Efficient Plant January 2020 - 32

column | workforce strategies

Find New
Ways to
Develop Your
Workforce
Jennifer Hauschildt
Uponor North America

W

ITH WORKING-CLASS
baby boomers retiring and
growing numbers of college
graduates entering the workforce, it has
become more difficult to fill traditional blue-collar jobs than professional
white-collar positions. For employers,
that means workforce development is no
longer an aspirational goal, but an
immediate need. Now is the time to
explore unconventional methods that
will entice new candidates and develop
existing employees.
Employers need to be aware of the shift
in worker desires. Employees want variety,
flexibility, and mobility in their careers.
That means companies need to focus on
the skills and strengths of each individual
and explore ways to effectively use those
talents to advance the company while keeping employees from becoming disenchanted and exiting.
At Uponor, a Twin Cities-based (Apple
Valley, MN, uponor-usa.com) manufacturer of plastic piping (PEX) for plumbing and
heating systems, we've experienced success
leveraging the strengths of individuals to
move them into new positions that offer
greater opportunities and challenges. For
example, one of our employees was able
to use our tuition-reimbursement benefit
and transfer his skills from warehouse
clerk to operations training to, finally, an
operations recruiter in Human Resources.
The system also allows employees to move
in the other direction-from the office into
manufacturing or the warehouse.

FORGING RELATIONSHIPS
Successfully developing future skilled workers
involves developing relationships and delivering a message that resonates beyond one job
shadow or school visit.

32

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

For the manufacturing industry in particular, finding the right candidates with
the right aptitude can be a lofty challenge. Partnering strategically with local
trade schools, high schools, and even

middle schools, is paramount to casting
a wide net for talent. But there are other
methods for meeting the need.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility
manager has forged strong partnerships
with several non-profits in the community.
Since these agencies already have trusted
relationships with individuals in the area,
it's much easier to make connections with
potential talent. This type of employer
branding has proven to be a very successful
method for generating awareness about the
company and its career opportunities.
Uponor has also been involved in
outreach programs in which traditional
blue-collar professionals, such as plumbers
and electricians, speak to students at local
high schools and middle schools to dispel
myths of the job and industry as a whole.
When students hear first-hand how a
position in manufacturing or the trades is
technologically challenging, safe, and
lucrative, it changes their mindsets and
raises awareness of new opportunities.
Because every educational institution,
as well as non-profit agency, has different
programs for connecting with individuals in the community, it's important for
employers to be strategic with the partnerships. Target programming at the circle
of student influencers, including parents,
teachers, and career advisors, to ensure the
message resonates beyond one job shadow
or school visit.
Keep in mind that relationship building is unique and takes time. To learn
more about partnering with schools and
non-profits in your area, connect with your
local Chamber of Commerce, local school
district websites, or visit guidestar.org. EP
Jennifer Hauschildt is Vice President,
Human Resources, at Uponor North
America, Apple Valley, MN.

JANUARY 2020


http://www.uponor-usa.com http://www.guidestar.org http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Efficient Plant January 2020

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