Imagine this scenario: you’re starting a new job in an auto factory. Your job on the production line is to operate a machine that presses metal into specific shapes for various parts and components.You had some preliminary interviews and screening processes, but besides that, getting the job wasn’t extraordinarily difficult. Now it’s time for your first day. You spend the better part of the first few days in basic training, but it’s nothing too interesting nor detailed. In fact, it’s kind of boring. Within a few weeks you’re on your own and the routine becomes second nature; you’re functioning on auto-pilot. A few months go by and having felt little fulfillment at this job, you leave in search of better opportunities. Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar, and it leaves blue-collar business owners and managers wondering why this is happening so often. When it comes to important processes that can make or break it for employees (both in the white and blue-collar sectors), the importance of training cannot be understated.
In this article, we’ll go over several reasons why training in the blue-collar sector is a major turning point in determining an employee’s willingness to stick around for the long haul.
Before discussing the functionality and benefits of a sound training/onboarding process, let's understand the reason you need it in the first place. You know the saying, “good help is hard to come by”? Well, it’s especially true in 2021, where workers are constantly enamored by the flexibility they can find in the gig-economy. Combine the fact that workers are worried about returning to work in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic and that more workers believe they must pursue a college education in order to be successful and you have yourself a perfect recipe for an employee shortage. In fact, a 2018 report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute called the “Skills Gap and Future of Work Study” noted that there could be nearly 2.5 million unfilled manufacturing jobs between 2018 and 2028. Additionally, millennials and Gen-Z’ers want and need thorough employer provided training programs. It makes perfect sense why devising a thoughtful training program is worth your time.
Keep them around
Yes, the primary function of a training program is to build the skills of your new hires so they can fulfill and excel at their new roles. Most employers, however, don’t see the utility of training beyond that. We’re here to tell you that training programs play a huge role in employee retention. Think about how hard it is to shake off a bad first impression in a personal relationship. Now imagine the importance of first impressions for someone who has agreed to spend 40 hours a week with you. How do you anticipate they’ll feel if they have a sub-par training experience?
This issue is far greater than you might imagine. According to a Gartner report on the roles of L&D, “70% of employees report that they do not have mastery of the skills they need for their jobs.” When work feels unattainably challenging, workers quickly become less interested, meaning employee engagement goes down and employee turnover goes up. This could easily be avoided by conducting thorough, hands-on training regimens for new hires. When people are well-versed in their jobs, they can even contribute further by coming up with creative ways to get more done.
Something to keep in mind is that great employees can get bored quickly in the blue-collar world. If they serve a perfunctory role with no growth opportunities, why would they stick around? Continually offering training programs and courses that can 1. Build on their skill sets and 2. Offer them some sort of growth opportunity within the company. This shows that you not only value their current work, but they will be more enthusiastic about coming to work every day. Not only that, but when employees feel more valuable, they offer more to the company. It’s a win-win scenario. This is a great way to increase both employee engagement and retention rates.
There are too many workers who feel unsatisfied and unchallenged in their positions. While that certainly applies to the white-collar workforce, it is even more so for blue-collar workers. Employers would be wise to develop thorough, continual learning programs for their new hires, starting from the first day and throughout their tenure at the company. Without it, they risk losing quality employees who feel unchallenged, unfulfilled, and expendable. With such a high turnover rate in the sector as it is, and a high volume of employees who don’t feel they know the ins and outs of their roles, it is more important than ever to provide thorough, well thought out training and growth opportunities within the company. The very stability and future of your workforce depends on it!