Recruitment and Retention: Ideas from Other Processors

by Dianna Brodine, vice president, editorial, Plastics Business

At a recent MAPP plant tour event, a room filled with plastics processing professionals from around the US discussed the struggles their plants are facing with recruitment and retention – and then shared their strategies. This list is a quick glimpse into the creative ideas being utilized today to solve one of the biggest problems facing the plastics industry.


  • Create recruiting cards in a business-card format that include a QR code linking to an employment application. Employees who hand out cards that result in interviews receive a bonus.
  • Print beverage coasters with job advertisements and information about the company. Ask local bars and restaurants to use them to generate interest from patrons.
  • Build incentives around recruitment by offering additional paid time off (PTO) or travel vouches for current employees who bring in new employees.
  • Run a radio advertising campaign targeting a variety of music genres, with ads scheduled during traditional shift change times.
  • Develop a co-op of businesses to share interviewees. An individual who might not be a fit for one business could be a fit for another.


  • Gamify the work environment. Choose measurable benchmarks (cycle time, changeovers, etc) and designate teams that can participate in a friendly competition. Provide incentives to the winning team.
  • Provide bonus PTO hours for attendance, such as an additional four hours per month for working all assigned shifts.
  • Pay employees’ cellphone bills as part of their hiring benefits package.
  • Set up a rideshare program for employees from other areas to make it easier to get to work.
  • Rethink shift length – for instance, offer four 10-hour shifts rather than five 8-hour shifts – to offer flexibility.