How to Win the Manufacturing Talent Game

This article appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Attracting and retaining top talent in an increasingly competitive market has become a hot topic for business leaders. Learn how prioritizing culture and leadership can help you win the manufacturing talent game.

Define Company Culture Terms

Decades ago, organizational development and efficiency icon Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In five words, Drucker set a compass for today’s conversations about employee engagement. No matter how perfect your business strategy might be, it can’t succeed without the buy-in of the people you rely on to implement it. To start a meaningful conversation about company culture, it’s important to define what culture means to your organization and ensure your cultural initiatives align with your company goals.

Lead by Example

Leaders play a key role in sustaining a healthy and impactful company culture. For any set of cultural beliefs and behaviors to become an authentic part of your company’s daily work experience, you need “culture champions” at every level of the organization. In addition to being the “public face” of your organization’s cultural beliefs, senior executives also need to equip middle and line managers to carry these values forward. In today’s business world, it’s not enough to be the best in the company at the discipline you lead — you have to excel in the requisite people skills as well.

Boost Employee Engagement

Once you have your cultural framework in place and your leadership team on board, you can start boosting employee engagement. Meaningful actions that your team can see and feel are essential to building lasting engagement. This goes beyond mere job satisfaction — it’s a willingness to invest discretionary effort in the mission of your organization. As you plan steps to make your culture visible, it helps to frame them around the deeper factors that fuel real engagement. Your employees want to know that their jobs have a purpose beyond just maximizing profits, they have a voice in your organization and their work contributes to company goals.

Promote a Healthy Culture Beyond the Manufacturing Floor

Although many companies are bringing employees back to the office, there are still many remote and hybrid work environments. Extending cultural outreach beyond the walls of the traditional office or manufacturing floor and keeping your team engaged no matter where they work requires creativity. It’s important to stay flexible, listen to your employees, add lighthearted elements of fun when possible, and remember that culture is not one-size-fits-all.

About the Author

Bryan PowrozekBryan Powrozek is a Senior Manager in Clayton & McKervey’s Industrial Automation practice, focused on Research & Experimentation Tax Credits. He may be reached at

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