Staying Power: Three Ways to Improve Employee Retention in Metalworking

Year-over-year, fabricated metal products and transportation equipment are two of three manufacturing sectors that have recently experienced high rates of job growth.

While hiring amid the skilled labor shortage is an accomplishment, retaining new employees is crucial to establishing a thriving workforce.

With that in mind, here are three suggestions for improving employee retention at your plant.

1. Create pathways for employee advancement and invest in their growth.
Employees want the ability to grow with their company and feel valued. Some ways to demonstrate your company values its employees and is actively positioning itself for a competitive future include:

  • Developing robust in-house training programs
  • Investing in continuing education to help employees keep up with changing processes and technologies
  • Implementing a system of mentorship

2. Revisit legacy scheduling practices.
For the longest time, employee scheduling has traditionally been ruled by seniority. However, automatically relegating night shifts to new employees, mandating hours of operation, or requiring mandatory overtime are becoming dealbreakers for young hires who put a high value on work-life balance.

Piloting flexible scheduling practices can help give employees some degree of control over their work life and foster a positive culture within the organization. Exploring flexible hours, shift-swapping, and shorter work weeks may also help reduce turnover.

3. Emphasize your company’s actions to enhance safety.
In an IndustryWeek article that shares manufacturing employees’ reasons for staying with a company, one employee stated, “It’s the way they look at safety and how they treat the people.”

In metalworking, implementing on-site waste stream processing that helps improve plant housekeeping will make the workplace safer.

Utilize conveyors to transfer metal scrap coated in cutting fluid away from the work zone. This reduces forklift traffic and manual labor while also helping keep surfaces clear of debris and slippery cutting fluids off the shop floor.

Nothing is more troubling than working at a place that makes you sick. Taking care to minimize health hazards caused by contaminated cutting fluids is critical to employee wellbeing. Adding an automated fluid recycling system can help reduce exposure to contaminated fluids that irritate skin and trigger respiratory problems.

For more information about how to keep your metalworking operation clear of clutter and spent cutting fluids to maximize safety and keep new and current employees safe, visit

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