What makes employees stay with their employers? New retention study examines
July 15, 2021 | 10:12 am CDT

WASHINGTON – A new study from the Manufacturing Institute and the American Psychological Association examined best practices for retaining manufacturing workers.

The study looked at what makes manufacturing workers stay with their employers and what contributes to that decision. 

“With 814,000 jobs open in manufacturing, there has been a great deal of attention on recruitment, but part of the equation is also retention," said MI executive director Carolyn Lee. "And as the study shows, not all employees are motivated by the same factors."

Here are some key findings:

  • Eight in 10 workers said they stay with their employer because they enjoy the work.
  • Employees under age 25 said they stay with their current employer because of training and development (69%) and career opportunities (65%).
  • Employees who feel valued were more than four times as likely to report high levels of work engagement (59% vs. 13%) and less likely to say they feel stressed out on a typical workday (16% vs. 66%) or that they plan to leave the company within the next year (2% vs. 12%). 
  • More than 9 in 10 senior leaders are satisfied with training and development, compared to two-thirds of frontline workers. 
  • While competitive pay and benefits are important, designing work in a way that increases positive experiences on the job can be an effective approach to improving retention.
  • The most sophisticated retention efforts employed by manufacturing leaders include ensuring every individual understands how their efforts are linked to overall company success and equipping frontline managers to support workers.  

The study noted key areas for retention improvement:

  • Employee recognition programs
  • Internal communication
  • Clear career paths
  • Better management training (especially “soft skills”)

See the full report here.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at robert.dalheim@woodworkingnetwork.com.