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How Can Manufacturers’ Retain their Best Talent? Surprising Snapshot Interview with Natalie Mee

According to Visier’s latest market survey data, 71 per cent of British workers say they do not feel that their employer has adequately kept up their wage with the cost of inflation and almost six in 10 (58 per cent) said they do not feel guilty about planning to hand in their notice to improve their employment package.

Okay, what is the next step then? How do employers determine and roll out wages and packages that retain their talent but do not bankrupt the business?

Natalie Mee may just have the answer, described by manufacturing business leaders across the North West as honest, energising, down to earth and credible -she is the powerhouse behind Handley James Consulting. She is a passionate advocate for people finding their perfect fit essentially shaping and pulling our industries ‘people policies’ into the 21st Century.

Partnering with business including Haworth Air Tech, Dekko, Carr’s Pasties, Gericke and Comfortex to name just a few – demand on Natalie’s time sees her busier than Anika Rice on a Saturday night challenge!  Which is why we are super pumped to have her co host our highly anticipated Recruitment Strategies workshop on the 28th of September alongside Rachael Baker, Managing Director of JJ Smith Woodworking Ltd and Gary Sheader, founder of the Manufacturers’ Alliance.

Wage rise with inflation

Here we ask Natalie a few burning questions ahead of the event.

  1. What surprising-insights within manufacturing recruitment practice have you seen?

We always say the recruitment industry changes. Covid has changed our industry entirely and we have seen a significant shift in digital interview methods, with some organisations making decisions purely based on digital profiles, having never met the person face to face. Also, the marketplace is very strained currently, it is candidate led and so very few active candidates are on the market, yet clients’ expectations are still rising.

  1. How do you ensure your clients’ employment packages are attractive?

We get an in-depth insight into our clients like few other recruiters do. If we do not feel like a strong partnership is forged, then we will not be able to attract the right candidates for them. Working closely, we consult with our clients and will advise them about current salary benchmarks and if other factors are going to be key i.e., hybrid. If we feel a salary and package are not pitched correctly then we work with the client on this and often look to lower expectations in relation to the candidate’s background and experience. Compromises would need to be made. The key is to have honesty and transparency…backed up with data of course!

  1. What is the biggest risk you have taken in advising a client on what changes they need?

Our risk would be telling a client they will not find the candidate they are looking for with the package they are offering.

This is always a risk as the client may want to pursue other avenues and essentially may not want to work with us. That said, we feel that it is better, to be honest and manage the client’s expectations than agree to support them on an assignment that ultimately isn’t workable. Even if it does entail losing business for us. Equally, if an organisation has poor retention rates, we will discuss how this can be improved prior to onboarding them as a client. We have an ethical and moral duty to our candidates to ensure we are introducing them into businesses that are people focussed.

  1. Have you seen anything that did not work to retain employees and what lesson was learnt?

Promising further training/salary increases and then not delivering. Honesty is so important for everyone, being transparent and open allows us all to grow and develop.

  1. What ‘new normals’ do you see for factory working conditions in the future?

Regular training, more flexible shift patterns, and a clear route for progression and development. Many organisations that we are working with are offering one-off ‘cost of living bonuses’ for factory workers also.

Natalie Mee will be drilling down into detailed success stories and marketplace insights offering honest and frank strategies solutions to combat the crazy turnover numbers in the manufacturing sector at present.

Registration can be made via the event webpage