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28 SMT Magazine • March 2016 going through training and leaving within the first year. Turnover on fourth shift (which in- cludes every Friday and Saturday night) was highest, topping 6% per month. Virtually all of the turnover involved employees with less than a year on the job and the majority of that turnover came from people who had less than six months on the job. The question became, "how can we identify the right candidates who are geared for manufacturing jobs and change our process so that our new employees become instilled with Firstronic's DNA and a desire to grow with our company?" The quality, operations and human resourc- es departments carefully analyzed the recruit- ing, hiring and training process to determine what improvements should be made. Several issues stood out: • Not all employees recently hired were a good fit for the jobs they were hired to do • The amount and content of training given to new employees over a relatively short period overwhelmed some employees • Employees on less populated shifts (especially fourth shift) felt isolated and didn't feel they had good coaching resources as they were learning the job • The large amount of classroom training was not as effective in reinforcement as on-the-job (OJT) based training • Some concepts, such as advanced training on the Plex Online ERP system, were presented before employees had enough work experience to fully under- stand how the system supported the jobs they performed The human resources department contract- ed with AccuMax, a third-party employment screening firm to administer tests designed to analyze job applicants' competencies and apti- tudes, with the end goal of matching them to the positions for which they were best suited. This was particularly important because many new hires had no concept of what was involved in the job they applied for. That disconnect and the subsequent realization that they didn't like the job they were performing led to some of the turnover. Under the new system, applicants are scored as green, yellow, and red. Greens are hired, yellows are evaluated carefully prior to hiring and reds are not hired. Communications between HR and training personnel were also improved. Previously, there had been little advance notice to the operations team when new hires would start work or be of- ficially considered as headcount in production. Now the teams coordinate this closely and new hires are not counted in production headcount for the first two weeks of training. The next step was creating a comprehensive onboarding process. The goal was to engage em- ployee interest from day one on the job while pro- viding a support network that ensured that new employees always had a mentor to coach them while learning new skills. The onboarding plan for HR and trainers outlines a list of relationship- building activities during the employee's first few weeks, in addition to specific training activities. The goal is to not only give new employees the knowledge they need to do their jobs, but also help them feel that they belong to a team that values the contributions they will be making. Trainers were given a formal presentation that consolidated the introductory training into a master presentation to ensure that ma- terial was delivered consistently in all classes. The trainers were also coached in interpersonal an onboardIng ProCESS Can buIld a Strong organIzatIonal CulturE Figure 1: A mentor (burgundy smock) watches while his mentee performs an assembly operation.

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