PlasticsNews
Naples, Fla. — Tom Duffey says you can’t just put a help wanted ad in the local paper to find new talent — you have to go out and find potential employees since a lot of the good people are already employed.

Duffey, president of Plastic Components Inc., a custom injection molder in Germantown, Wis., and one of the companies named as Plastics News Best Places to Work for 2016, took part in a panel discussion on the manufacturing skills gap at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples.

Duffey said the hiring process has undergone a revolution.

“When we were small, I hired people I liked. And then I subsequently fired a lot of people I liked,” he quipped. Wendi Jay, PCI’s human resources manager, has formalized the process to try and determine how prospective hires fit within the company’s culture.

“They’re satisfied, we’re satisfied and they stay,” Duffey said.

Another panelist, Lindsay Hahn, president of Metro Plastics Technology Inc., said manufacturers have to blend younger and older employees, and “get those two generations to cooperate.”

Duffey said he likes working with millennials. He brought his son, Ryan, into the business about 10 years ago.

“From that point on we have brought in a lot of very talented young people that have improved the company in ways I could not even imagine,” he said. “You give them a challenge and you get out of their way, and they get it done.”

Shelley Fasano, vice president of operations at Dymotek Corp. of Ellington, Conn., said her company created a trainer position, allowing new employees to spend three days of training before working on the factory floor. They learn about Dymotek history and plastics 101. In general, she said, classroom training should last no more than an hour, followed by getting on the equipment.

Fasano said one big motivator is a simple one: Swag. Employees love to get company T-shirts, coffee mugs and other prizes, she said.

Chase Plastics Inc., a resin distributor in Clarkston, Mich., was No. 1 in this year’s Best Places to Work list, announced at the Executive Forum. President Kevin Chase said the company starts with high expectations for its people. “You have to have high expectations and great people,” he said.