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Over the past few months, I’ve been writing on a wide range of topics around how to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce.  But, perhaps I should share why I find this topic so important.

First, it starts with safety. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of an employee.  And, ensuring an employee is properly trained is a critical step in preventing workplace accidents.

Beyond that, here are some additional reasons why investing in training your employees is so important.

  1. The cost of replacing manufacturing employees ranges from 16 to 20% of their annual salary.  That might not seem like a lot, but, depending on employee turnover, this cost can add up quickly.1
  2. Ten percent of the workforce over the age of 50 are expected to retire every year. Without a methodology to capture plant knowledge and a means to transfer it to newer employees, your business risks losing valuable information when a long-term employee retires.2
  3. It can take up to a year for an employee to reach peek job performance, however over 25% of employers do not have the necessary onboarding program to assist a new employee in gaining the necessary skills and knowledge during the first year.3  This results in lower job performance or higher employee turnover.
  4. Investing in employee training is a valuable tool for attracting and retaining employees. Employees, especially those from the Millennial generation, want opportunities to gain knowledge and learn new skills.
  5. Ensuring that operators are trained in multiple positions provides flexibility to the organization.  This allows the plant to easily adjust to changes in work flow, varying product lines and changes to customer requirements.
  6. Employees who are properly trained are more familiar with the requirements of their position resulting in less scrap and increased productivity.  Both of which will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

There is no doubt that having a robust operator training program will have an impact on your business.  And the sooner you get started, the sooner you can help reap the benefits.  If you know you need to improve your training program, but, you aren’t sure where to start, read this post titled It All Starts with One Step.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to

2 Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2009