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92 SMT Magazine • October 2016 there were 15 employees. Today, there are near- ly 200 employees, making it the same size as the Grand Rapids, Michigan facility. Several Lessons Learned in Grand Rapids Employment Surge Lessons learned in the original Grand Rap- ids recruiting and training process have driven a number of refinements to the company's pro- cess. In the initial recruitment effort, the Grand Rapids facility adopted a 24/7 work schedule that had production employees working 12- hour shifts on alternating three-day and four- day weeks. There were four shifts. Shifts one and two work the same schedule of long and short weeks, with shifts three and four cover- ing the alternate weeks. Employee training was scheduled in four-hour blocks on one of the days during employees' short work week. Em- ployees were paid for training time and could pick the day and time block that worked best with their schedules. A training program was developed and de- livered in three phases during the first three quarters of 2014. Phase I focused on Core Train- ing for all employees, Phase II provided Ad- vanced System Training and Phase III defined and implemented Certified Operator Training (COT) Evaluations and Classifications. While recruiting employees was not diffi- cult, it became apparent by early 2015 that new- ly hired employees were leaving in large num- bers. Fourth shift turnover was highest, topping 6% per month. Virtually all of the turnover in- volved 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 unfortunate reality was that em- ployees with no concept of what a manufactur- ing career entailed were finding it wasn't what they expected. The Quality and HR departments studied the situation in greater depth and found: • Not all employees hired were a good fit for the jobs they were hired to do • The amount of training given to new employees over a relatively short period overwhelmed some employees • Employees on smaller shifts felt isolated and had more limited coaching resources • The large amount of classroom training was not as effective in teaching key skills as on-the-job (OJT) based training • In some cases, such as the ERP system training, employees lacked the frame of reference to fully understand the concepts being taught It became obvious that a more robust on- boarding process needed to be developed. The goal of this new effort became making employ- ees feel valued from day one. Training was re- RECRUITING AND MAINTAINING A HIGH-QUALITY MANUFACTURING WORKFORCE

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