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The FoxConn(ector) — 3 Ways to Attract & Retain Key People

Written by Rick Krauthoefer, Vice President - Commercial Banking

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One of the significant concerns regarding the FoxConn expansion into Wisconsin is the impact that it will have on an already taxed labor force. With large employers like Amazon and Uline already drawing talent, the landscape is highly competitive. So how can smaller employers start playing offense in the game of retention?

Offer competitive benefits. Recently I discussed this issue with one of our bank directors, Kent Lorenz, who was involved in the automation of several of the large auto plants in Tennessee and Indiana. He noted that wages weren’t always the key driver that attracted the existing workforce to those opportunities — benefit packages often are more important, including such things as on-site daycare, medical care, and career-advancing training opportunities.

Now, it is unreasonable for a smaller employer to try to match those kinds of benefit options. However, a consortium of like-minded companies can offer these things in, for example, the industrial park. A good example is a group of companies that joined to offer educational and job opportunities for local high school students amongst member companies.

Inspire high school students. Another idea is to participate in the southeast Wisconsin web-based tool “Inspire,” which works with career cruising programs offered by many school districts to introduce students to the opportunities in the manufacturing sector. By posting your company information on the Inspire platform, you can expose participating students to the paths that can lead to success at your company. Internships, mentoring, work study, and apprenticeships are all tools that can attract the future workforce. Students make their career decisions based on their first-hand experiences.

Offer flexibility and opportunities to advance. Finally, look carefully at your company website, most particularly the employment tab. Job seekers of all ages study your web presence — if they do not see opportunities to advance, serve the community, or work in a flexible environment, they will not even consider applying.

First Business invests in the state’s manufacturing industry, and strives to see this industry thrive in Wisconsin. The state’s labor situation will be challenged as baby boomers retire and new employees enter the workforce. First Business wants to work with you and your business to meet these challenges. Contact me today to learn more about how we can help.

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