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Let's cover the basics first. In all industries, a successful onboarding has a significant effect on employee experience. Employees who are well onboard are 30% more likely to feel well integrated into their new place of work, 30 times more likely to experience high job satisfaction and 18 times more likely to feel committed to their company.
In short, a well-onboarded employee becomes a highly-engaged employee. Gallup has demonstrated that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
Engaged employees also stay with companies longer. Given that manufacturers are currently experiencing historically-high employee churn rates — and Speakap's research discovered that it costs a minimum of $1,000 to replace entry-level non-desk employees without even accounting for losses in productivity and performance — increasing employee retention can have a hugely positive impact on the bottom line.
That's the good news. The bad news? You have a short window to impress your new hires. After just one week in a new company, 33% of new hires know whether they want to stay long-term; almost two-thirds know whether their new role is a keeper after the first month.
If onboarding and the resulting engagement rise is important in the average industry, then the consequences are magnified within manufacturing. Here, successful onboarding is not only a matter of engagement or productivity but also higher accident, health and safety factors. In manufacturing, new workers equate to higher risk. Employees in their first month are three times more likely to incur a lost-time injury. Proper onboarding negates a large part of that risk.
Most manufacturers understand the need for excellent onboarding. The question is often: who should be responsible for it? HR departments lack the resources or role-specific knowledge to take care of onboarding. Meanwhile, production pressures make manufacturers unreceptive to the notion of taking managers off their production lines while they show new employees the ropes.
The best onboarding processes, both for the employee but also the company, tend to use multiple tactics and delivery vehicles for great excellent onboarding experiences.
The advantage of following the above plan is that new manufacturing employees receive a high-quality onboarding while the workload is spread amongst multiple people and an extended timescale. However, technology is playing an increasing role in providing a better onboarding experience for both manufacturer and employee.
As we've already explained, a company-wide ESN or employee app can help new starters to connect with other team members and even ask questions regarding their role before starting. A quality ESN can also provide a single sign-on employee hub for accessing everything from scheduling to payroll software.
One challenge facing many manufacturers is how to pass on the vast volumes of knowledge that tend to live chiefly in the minds of experienced employees on the shop floor to new hires who need access to that information to perform their roles well.
Manufacturers should seek to document and distill this information into simple, easy-to-use guides that are stored somewhere that can be accessed by all employees at any time. Again, a good employee app will either provide document storage or at least be able to integrate with a storage system.
Given that most modern facilities are likely to comprise an international workforce of varying language and skill levels, video can be precious for instructing and motivating new employees on the first day and beyond.
Bring all of these strategies and technologies together to provide your manufacturing employees with a quality onboarding experience, and you'll see the ROI for years to come. Fewer accidents and incidents, lower turnover and more productive employees… and who doesn't want to manufacture some of those results?
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