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Today, businesses face many headwinds from increased competition to higher costs all along the supply chain.  In the past, automation and off-shoring helped reduce costs.  However, many companies are finding limits to how much more they can save and maintain quality.  One area to examine is the cost of employment, which has presented some challenges. 

For example,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average rate of manufacturing employee turnover reached 39.9%, up from 30.6% in 2017.  The National Association of Manufacturers reported that average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in manufacturing recently increased by 4.6%.  Given these figures, it’s no surprise that a survey by Deloitte found that 73% of manufacturing executives cited attracting and retaining a quality workforce as their top challenge, emphasizing the critical need for strategic workforce management.

It may seem counterintuitive, but, even given these workforce challenges, there are ways to find a competitive advantage with a proactive approach to workforce management, where data-driven decisions are essential for staying ahead. 

At Eastridge, we work with clients in a wide range of industries to help them collect and use data to maximize the ROI from their workforce investments. Here are a few highlights from those strategies that can be leveraged to optimize recruitment processes, enhance productivity, and ultimately grow business.

Drill Into the Details

Data is an invaluable asset in understanding and managing a workforce. By tracking key metrics such as turnover rates, employee satisfaction, and productivity, workforce leaders can identify areas of improvement and implement targeted strategies. For example, analyzing turnover rates during different shifts can help target areas of improvement in management, scheduling, or training. For one Eastridge client, data revealed a dip in turnover only to reveal that a door was locked consistently at the beginning of the shift, leading to frustration and higher turnover. This simple change helped contribute to an improvement in turnover which, in turn, lowered their total cost of employment.

Expanding Pools of Talent

Data can help take the guesswork out of recruiting. Analyzing local wages helps determine the right target pay rate to attract a wider pool of talent, which doesn't always mean offering the highest pay. For example, Eastridge often works with clients to examine pay rates by shift and determine aptitude for certain skills that may not be reflected only in experience. At one client location, Eastridge targeted advertising for positions, hosted a job fair, and even gave plant tours. These techniques demonstrate that leveraging data doesn’t always mean relying solely on numbers but also includes enhancing on-the-ground recruiting strategies like these.  A bigger pool of talent can impact time-to-fill as well as productivity and turnover.

Keeping More of the Talent You Find

One of the key areas where data proves its worth is in early retention. By analyzing historical benchmarks and performance metrics, we can identify patterns and trends that inform strategies to improve recruiting efficiency. For example, understanding the turnover rate within the first 7-14 days of employment allows us to pinpoint training gaps and improve onboarding processes. This data-driven approach ensures that we are not only attracting the right talent but also retaining them for the long term.

Case Study: A Partnership Built on Data

One notable example of the impact of data in workforce management is our partnership with a leading technology-focused manufacturing company. Faced with high turnover rates and a noisy production floor, we leveraged data to identify training gaps and misalignments in expectations. By resetting candidate profiles and improving the onboarding process, we significantly reduced turnover and enhanced productivity. This data-driven approach not only improved employee satisfaction but also resulted in record-breaking production and financial success for our client.

Balancing Data and Human Insights

While data is a powerful tool, it's important to strike a balance between data-driven decision making and human insights. At Eastridge, we emphasize the importance of not letting data overwhelm our decision-making process. Our onsite representatives play a crucial role in providing real-time feedback and understanding the human side of the workforce. By combining data with firsthand insights, we create a holistic approach to workforce management that prioritizes both efficiency and employee well-being.

Providing Context and Insights

Our clients often come to us with varying levels of data sophistication. Some have robust people analytics teams, while others are focused on running their business and lack the resources to track data comprehensively. We bridge this gap by providing context and insights into their workforce. Whether it's benchmarking their performance against industry standards or identifying opportunities for improvement, our data-driven insights empower our clients to make informed decisions.

Data is a vital component of workforce management, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and drive success. The Eastridge team is committed to leveraging data to enhance recruitment processes, improve productivity, and achieve our clients' business goals. Through these strategies, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce and create a thriving work environment.

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