When it comes to job satisfaction, there’s more to it than knowing how to operate a machine. Recently, Webster made some changes to how it brings new employees onboard that has drastically improved employee satisfaction and retention. And it’s all about being made to feel like you’re an essential part of the team.
In the middle of 2021, the punch press department was seeing a drastic drop in employee retention. Only 9 or 10 individuals were left in the department. Joe Schindler wanted to see his department thrive. It was time for a change.
It used to be that the Webster onboarding process lasted about a week. You came in, received your safety training, learned your machine, and then off you went to fly on your own. To Joe, that just didn’t seem like it was adequate anymore. Instead of just letting the team members go after that initial training, new workers know that if they have a question—any question—they can go to Joe.
“I train every new person that comes in and treat them with respect to keep them in,” Joe said. “There’s no set time I work with them. It could be a couple of weeks, or longer, as long as it takes to help them get started.”
Joe has a hand in training every new employee that comes into the punch press department, making them feel like they are part of the team. The facilitator program, as Webster is calling it, has been so successful that we’re beginning to roll it out plant-wide.
Since implementing the change, Joe’s department has grown from 9-10 employees last summer to a full staff of 20 today. The team is happy and integrated into the success of the company.
The difference is Joe, and other “Joe’s” like him, who can be there for new employees as the veteran team members, able to answer job-related questions and organization-related questions, from HR to how a machine works. New employees need to feel like they are a part of the team. Joe makes sure that happens.
The majority of new employee training takes place during the day shift, but once employees are trained, they are often moved into second and third shifts to fill the needs across the company. Second- and third-shift workers also have designated facilitators they can go to with their questions, and workers on the 2nd and 3rd shift receive pay premiums for their work.
This upfront investment into new employees gives every person a chance to succeed. With the onboarding structure in place, “I think that Webster can pretty much hire anyone,” said Joe.
Because Webster is a smaller facility, it gives us a chance to be a more tight-knit group, and the facilitator program makes that vision even more of a reality. We know that our success is based on the success of our employees.
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