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Continuous Improvement Overlooked

About the Author

Kent Keller, MANTEC

Kent Keller, PHR

Human Resources Specialist

  • 20-year history in employee professional development, recruitment and retention strategies, and HR policy development and implementation in a variety of manufacturing industry sectors
  • Recognized as a Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resources Management; also an active member in the local affiliated chapter
  • Bachelor's in Business Management, Robert Morris University

Why is Continuous Improvement Overlooked in HR?

by Kent Keller

Nationwide unemployment rates still hover at higher than normal levels from just five years ago, yet thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sectors remain unfilled. If your business is poised to grow, you must challenge yourself to overcome the commonly accepted excuse that a skills gap exists and there's nothing more you can do. While the federal government has recognized the skills gap and set aside $2 billion to support retraining Americans*, many organizations have taken matters into their own hands.

Companies have long embraced continuous improvement (CI) methods as a way to improve efficiency and reduce costs in operational areas. Many of them are now finding great value in implementing CI strategies in their efforts to recruit and retain a talented workforce as well. When was the last time you looked at your HR processes for opportunities for improvement?

Job Descriptions: An outdated job description is a major contributor to turnover and may be a big reason why an organization can't find talent. Without clearly defined duties, performance goals, knowledge/skill requirements or education/experience criteria, you cannot succeed in attracting the right person.

Recruitment Tools: Review internal and external efforts for attracting talent. Developing a pipeline for talent may require an investment of resources into trade, technical and other postsecondary schools to ensure access to the workforce you need tomorrow. With more technology-savvy candidates, take time to look at your social media, online and other media outlets for communicating job opportunities.

Selecting Criteria: A company's interview techniques; testing protocols for skills, knowledge or abilities; and verification processes should also be reviewed, as they are vital for increasing your chances of hiring the right person the first time.

Adopting some CI best practices in the talent management function can have positive effects on the bottom line beyond efficiency gains and lower costs. An HR process that is finely tuned and aligned to company strategies will yield great results.

*Source: U.S. Department of Education

MANTEC is a private nonprofit organization that drives strength in manufacturing through continuous innovation and growth for the manufacturers in South Central Pennsylvania. MANTEC is one of seven Industrial Resource Centers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, supported through the Department of Community and Economic Development. In addition, MANTEC is an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit or call 717-843-5054.

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