The food manufacturing landscape has changed drastically in the last couple of years. Job opportunities are becoming more flexible with the rise of remote or hybrid work and the four-day work week, which started as a trial in the UK a few weeks ago.
Even the way companies find and assess new candidates for roles has evolved, with an increasing number of virtual and video interviews.
On top of all these changes, hiring managers and employers are also facing new challenges in employee retention, with the "Great Resignation" now causing significant talent turnover.
In a skills-short manufacturing environment, it's important to ensure you're taking every precaution to not only find the right new employee but prepare them for long-term success.
A successful onboarding strategy could be the key to providing your new team member with all the support, guidance, and insights they need tothrive in your company.
Here are the onboarding strategies you can use to empower your manufacturing hires.
Employee "preboarding" is essentially an introductory step before the more intensive onboarding process begins. Today, as the competition for food industry talent continues to grow, talented candidates are increasingly looking to work with employers who make them feel valued.
Just as your new team member will be working hard to prove you made the right choice by bringing them on board, you want to demonstrate they've made a good choice by deciding to work for you. An introduction email as soon as your candidate accepts your job offer can set you off on the right track. You can even use this email to give your new employee some useful information.
Start by welcoming your candidate onto the team, and let them know the names of some of the people they will be working with. Next, include valuable information your employee might need, such as videos showcasing information about your brand identity.
Certain parts of the food manufacturing onboarding process will be the same for all employees. You'll need to introduce every new team member to the company culture in your business and the kind of values you'll expect them to adhere to. However, this doesn't mean an onboarding process should be entirely one-size-fits-all.
Adjust the steps you take in the onboarding process based on your new employee's needs. For instance, ask yourself what kind of software and tools the team member will be using from day one, and provide them with video guidance on setting up new accounts.
Think about the specific members of staff your new employee is going to be working with, and arrange for a video or group meeting where you can all get to know each other in an informal and friendly setting.
Creating a streamlined and personalised process for each employee will ensure your new candidates aren't overwhelmed by information that may notbe pertinent to them when starting their new role.
The needs of today's manufacturing employees are beginning to change. While all team members want access to great development opportunities, a good salary, and fair benefits, they're also looking for an immersive company culture and a sense of inclusion within their teams.
Today, 64% of employees say diversity and inclusion is a crucial consideration in their decision to take a job offer. As soon as a new candidate agrees to join your team, start focusing on how you include them.
Ask new hires about their preferred pronouns and names, and introduce them immediately to the people they will be working with. Allow your employees to sit in on video meetings even before their role officially starts if you're not going to be sharing sensitive information, and add them to your group messaging boards.
Make sure every team member feels like a crucial part of the team, regardless of whether they're working in the office, remotely, or on a hybrid schedule.
Great onboarding isn't just about welcoming a new food manufacturing employee into your team and ensuring they have all the information they need about your business. You should also be looking for ways to build a foundation of a long professional relationship between your company and your hires.
Around 93% of employees say they would happily stay with a company for longer if they felt their managers were investing in their careers with training anddevelopment. During the onboarding process, you can begin helping your employees a future with your brand by working on a professional development plantogether.
Set up a one-on-one meeting where you discuss what the future might look like for your new team member and what kind of goals they'd like toachieve. Discuss how you can help your employee reach new heights in their careers and what your training opportunities look like.
Finally, the only way to ensure your onboarding process is having the right impact on your manufacturing employees is to ask them about it. Collecting feedback is an excellent way to determine whether you're giving your new team members all the support and guidance they need.
Ask your new hires what they feel you did well in the onboarding process and what they would like to change if given a chance. Pay attention to productivity levels after your employees start their new roles, and look at how they might change when you add further steps to the onboarding process.
The feedback you get should guide your future onboarding strategies, helping you build a more comprehensive experience for every new hire.
Remember, a great onboarding process can be a powerful tool, capable of improving new hire retention by around 82%. However, excellent onboarding processes will always start with the right hiring decisions. Improve your chances of bringing the right people on board by working with a specialist food manufacturing recruitment team like your company.
Get in touch if you’re looking for further onboarding advice and not sure where to start.
We offer complimentary and confidential advice. Contact one of our teams here or call 07835426149.
I’m an independent owner of Food Recruit - Search & Selection.
Passionate about the Food Manufacturing industry, having spent time as a Supply Chain Manager and Business Development Manager for two of the UK’s largest meat importers.
High Care, Low Care, Chilled and Ambient I have worked across all markets, including B2B, Foodservice, Wholesale and Retail.
I fell into recruitment in 2016 to start a Food & Drink desk in a long-standing Engineering Recruitment business in the West Midlands.
Progressing on to Business Development Manager, covering multiple markets before starting mine on agency in September 2020.