by Shelly Otenbaker, president
WayPoint Marketing Communications

People are always on the move, and that’s especially true in their careers. One often-cited study1 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, on average, a person will change jobs 12 times during his or her career. And in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median employee tenure2 was 4.3 years for men and four years for women.

The data tell a clear story – at any given point, there’s a substantial population of people looking for their next job opportunity.

Think it’s different in this industry? Think again. In this year’s Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) benchmarking study, 100% of those who responded indicated recruiting and retaining talent as a top challenge for 2019.

So, obviously talent management is a challenge for plastic processors – but, what are companies doing in response? Do they have a talent strategy in place? Are they preparing for the future workforce? Are they leveraging marketing for talent attraction?

Marketing is more than business development

It is a common myth throughout the industry that marketing is exclusively for business development. In reality, a company’s marketing activities are one of the most effective tools in talent acquisition. And, websites often are the front-line marketing presence that is most visible to those seeking to learn more about a potential employer.

During the search process, job seekers will most certainly visit your company’s website to learn about the culture, leadership and major initiatives or projects. Because of this, your website should serve as the foundation of recruiting activities. Why? Because if the job seeker’s experience doesn’t align with your desired brand identity, you’ve potentially lost a qualified candidate – or, worse yet, you’ve contributed to a negative perception of your company that could be shared with others.

What does this mean in terms of employee recruitment? At the most basic level, it means you can’t afford not to have a website or to just “get by” with a generic website that is not built with your target audience in mind. More specifically, it has become imperative for a company website to have a careers section that is easily discoverable, informative and built with the user’s experience in mind.

To do this, you need enough information to convey your company’s story (e.g. define your company’s culture, differentiators that set your company apart from competitors, anecdotes from employees). Keep in mind, this will be difficult to do without well-defined key messages about your company, which will help you effectively attract the “right” people for your organization.

Put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes

When looking for a job, people typically search for a specific job title, type of company or industry and experience level. Thus, each of your job openings must include this information in the title tags. An example would be:

  • Assembly Operator (Title) – Entry-Level Jobs (Experience Level) | ABC Mold (Name of Company) – Plastics Industry (Industry Type)

Each posting also needs to be organized with a job seeker’s intentions in mind. If you were looking for a job, what would you hope to see in a job description? This commonly includes the purpose of the position, day-to-day and overarching responsibilities, necessary skills and experience, and applicable company information.

But, their attention doesn’t stop at your website. That’s just the beginning. In 2020, 50% of the US workforce will be made up of millennials, and studies indicate that 73% of millennials use social media to find a job. This means your shop should not just utilize social media but have a social media strategy that leverages the outlets that best match your desired talent pool.

Your social media activity should be utilized to communicate your company culture, key news items related to your business, community initiatives and any other information that would help job seekers determine if they would like to work for your company. Because everyone – including all of your competitors – is looking to hire talent, help your company stand out from the rest by allocating budget to promote job postings on social media.

Job boards, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, are another tool the next-generation workforce uses to identify job opportunities and research the companies posting them. Consider having a presence on these and other job boards: The good news is that a Glassdoor profile is free.

Now, let’s talk about tradeshows. These often are a missed opportunity for recruiting. If your company is participating in an industry event, such as NPE, don’t pass up this prime opportunity to reach potential talent at all levels – from apprentices to experienced professionals. But, as with most things, you can’t just roll in and think the candidates will flock to your exhibit. You need to develop and implement a strategy that focuses on pre-, post- and on-site show activities that will drive potential, qualified candidates to you.

To manage the changing workforce and to close the talent gap, it is critical for leadership to take action. All too frequently, marketing and communications are pushed aside and not considered an important part of business development and talent acquisition. Companies that don’t change this mindset are at risk of falling behind. If not already there, invite human resources to the leadership table and ensure a talent acquisition and management strategy that includes marketing be put into place.

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979,
  2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employee Tenure Summary,

Shelly Otenbaker is the president of WayPoint Marketing Communications, a Metro Detroit-based agency that partners with small- to -medium-sized businesses to help them reach their goals through smart, well thought-out marketing strategies.

More information: 248.506.6696 or