While certain areas of employee retention are relatively similar or even identical across most industries, there are also those in this realm that will be specific to your industry or even sub-categories within it — and both sides of this coin are important. One great example here is the food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing world, which definitely has some unique elements to it among managers looking to retain their talent — but also is similar to other industries n many ways.
At Idaho Milk Products, we’re proud to serve numerous F&B manufacturers and related entities, providing products ranging from milk permeate powder, milk protein concentrates and isolates and cream. How can you retain your best employees? Here are both some general strategies and some that are specific to the F&B world itself.
First up, the realm of employee retention actually begins before a given employee is even hired. How? With the recruitment process itself. When looking to hire great new talent, it’s important to be honest about what the job entails — no one wants to feel like they’ve been “bait and switched” after accepting a position, and this can often lead to a quick departure.
Furthermore, candidates who understand exactly what will be expected of them are more likely to be successful and feel like a good fit from day one, meaning they’re less likely to move on down the road. Take the time to ensure your recruitment process is as watertight as possible. It’s worth spending more resources in this area.
Clarity on Rules and Regulations
Focus on this principle is important in any industry, but especially so in those that are highly regulated — which F&B manufacturing definitely is. Your employees need to understand not only what the rules and regulations are, but also how these will impact their daily roles and responsibilities.
Failing to do so can result in frustration and even a feeling of being “set up to fail” on their part, neither of which is conducive to a long-term relationship. Schedule regular training and update sessions on these topics to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Training and Equipment Usage
Another area that’s unique to the F&B world is the kinds of equipment used in the manufacturing process. Many of these are highly specialized and require specific training to use — which means that if an employee does feel like they need to move on, they may not have as many options as someone in a different industry.
That’s why it’s so important to provide comprehensive training on all of the equipment used in your facility, as well as regular refresher courses. This will give your employees the confidence they need to do their jobs well — and make it less likely that they’ll feel the need to leave in search of greener pastures.
Compensation and Benefits
One element that’s just as important in this world as for any other employee retention strategy is compensation and benefits. Your team needs to feel like they’re being fairly compensated for the work they do, or they’ll definitely start looking elsewhere. Furthermore, a comprehensive benefits package that meets their needs (and those of their families) is also important.
Don’t skimp on these important elements — it’s well worth it to invest in your team in this way, as they will definitely appreciate it and be more likely to stick around.
The F&B world is one that’s constantly being updated and changed, whether in terms of new equipment, processes, or even regulations. It’s important that your team members feel like they can stay up to date in their field, or they may start to feel like they’re being left behind.
One great way to combat this is to offer continuing education opportunities — whether that means paid time off to attend conferences or even in-house training sessions on new topics. Whatever you can do to help your team stay ahead of the curve is sure to be appreciated.
Promoting Great Culture
One theme that’s absolutely identical to other industries, but is also vital for F&B manufacturing, is promoting a great company culture. Your team needs to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, or they may start to feel like just another cog in the machine.
Make sure you’re promoting a positive, team-oriented environment in which everyone feels valued and respected. This will go a long way towards keeping your employees happy and engaged — and much less likely to start looking for a way out.
Bonuses and Incentives
Because of how important productivity and efficiency are in the dairy processing and manufacturing industries, it’s no surprise that bonuses and other incentives are often used as a retention strategy. And while this can definitely be effective, it’s important to use these with discretion and to make them meaningful.
If your team feels like you’re constantly being a cheapskate with these kinds of programs, it will quickly lead to resentment. So, make sure you’re using them in a way that’s truly motivating — and not just as a way to cheapen their hard work.
These are just a few of the many retention strategies that are important for those in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. By keeping these in mind, you can be sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your team happy and engaged — and reduce turnover in your facility.
As usual, to learn about any of our milk protein or other dairy products, speak to the team at Idaho Milk Products today.