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Co-Author: Rachel Cunliffe

While at EASTEC in May, we attended the SME chapter meeting. The purpose of the meeting was for members to discuss the tactics chapter leaders were using to attract members – and by extension, skilled workers for their companies.

The tactics discussed were many of the same things we’ve heard before: Becoming involved with local tech schools and community college programs,
using social media, etc.

None of these tactics is bad, but whenever we attend meetings that address the workforce labor shortage, we’re always struck by the fact no one mentions how they use their website to attract potential new hires.

So, we spoke up.

We view so many manufacturing websites and often, the experience is depressing. We love manufacturing and are continually amazed at the innovation we see happening inside companies.

But as we said at the meeting, a huge disconnect exists between what’s happening inside manufacturing companies and what you see on their websites.

  • We see websites that were built when George W. Bush was president – and then completely forgotten. One company that called us said all (!) of the product information on their website was outdated. How does that happen?
  • We see websites using dated technology, such as Flash. When we pointed that out to one owner, his response was, “What’s the problem?”
  • We see websites that state, “Our people make the difference,” yet all the photos are of parts. Or the building. Or the parking lot. (Yes, it’s true.)
  • We see many sites that look terrible on phones.

While taking a break at the Alliance for American Manufacturing booth at IMTS, we struck up a conversation with a sales guy.

He said, “I’d show you our website, but it looks like crap on my phone.”

Your website is the face of your business

We told the SME meeting attendees that to attract potential new hires, they had to do a much better job of communicating their messages and their cultures via their websites.

More important, they had to make sure people could access the website – and job descriptions, etc. – on their phones.

At that point, a young woman in high school spoke up: “Yes! Thank you! We all use our phones for everything.”

According to research we’ve seen, it’s costing companies tens of thousands of dollars to recruit new hires using online tools, such as Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.

When people do a job search, they read the job description, but they also visit the company website to determine if they’ll be a good fit.

They’re looking at what you build and provide, the problems you solve, and the customers you work with.

They’re also looking for your company’s culture and its values — everything from environmental sustainability and age diverse workforces to career growth and job training.

You can make the recruitment process much more effective, and less costly, by ensuring your website is up-to-date and mobile-friendly.

It should also include a Careers section with job listings, as well as information about your company values, job training, career growth opportunities
— anything that will help prospective employees decide if they want to work for you.

And, it should include photos of the people who actually work at your company.

At a recent photoshoot, we were interviewing employees for testimonials for the company’s new Careers and Culture website section.

The employee said, without prompting, “I visited [the company] website. I could see right away what it would be like to work here. I could see the people
looked friendly and happy. So I applied for the job.”

We gave him a high-five because he made our day. He proved our theory and message is spot-on: a website strategically built with prospective buyers and employees in mind helps grow your business.


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Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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