Manufacturers from across the region converge on Bridgewater Metal Industries Limited (BMI Ltd) in Blockhouse for a facilitated discussion on a range on HR topics.
The turnout indicated that folks like to compare notes and share best practices where possible when it comes to some of the challenges of managing the human resource. After a round of introductions and an EMC update on local training activity and upcoming EMC SIG events the group dug right in.
Topics covered the spectrum but some of the highlights included:
- Absenteeism / doctors notes. Who uses them, what is the value?
- What do folks do with long running LTD claims? When to move on and end the relationship?
- Mental health in the workplace. The group will investigate a regional ‘mental health first aid’ training activity.
- Recruiting skilled labour is a challenge for many operations. The big challenge appears to be getting them to commit and leave the city to live in rural NS. This was a good discussion that sadly had no solid solution at the event. It was suggested that perhaps marketing the lifestyle and supporting regional initiatives such as sponsoring trails, mountain bike facilities etc. might draw more interest from millennials who perhaps are not all hunters or don’t play hockey. This is a shift in thinking that may be needed to show those interested in work that the region is progressing and supports the work life balance focus of the generation.
- Where to advertise jobs, using headhunters, using social media, what works? What doesn’t?
- Communication / change management skills were discussed a lot as they relate to many of the topics covered. The group agreed that ‘talking’ to staff needs to be more than a passing ‘hello how are you’. Managers / supervisors need to stop and have a conversation to grow the connection with staff so they feel appreciated. Say thank you more often.
- Training is also a high on the list topic for many and there is agreement that good / relevant training is hard to find / afford. We discussed new options for the cluster training such as HR essentials for non HR professionals, Blueprint and Technical Document use, and Essential Business Skills for non-financial people to name a few.
- There was also discussion on the education system and how to / when to approach schools to open the eyes of students to the opportunities in manufacturing.
- Also the group discussed the challenges with the NSCC system and the disconnect with industry. Specifically, the lack of trade instruction in the region or even in the province when looking at the curriculum from a manufacturers perspective.
- We discussed the fear or supporting apprentices only to have them leave after graduating. We discussed making the workplace a place they would be proud of and not want / need to leave instead. A bit of a refocus may be needed.
Clearly there were more challenges than solutions at this event and it is never a good thing leaving without a solution but I think there were good ideas shared and the ideas for direction established for some of the issues. EMC will be investigating some of the actionable items right away.
Thanks to Kate and Martin for hosting and to those who showed up to talk. I think this subject needs to be put in front of the group more often.
If you have any questions on this event or EMC in general, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org