Structurlam manufactures architectural laminated wood beams in Penticton BC 400 km east of Vancouver, Canada, the nearest major city. As part of an acquisition HR due diligence, Analytic Perspectives conducted demographic and turnover analysis looking for risk areas.
Based on historical data, Structurlam had an issue with turnover which impacted more than the need to continually recruit. One of the manufacturing plants had 150% turnover of its FTE count in the prior year with approximately 60% of new staff leaving within the first 30 days of hire. While the production positions were generally low skilled labour, the working environment was messy through constant contact and exposure to glue and fibreglass. The company had not thought to include information on the work environment as part of the hiring process allowing potential candidates to opt out before making job offers.
The greater risk to the company was around corporate reputation and an available talent pool. With the current churn in staff and the relatively small population of the city and region, Structurlam would be at risk of running out of new talent. The number of employees who had had an unpleasant employment experience could potentially impact the corporate reputation as this group of short term employees was far greater in number than those who worked long term within the company and enjoyed a great work environment.
Analytic Perspective’s recommendation was to include information on the manufacturing process and the realities of the work environment into the hiring process. It was better that a candidate walk away before they were hired. This change in process had an immediate impact on the hiring and retention rate.
Adera builds medium density residential housing. As part of an HR audit of the company, Analytic Perspectives looked at how historical HR policies and practices impacted the current productivity of its construction team.
As a family owned company, Adera’s HR practices focused on rewarding and retaining long term employees. Reviewing the company’s HR data though highlighted where good intentions can lead to a little too much of a good thing. We analysed demographics, turnover, leave entitlement and remuneration. The patterns that emerged were like reading tea leaves in a teacup – but supported by data.
There was compression related to age between site supervisors and the construction workers. The supervisors preferred to hire people like themselves rather than train younger staff but in construction, a 40 year old labourer wants to be a supervisor and not on the tools still. Remuneration which rewarded long term supervisory staff with increasingly sizable bonuses meant the supervisors were not turning over so the construction staff quit for supervisory jobs elsewhere.
Long service also lead to longer leave entitlement which was not being accounted for in project planning. Basic leave entitlement reduced manpower by 2 people per day even before unplanned absences, sick leave or parental/bereavement and other leaves where taken into account.
These and a few other insights helped the company reduce the risk in key productivity and staff attraction/retention practices.
The company was founded on the principle of providing dignified and meaningful work to past service men from the armed forces and police who had retired with significant pension/superannuation plans. Over the years, with fewer men entering and leaving the armed forces and no real changes to the remuneration structure, the company was increasingly recruiting from a younger and less skilled population.
Through charts and graphics, Analytic Perspectives was able to demonstrate the extent of the shift by quantifying the veterans as a percentage of the employee population. There was an 80% reduction in the veteran population between the longest serving employees and the newest recruits.
Additionally, their protracted recruitment, orientation and on-boarding process meant that they were increasingly recruiting from amongst the chronically unemployed as those with other immediate job offers opted out of the processes before being confirmed in a role.
Our analysis left the organisation with some important strategic decisions to make as they developed their longer term corporate and HR strategy.