Unseen employment issues

Many plant engineers are looking forward to the day when business conditions improve, and they can hire one or more people to make up for staff reductions over the past couple of years. The prospect of being able to hire again is indeed a pleasant one. Trouble is, you could be headed for some hiring you hadn't planned on — replacements for some of your present, valued employees who sudden...


Many plant engineers are looking forward to the day when business conditions improve, and they can hire one or more people to make up for staff reductions over the past couple of years. The prospect of being able to hire again is indeed a pleasant one.

Trouble is, you could be headed for some hiring you hadn't planned on — replacements for some of your present, valued employees who suddenly leave for greener pastures elsewhere.

There's been a lot of talk about pent-up demand for products. There hasn't been much about the pent-up desire of many employees to bolt at the first chance of finding work elsewhere. I hope that's not the case with any of your workforce, but the latest surveys would seem to indicate otherwise.

Accenture, a global management consulting firm, says that nearly half of middle managers in the U.S. are either currently looking for or plan to look for another job. Their survey, which queried more than 500 middle managers, found that 38% of respondents are currently looking, and another 10% plan to do so when the economy improves and the job market strengthens.

And, while you might think that the employees who have stuck with it through these tough times are extremely loyal, the truth may be that they simply feel trapped.

Nearly 20% of respondents to another survey, conducted by Walker Information, specialists in loyalty issues, said they are likely to actively search for job opportunities at other companies. Marc Drizin, a vice president at Walker, cautions that the rise in national unemployment levels may be lulling employers into a false sense of security.

I think most of us would be hard pressed to endure a 20% turnover in our staffs.

Of course, there's always the flip side to any problem. A high number of people looking to find new work means there may be some terrific candidates for a spot you're looking to fill. Even so, replacing any good employee can be a costly proposition — as much as 18 months worth of salary according to some estimates.

So, what can you do to increase the chances of retaining the valued employees you have? While money is important, it's not necessarily the deciding factor.

"You can always buy employee retention by throwing more dollars at the situation," Drizin says. "However, just because they stay, doesn't mean they're loyal. They're just more trapped."

While pay is a top issue, other factors, like fairness, care and concern for employees, training, opportunities for growth, and career development are also extremely important in developing loyalty.

So, until the job market opens up, you might want to put some effort into ensuring that your best performers are not the first to take advantage of it.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me