How Automakers Can Attract Talent During Recovery by Adjusting Benefits

A worker wearing heavy protective clothing, face shield and respirator operates machinery in an automobile factory.

Among the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, automotive reigns near the top of the list. Auto manufacturers were immediately challenged with changing consumer spending and traveling habits.

However, one of the biggest challenges wasn’t due to consumers, it had to do with employees within the industry. Automakers had to prioritize the health and safety of their workers, which led to slower production. This change in the workforce also affected auto-industry suppliers for items like semiconductors and computer chips. Workers all along the supply chain were affected — and the industry stalled.

The automotive industry is moving forward as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and the nation recovers. Auto manufacturers are also recovering but face the familiar challenges of retaining and obtaining talent.

We spoke to Director of Strategic Accounts Dan Stiles about creating solutions through utilizing benefits, incentives and shifts in workplace culture to attract and retain talent. Overcome your recovery staffing challenges by considering these tips.

Get aggressive about career growth

The auto industry has been facing a certain reality for decades — skilled trade workers are in short supply. Younger generations have gravitated towards opportunities in professional services, lured by the promise of pay and benefits.

Wooing automotive trade workers isn’t as easy as increasing wages. As profit margins increasingly shrink, substantial wage increases can impact the entire industry. That’s not to mention impacts on a cultural level.

“Tenured workers would likely be put off by increased starting wages after it’s taken them years to work up the ladder,” Stiles explains.

Instead of immediately turning to wages, manufacturers should consider boosting upskilling and other career growth opportunities to keep workers interested. Part of the reason for the lack of skilled trades workers is that professional jobs often offer a clearer path for growth. Auto manufacturers should take note and build out ladders for enhancement to give employees a path forward. If workers see a future for themselves in terms of seniority and pay, then they’re more likely to stick to the job. 

Find ways to invest in your employees

Have perspective when thinking about your employees. Stiles states that “It’s important for employers to put themselves in their workers’ shoes, and ask: ‘What’s in it for me?’”

Many manufacturers have been thinking of creative solutions to answer this question. They’ve begun to compete with other industries and offer benefits that show employees they care about them. For example, Volvo has recently expanded its paid parental leave program by giving all 40,000 workers 24 weeks of leave starting in April 2021.  

Funding employee learning and education is also an example of investing in your employees. This can range from tuition reimbursement to creating skills programs for your employees to gain more experience and knowledge. When workers feel that you’re taking an active role in their career — job loyalty is likely to increase in the long term. 

Double down on culture

Part of the allure of working in the automotive industry is getting to be close to a favorite brand or the latest technology. Because of this, one of the biggest draws for potential employees is the opportunity to “become part of something big,” as Stiles describes.

And so, embedding employees with a sense of company culture is essential. To engage workers, consider the different “perks” you can introduce to create a sense of company-wide cohesion and unity. This can include a vibrant HR team that organizes events or bonding activities.

Companies from various industries are seeking similar skills as automakers. The pressure is on auto manufacturers to update their employee engagement strategy or risk getting left behind. Investing in your culture incentivizes and benefits the employee while making your organization a more inviting workplace.

Tackling the puzzle of retaining and attracting talent during pandemic recovery is not an easy task. However, restructuring your benefit and perk packages to offer extra incentives for employees will help immensely.

Contact us to learn more about adjusting benefits across multiple industries, including auto.