The number of job openings increased to 10.7 million on the last business day of September 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the manufacturing sector alone, there were more than 362 thousand openings in September 2022. That means that a whopping 4.5% of jobs in the manufacturing industry are vacant.
“Manufacturing saw record-high turnover rates in 2021. While voluntary turnover remained steady from 2018 to 2020—levels at around 19 percent—2021 prompted a major change. In the past year, voluntary turnover in manufacturing reached almost 30 percent.”(Quantum Workplace)
One of the biggest issues in our modern world is burnout. Burnout is one of the reasons that many companies are losing their best employees. In Fact, “Manufacturing has weathered the biggest surge in workers quitting — a nearly 60 percent jump compared with pre-pandemic. No other industry has seen an increase like that.”
In fact, studies have shown that there has been a 5–9% year-over-year increase in burnout rates in the USA. Many employers are working to combat this trend. Yet, of the businesses polled there were still almost 36% that were not targeting burnout prevention.
Manufacturers in the United States cannot afford to lose their best employees. It takes a considerable time to train an employee only to lose them during a labor shortage. While it is true that the manufacturing sector is still down more than 220,000 workers. Job openings are at an all-time high.
They key today is to get great employees and keep them.
Research in the Journal of Organizational Behavior shows a clear link between repetitive tasks and mental strain. Findings concluded that repetition could lead to increased boredom, stress, and burnout. Employees are more engaged when they do a variety of tasks rather than focusing on the same repetitive task daily.
Shake things up at work, and cross-train employees in your manufacturing environment on multiple kinds of tasks. This can help prevent burnout and help with position backfill when there is a labor shortage.
What do we mean by lack of clarity? Everyone in your team, from the workers on the floor, to your management team, all need clarity for their positions. If a company does not have a plan for ongoing training, it can be a problem with job clarity, especially in the manufacturing realm.
Your entire team is an investment in your business. A commitment to training and development improves engagement. Job duties shift over time. As the company continues to evolve. Training can be one of the biggest assets that manufacturers overlook.
This goes along with the lack of clarity in a role. Without the support of your colleagues and manager, it is difficult to keep even the best employees motivated. Avoid this problem by planning to have regular check-ins with your team.
Ask how you can better support your team. Great leadership jumps in when they find someone struggling. Having a plan of action can help you identify those critical times with your employees and supervisors.
Sometimes the pressure to meet deadlines can come from customers and sometimes it is handled internally. No one likes to feel like they failed. Often worse than the feeling of failure is the feeling that your team cannot ask for help. Or that if you did ask for help, you could lose your position.
Another reason there is so much pressure to meet deadlines is that the pandemic created times when entire manufacturing lines went down because of the breakout of COVID-19. That remains true now. This puts pressure on other shifts to make up the time to try and keep deliverables on schedule. According to the Washington Post “Numerous factory workers also said staffing is so low right now that they are basically being forced to work six days a week.”
Setting up realistic goals for the workload is key to keeping your employees motivated. Building a support system where all your employees feel okay asking for help when the deadlines loom is imperative to long-term success.
When you overwork your best employees, this is one of the fastest ways to burn out in America today. There is a point where workers simply cannot continue to produce at the same level when given too many added tasks. Maintaining your workforce is important. Measure the workload against the deadline you set for your team and set realistic goals.
Employees can experience burnout for more reasons than the culture at work. Life happens, and when it does, how your company responds to supporting an employee in a time of need is critical to helping them long term.
Mental health impacts as many as 1 in 5 adults, however fewer than half (44.8%) of people seek treatment. Sectors like manufacturing are seeing a rise in suicide rates for males in all industries at 4x the national average according to the CDC. It is dire that we change this trend to protect our workers.
Build mental health support into your employee handbook and through your employee benefits. When an employee knows that they work in a culture that offers support when someone faces challenging times it is easier to ask for support. For more tips on creating a supportive culture for mental health read our blog HERE.
Make ongoing training and support for your team around mental health. This may help identify and provide support for workers that are struggling with mental health. “Increasing suicide rates in the U.S. are a concerning trend that represents a tragedy for families and communities and impact the American workforce,” said Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director, CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Workplace stress in the United States costs corporations nearly $190 billion each year as a result of employee mortality and overall health costs (Harvard Business Review.) It is imperative to address the many aspects of employee burnout before you fall victim to losing your manufacturing employees.
Manufacturing burnout is a big problem for businesses. ClarityHR is here to help your team with a long-term plan to keep your company culture vibrant and employees engaged. Contact Us today to get started.