From topics such as bilingual training systems to what to do when an applicant ghosts, these five common human resource management challenges companies will likely face in the plastics industry.
- Recruitment Challenges: The article highlights five key HR hurdles in the plastics industry, including job applicant “ghosting” amid the Great Resignation and disengagement issues among employees reevaluating work-life balance.
- Strategies for Improvement: Employers combat ghosting with innovative approaches like enhanced benefits and “old-school” hiring methods. Disengagement is addressed through empowered work environments and a talent-centric focus.
- Attendance and Communication: Balancing attendance and flexibility is crucial in a competitive job market. Effective communication in diverse workplaces requires bilingual support and translation tools.
- AJ Augur Group Plastics Search and Recruitment Experts Can Help: At AJ Augur Group LLC, we are a prominent headhunting firm in the industry, emphasizing customized recruitment tailored to a company’s culture and specific needs. Our services aim to bridge skill sets with company environments effectively.
1. Job Applicant “Ghosting”
The Great Resignation began in 2021, with record numbers of people leaving their jobs when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. What started as mass retirement shifted as workers evaluated work/life balance, commutes, job satisfaction, career paths, and more.
According to the US Department of Labor, the trend continues, which reported that 4.5 million people quit their jobs in March of 2022.
Complicating the employment situation is that the US unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in April, with the number of people collecting ongoing unemployment benefits at its lowest since 1970. And, with durable goods orders still on the rise, manufacturers are still looking for these seemingly nonexistent employee prospects.
“Ghosting” is the term – first used in dating situations – for when one person in a relationship ends all communication without explanation.
People who come in, go through the interviewing and onboarding process, accept the company’s offer, agree to a start date, and don’t arrive for their first day.
In response, some plastics businesses are getting creative when writing job advertisements, expanding permanent employee benefits, and working through various staffing agencies; some companies have raised their hourly rates. This got new hires to stay, and they referred others to the company.
Other strategies shared by plastics industry companies include a return to the “old school” hiring methods – meaning, walk-in applications and immediate interviews are the only options for those interested in joining a company.
Similarly, some companies offer interviews on certain days only, reducing wasted time if applicants were to ghost.
2. Employee Disengagement
As many human resources team members know, it is common for employees to seem disengaged in the work that they create. Fifty-three percent of employees feel they need to be more attached to their company’s vision or goals.
More importantly, 13 percent of the workforce are actively disengaged employees. This means they can be hostile toward other employees and voice their dislike about working there, lowering workplace morale. So, how do companies dealing with a high disengagement rate improve that?
Overall, creating an engaged workforce means creating an empowered work environment. Focusing on operational excellence, talent development, succession planning, company culture development, relationship building, and recruiting is an essential way to improve engagement levels.
3. Attendance Policies
Good attendance matters, but flexibility can be essential for improving employee retention in a low-unemployment market and with many employees dealing with challenging personal life situations.
4. Performance reviews
Performance reviews help hold employees accountable for the work that does (or does not) get done. They also provide valuable feedback for both the employee and the company that can improve workplace culture and set both parties up for future success.
When employees are moved into a new position (for instance, from a floor role into a supervisory position) or when new employees are hired, the employee input form is given to them before their 90-day review.
Sitting down with their supervisor opens their conversation up to one-on-one communication, increasing employee engagement. Hence, the supervisor has better insight into what the employee is feeling. These 90-day reviews have been beneficial to the company.
5. Non-English-Speaking Employees
Many manufacturing companies are employing an increasingly diverse workforce. Communication about company policies, safety, and job training can be difficult when English is not the primary language for a portion of the workforce.
Companies have employees who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Indian. It helps to have several bilingual employees in the office and on the plant floors.
Those employees who do not speak English have a phone they can speak into that translates into English, and there is one person on that shift who translates for the rest of the team.
Other Common HR Issues
Human resources (HR) issues in the plastics industry, like in any other sector, can vary depending on the specific company, its size, location, and management practices. However, some common HR problems that may be encountered in the plastics industry include:
Workplace Safety Concerns: Given the nature of the plastics industry, workplace safety is a significant concern. Ensuring employees follow proper safety protocols, providing adequate training, and maintaining a safe working environment are crucial HR responsibilities.
High Employee Turnover: The plastics industry may face challenges related to high turnover because of factors such as the physical demands of the work, repetitive tasks, or competition for skilled workers. HR must address retention strategies, improve work conditions, and offer competitive compensation packages.
Skills Shortages and Training Needs: The plastics industry often requires specialized skills. HR departments may encounter challenges related to finding and retaining qualified personnel. Implementing effective training programs and investing in employee development can be essential.
Compliance with Regulations: The plastics industry is subject to various regulations related to environmental, health, and safety standards. HR professionals must ensure that the company complies with these regulations and that employees are adequately trained on relevant compliance issues.
Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can be challenging in some industries, including plastics. HR needs to foster a diverse and inclusive culture, address biases, and promote equal opportunities for all employees.
Technological Advances and Adaptation: The plastics industry continually evolves with technological advancements. HR may face challenges adapting to new technologies, including upskilling or reskilling employees to keep up with industry changes.
Employee Health and Well-being: Given the physical demands of some roles in the plastics industry, employee health and well-being can be a concern. HR may need to implement wellness programs, ergonomic improvements, and mental health support initiatives.
Labor Relations and Unionization: Labor relations can be challenging, especially in larger companies. HR professionals may need to manage union relationships, address labor disputes, and ensure fair and transparent communication between management and employees.
Global Talent Management: Companies in the plastics industry may have global operations or rely on global supply chains. HR must effectively manage talent across borders, considering cultural differences, language barriers, and diverse regulatory environments.
Environmental Sustainability: Increasing emphasis on sustainability in the plastics industry may require HR to engage employees in environmentally friendly practices, support initiatives for reducing waste, and ensure compliance with eco-friendly standards.
Addressing these HR challenges requires a strategic and proactive approach, including effective communication, employee engagement initiatives, continuous training, and a commitment to creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
Founded by Dan Regovich in 2009, AJ Augur Group Plastics Search and Recruitment has become a prominent name in the plastics headhunting industry. We fill difficult positions in the plastics industry for companies throughout the United States.
Because your company is unlike any other, we will take the time to discuss the details of your current opening and your company’s culture.
This will allow us to find someone who has the proper skill set and will also fit into your company’s environment. Learn more about our advanced search process, and contact us today.