The Benefits of Retaining Maintenance Techs and How to Keep Them Engaged
Every human resources manager knows the benefit of long-tenured employees. Low turnover is something every factory strives for, because it means maximizing the capabilities of an engaged workforce. You don’t have to keep training new staff or waiting for fresh hires to adapt. The existing team gels and has a level of interpersonal communication that’s inherent. More importantly, tenured staff knows the expectations, standards, and requirements of their position.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to retain staff. Qualified individuals leave their jobs for many reasons. They find better pay or opportunities for advancement elsewhere. Personal circumstances force them to relocate or find new employment. They’re poached by a competitor. There’s a lot that’s out of your control, but there’s also a lot within your control, to keep them happy and engaged.
Tips for retaining qualified techs
There are a lot of factors that go into making a job appealing. Pay is of course the biggest concern, alongside benefits. Culture also plays a big role, but there are a lot of intangibles that factor into a person’s willingness and desire to stay in their current position ― especially after years of diligent service.
- Opportunity ― Is there upward mobility? Lateral opportunities? Few maintenance professionals want to be in the trenches their entire career. They need to know there’s something better in store for them eventually.
- Retaining ― Industry is evolving, and smart maintenance techs are keen on staying up to date with it. Providing retaining opportunities and continuing education goes a long way in showing them they’re a valued member of your team.
- Wage ― You might not be able to pay the highest wages, so develop a wage scale that offers incentive to advance. Second to making money outright, techs want to know there’s opportunity for wage growth, not stagnation ahead.
- Delegate ― Give responsibility to those looking for it. There’s plenty of room for growth as Industry 4.0 rolls out. Put capable techs in a position to succeed, whether it’s entrusting them with new technology or putting them in a leadership role.
- Culture ― Create a culture your techs appreciate. If they’re simply “service workers,” they’re not going to feel valued. Pushing the importance of their work and their place within the factory ecosystem inspires a culture of positivity.
The bottom line is this: Control what you can when it comes to forces impacting your maintenance teams. If you can’t pay them more, supplement continuing education. If your culture is toxic, elevate people to change it. The solution to keeping the workforce you have is to show that you value and appreciate them.
Recruit with intent to retain
Retaining maintenance employees starts from the very beginning ― at the point of hire. If you’re hiring a person because they’re qualified and bring potential to your staff, make it a point to foster that potential. Every hire should be made with the intent to retain, with the expectation they’ll develop into an essential part of your maintenance workforce. This mindset helps develop personal value for each member of the team.
Retaining maintenance techs for the long term isn’t about trying to keep them; it’s about giving them a reason to stay. Are you giving your tenured maintenance team enough reasons to keep working for you?