Talent Lures: Two More Tasks for Industrial Companies

April 6, 2023

Two more steps that expand your talent pipeline and attract new generations.

YoungManOnSmartPhone, Industry Today
Life, education, play, and work are conducted on mobile — and to expand the employment pipeline you have to use the same tools.

Last month I wrote about three simple first steps that manufacturing companies can take to begin the journey towards becoming the most attractive place to work for employees: 1) create a relevant corporate website; 2) modernize your work spaces & invest in your facility’s infrastructure; and 3) communicate on the relevant tech platforms that your employees and ideal candidates use. The only way to win the talent war is to become an exceptional company for exceptional candidates.

Here are two more tasks to consider, both of which expand your employment pipeline to new generations and also require a greater investment in time and money.

4) Engage at the grass roots in local high schools and tech schools, and become involved in your community.

Your future hires will be coming from those high schools and tech schools — or they’ll be going elsewhere. Somehow we have to challenge a common stigma regarding working in manufacturing.

Manufacturing is a place with good salaries, potential to advance, and possibilities for personal and professional development, creativity, and building a life. But for various reasons, schools, guidance counselors, parents, and entire generations haven’t received that message and frequently miss the opportunity to present manufacturing to students as an option for a career.

Manufacturing leaders must engage with kids at an early age, as early as middle school, by creating conversations, asking questions, offering facility tours, showcasing excellent internal training and development programs, making classroom appearances, and developing apprenticeship opportunities.

Your company’s visibility in the community is vital for building a larger employee pipeline. You can recruit people from far away. Or close to home. Recruiting closer to home is far easier, but you have to begin now to build relationships with future generations of workers.

BoysGaming, Industry Today
Much of the world has been “gamified” and gaming is one of the most popular pastimes for youth generations.

5) Embrace “gamification” to heighten engagement, performance feedback, and worker satisfaction.

Much of life, including education, has been “gamified.” According to Tapjoy, a mobile ad and app monetization company, about 86% of Gen Z “use mobile devices as gaming platforms.” Measuring, incentives, feedback, competing, learning — all of those things happen through online and mobile games, and education is embracing that shift.

The largest geographic education district in the country recently began introducing mobile games for their students that explore everything from cybersecurity careers to soft skills development. One company that has taken on the gamification needs of industries, schools, and economic/workforce development agencies is skillsgapp, which fields mobile interactive apps that help middle and high school-aged youth achieve career awareness and pathway access, as well as develop the middle and soft skills necessary to pursue jobs in skills-based industries. With a social network through gamification, students can see what others are doing, make comparisons, achieve feedback and real incentives, compete, and grow. Gamification in the workplace can offer the same benefits.

To begin adding “fun and games” to manufacturing, you have to decide what behaviors you are trying to improve and then offer incentives for those improved behaviors. Perhaps you want to increase participation in training and development, improve quality, or boost a safety measurable.

Once you determine what you want to improve, an old principle becomes clear: we can’t improve what we don’t measure. So data becomes critical — employees have to see process data, measure results, review feedback, and compete with one another through data transparency.

MobileGaming, Industry Today
According to Tapjoy’s research, 86% of Gen Z
“use mobile devices as gaming platforms.”

Gamification is not solely about technology. Decades ago, not long after beginning my process engineering career with Milliken, we began assigning seconds (imperfect products) directly to the shift that produced the defective product – more specifically assigning it directly to the individuals on the shift that were responsible. We graphed this on a large chart where every employee could see their individual and shift performance. Though it wasn’t tied into a real-time mobile application, it was updated daily and was a place where managers would provide positive feedback for all to see.

You don’t have to launch brand new mobile games. Experiment with adding elements of gamification to key strategic initiatives. In recent years I’ve seen one company offer gamified training and development for electrical subcontractors, and another offer $100 gift cards for certain training completions during onboarding. Gamification that is well constructed offers a possibility of mastery for employees. They can take their own careers into their own hands, choosing what achievements and incentives to pursue. Allowing that kind of autonomy and self-motivation offers significant psychological benefits for employees.

Gamification can make manufacturing fun again. Just as importantly, gamification allows you to reach a generation that has grown up with learning through mobile games. And reaching that generation will expand the employment pipeline in a very competitive talent market.

Ben Talbert Better Than Found, Industry Today
Ben Talbert

Ben Talbert is President and CEO of Better Than Found, a full-service professional and executive recruitment firm focusing on industrial sectors in manufacturing, engineering, and construction. After graduating with his degree in textile engineering from NC State, Ben spent the first ten years of his career in engineering with stints at Milliken and O’Neal, Inc., an EPC company that designs and builds manufacturing operations. For the past eight years, Ben has been recruiting for the same industries where he had worked. Connect with Ben at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bentalbert.

Kayla van Hoff joins Better Than Found search firm as recruiting assistant

Kayla van Hoff

Greenville, South Carolina – April 2, 2023

Kayla van Hoff has joined Better Than Found, a professional and executive recruitment firm focusing on industrial sectors in manufacturing, engineering, and construction, as a recruiting assistant. Van Hoff previously worked as a recruiter with two recruiting firms, one national firm specializing in positions at e-commerce, logistics, and manufacturing facilities and the other focusing on sales recruiting in healthcare, technology, and consulting sectors.

“I am so pleased to have found somebody like Kayla to help manage BTF’s growth,” said Ben Talbert, CEO of Better Than Found. “Since founding BTF more than two years ago, I’ve been very busy learning and investing in my clients’ businesses, helping candidates navigate their professional careers, and just trying to keep up with growth. Kayla has brought so much organization, freedom, and peace to the business and I value both her recruiting experience and her organizational and people skills. That’s a rare mix!”

“When I joined BTF, I was a bit burned out on the transactional nature of recruiting,” said Van Hoff. “The reputation and trust that Ben has developed with both his clients and with candidates has been astounding to me. He has made the process much less metrics-driven and far more relationship-oriented. His wealth of experience both as an engineer and as a recruiter has meant that clients and candidates listen to his insights and see him as a trusted advisor.”

Van Hoff graduated from Clemson University in 2019 with a BA in Human Resources Management and Services. She volunteers as the worship leader at Hope Church, and enjoys Crossfit Taylors in her free time.

Industry veteran Ben Talbert launches search firm to service industrial sector

Talbert, a licensed professional engineer, is the Founder and CEO of Better Than Found Search Group.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (January 1, 2021)
Ben Talbert, with more than 17 years of experience both working in and recruiting for the industrial sectors, announced that his industrial recruiting firm, ​Better Than Found​ (BTF), launched on January 1.

Specializing in professional and executive recruitment across manufacturing, engineering and construction, Better Than Found was formed on the mission to leave companies, careers and lives better than we found them. Based in Greenville, BTF does nationwide recruitment for companies in the Upstate of South Carolina and throughout the Southeast.

Better Than Found is a full-service industrial consultant and talent resource, capable of sourcing vital and specialized professionals and executives. With diverse industry knowledge and experience, its team has served clients in textiles, HVACR, consumer products, OEM industrial equipment and aftermarket parts supply, capital equipment design/engineering/automation/integration, plastics and packaging, automotive, aerospace, power generation, warehousing/distribution/logistics, chemicals and food and beverage.

Better Than Found partners with companies that are committed to excellence within their niche in the market. Its team uses a consultative approach to thoroughly understand a company’s unique hiring needs, adapting its service to attract talent to fit those needs, bringing a focus that precisely matches not only candidates’ skill sets, but attitudes, values and motivations.

Better Than Found also provides highly qualified candidates access to today’s leading companies through a relationship-based approach, finding the best possible environments for their skills, aspirations and careers to flourish. This confidential and very strategic process ensures that all aspects of a potential career move will be in the best interest of everyone involved, leaving companies, careers and lives better.

With 10 years of direct industry experience along with seven years of recruiting across industrial sectors, Talbert set out to establish a search firm that measures success based on the number of lives impacted rather than the number of placements made.

Talbert, who holds a Textile Engineering degree from N.C. State, spent the first eight years of his career at Milliken, followed by two years at O’Neal, Inc.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the Upstate Chapter of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers for over six years. He sits on the Board of Directors for 3GEN Ministries, a local nonprofit ministry. He is an active member and leader at Grace Church in Greenville, S.C., as well as a workout leader and recruitment/expansion participant with F3 Nation (Fitness, Fellowship and Faith). He also is a member of the Southern Textile Association (STA).

Talbert comes from a family with deep roots in the manufacturing industry in the Carolinas. It’s that heritage and his experience working with and placing professionals in the industry that has shown him the importance of relationship building, he said. He said that establishing those relationships in order to place an individual in the appropriate role provides much personal fulfillment.

“It’s extremely satisfying to bring in a candidate, hear their career goals and line them up with a right company,” he said. “Better Than Found is more than just a name – it’s our mission.”