for them with the same focus and vigor you have when competing for new customer relationships.

It starts with your employer brand. To attract these hard-to-find top producers to your company, you must first understand what they are looking for – what they are expecting.

Below is a list of what top producers look for in an employer.

  1. People want to work for a company with a great reputation supported by a brand and vision they understand and can believe in. In other words, shared beliefs, values and attitudes
  2. They want to be part of something bigger than who they are and to know how their individual contributions make a positive difference in the lives of your customers.
  3. Opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  4. To be paid more than an “average” salary.
  5. Opportunities to do what they love to do in an environment where they can learn from their mistakes
  6. To be asked their opinion, to be heard and respected
  7. Autonomy – to be trusted once it is earned and not to be micromanaged
  8. Strong, consistent leadership. Crappy leaders push good people out the door.
  9. To know what they are working for and why they are doing it
  10. A sense of purpose and pride in what they do
  11. To be challenged. Your people want to learn and to grow.
  12. To know what it means to win – not just new business and growth, but to know how winning is defined in their specific role
  13. To be recognized when a job is well done
  14. And finally, to know you care about them as people – not just hired help.

Print this list out circle those things you currently provide. Next, distribute this list to your employees and ask them to circle those items they believe you provide to them.

When you get your feedback, you’ll know what to do to create the culture you need to attract the top producers in your industry.

Of course, if you would like assistance with building a strong and unignorable employer brand for your company, contact us today!