At the beginning of March, the ICATT Apprenticeship Program team attended Manufacturing Matters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conference explores ideas and best practices that help companies leverage change, harness growth, and think strategically in a rapidly developing business environment.

ICATT Apprenticeship Program manager Joshua Seeberg attended a breakout session at the conference called Improving Retention with Effective Employee Onboarding. Hosted by Tom O’Rouke, President and CEO of Connolly Clarke, the session led participants in a discussion of the biggest challenges facing Wisconsin manufacturers, including coping with a workforce shortage, and attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent.

O’Rourke outlined how effective onboarding practices – starting from the first contact with a potential new hire and extending beyond the conclusion of a traditional orientation program – can help companies minimize turnover and boost employee satisfaction.

O’Rourke highlighted tips for successful onboarding, including:

  • Start the training when the new hire’s direct supervisor is available
  • Have a clean work area ready for the employee on the first day
  • Develop an organized, thorough, and consistent orientation program
  • Avoid information overload, focusing on the most important objectives, roles, and responsibilities
  • Use milestones (such as 30, 60 and 90 days on the job) to check progress

“The session validated the steps the ICATT Apprenticeship Program takes when working with ICATT Network Companies,” says Seeburg. “Before companies onboard their respective apprentices, we personally work with them to develop the training plan. As part of this process, we help the company identify all the departments the apprentice will interact with, which prepares the company to more effectively onboard their new apprentices.”

According to SHRM, nearly 90 percent of new hires decide whether to stay or leave within their first six months on the job. A main factor in this decision is whether employees see strong career development and growth opportunities for themselves within the organization. They need to know that the company is invested in them, from the beginning and for the long term.

“What makes ICATT Network Companies so successful in retaining their new talent is that the apprentices see that the manufacturing company is investing in them from the beginning,” continues Seeburg. “By working with us, the company provides the apprentice an associate degree, hands-on training and a wage. There’s no better way to create a sense of identification and loyalty.”

While manufacturing companies are facing a severe workforce shortage, the ICATT Apprenticeship Program is partnering with companies to tackle the skills gap by providing a sustainable solution that produces a pipeline of talent over time. The program helps recruit candidates, works with the manufacturing company on effective training, and facilitates the investment between the company and apprentice.

To learn more about how the ICATT Apprenticeship Program can work with your company to close the skills gap, click here.