The Mold Shop Puzzle

Creating Constructive Change: Human Resources.


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Historically, moldmaking has been a great profession for fringe benefits. Most shops made sure they took care of their employees, so they did not want to look anywhere else for employment.  Today that is still true, but with increasing government regulations, a decreasing employee pool and worldwide competition; it is a full-time job to discover what will work the best for each shop.

Another term for human resource is talent management. The four basic steps to managing talent are hire superstars, retain champions, train basic employees to become superstars and take care of the families. Here we’ll cover two.

Hire. There are resources a shop owner can employ to help select proper person. Employment agencies have standardized testing that can help—weed through in appropriate candidates, do background and credential checks and provide a complete profile, which includes knowledge and personality traits.  For a medium to large shops this is an excellent system to use, but for a smaller shop it may not be cost-effective solution. There are simple, free ways to do it yourself, but they will require time: conduct a simple background check using a service on the internet; contact a local community college that offers assessment programs (along with a free online assessment at expert-technical.com).  

Retain. Keeping good people is not only a daunting task, but essential to staying competitive.  A shop with high employee turnover has a hard time streamlining or maintaining any positive work flow.  Mold shops that are successful have limited or no turnover.  How to take care of employees has taken several turns in the past few years. A progressive shop must balance between meeting the needs of their employees without raising their operating costs to a point of extinction.  There are several areas that are a must for each shop: security in employment, pay, health coverage for their family and future retirement.  As an employer, most shop owners want to naturally meet each one of those needs. The nature of how each shop works can provide the employment security, but it takes time and research to fulfill the maze of pay, health and retirement. Once again the medium to large mold shops can afford to have a full-time specialist to stay abreast of what is needed to keep their people covered. A smaller shop may need to look at outside companies that specialize in HR. At first they may seem expensive, but in the long run they each will provide knowledge and resources that cannot be duplicated by a sole owner.    

The complexity of talent management will not get easier over the next few years,  and each shop needs a plan that fits their personality, but also takes into account each aspect of the employee’s needs.  Simple changes can result in unexpected consequences that flow through the shop.  Experts are available at reasonable cost to share advice and assist in creating a plan.  Payroll companies also have specialists who can help with 401K, IRAs, HSA, FSA and training plans. Finance managers at your local bank are another resource.

It is impossible to be an expert in each of these specialties, and a progressive shop should seek the advice and planning of a specialist.  Either way attention must be given equally to HR as to any other area of operations.  There is no substitute for planning and research when it comes to providing each employee with the security they desire so they can keep their minds clear to produce and meet your expectations.