When Talent is Tight, How Can Manufacturers Find Qualified Employees?

Today, a hiring “perfect storm” confronts the manufacturing sector. The booming U.S. economy has generated hundreds 19-LB-558 Whitepaper1 Photo


thousands of new manufacturing positions that must be filled. Yet, for a variety of reasons, it’s tougher than ever for manufacturers to locate qualified workers.

In 2018, the U.S. economy added 264,00
0 new jobs in manufacturing. That brought the total number of manufacturing jobs in the country to 12.84 million. It was the eighth straight year that the number of manufacturing jobs increased. This string followed a streak of 12 years of decreasing job numbers.


Crying need

Unfortunately for the nation's manufacturing companies, finding qualified workers to fill those positions has proven exceptionally difficult. One individual who understands that better than most is Steven Pagliuzza, who reports “there is a crying need for well-trained employees” in manufacturing.

The president and CEO of Addison, Ill.-based Dial Tool Industries, Pagliuzza struggles to staff his plant with qualified, experienced employees. The task is not easy, he says. He must strive mightily and display ingenuity to add skilled workers to the payroll.

“In this job market, I can’t imagine why any tool and die maker or mold maker would not be able to find a job,” he says.

Several factors account for the shortage in qualified manufacturing workers. First, the huge Baby Boomer cohort reaching retirement age has started to leave the workforce. Manufacturing workers are among those Boomers retiring.

Second, though the manufacturing industry has savored growth it hadn’t witnessed in decades, there’s been no corresponding surge in numbers of young people entering the field, nor training programs equipped to train them.

A compelling reason for the shortfalls: The dozen years of declining manufacturing jobs mentioned above. “Around the turn of the century, high schools had to cut back on shop programs,” Pagliuzza says. “Precision machining, wood working, electrical, they all had to be cut because no one was signing up for them, and programs are expensive. You actually must have the equipment in the room to be able to train the students.”


Secrets to hiring

Pagliuzza has identified two keys to staff in tight labor markets. Adopting apprentice and training programs that continually turn out skilled workers represents one.

Dial Tool Industries' apprentice program features five years of on-the-job paid training, along with three concurrent years of classroom training through the Technology and Manufacturing Association, TMA. “We like to keep two apprentices in our facility, one just starting out and the other just finishing up,” Pagliuzza says. “We also have two-year training programs in molding and punch press set-up.”

Apprentices and trainees are recruited from area high schools, as well as local community colleges. “Some students do not want to go to college,” Pagliuzza says.

“They're better off in an apprentice program. We train them right here on the job. If they want to learn, we have the facilities and resources to train them.”

Recruiting from within exists as a second strategy, one Dial Tool Industries invariably attempts to employ, Pagliuzza says. “We have people come in to the company in another area, and then say, 'I'd like to learn to work the punch press,'” he reports.

“And we'll train them on that. We like to recruit from within – all companies do – because we know the people we're recruiting, and they of course know our processes.”


Additional hiring tips

Leverage strong social media networks. If seeking younger workers with years to give your company, social media channels have emerged as a natural choice. LinkedIn and Facebook feature groups focused entirely on the manufacturing sector. Developing a strong social media network of brand evangelists can help attract would-be recruits.

Make applying easy. Savvy manufacturers ensure the hiring process remains as easy and streamlined as possible. That means making applying as simple as picking up a smart phone or tablet to apply online.

Invest in employees. Creating employee development programs and maintaining competitive pay and benefits packages attract capable candidates to your company.


Hiring qualified workers in the manufacturing sector has never been more daunting. But Pagliuzza and others have shown with the right strategies, it can be done. 


Located at 2001 York Road in Oak Brook, Leaders Bank is a premier community commercial bank catering to private business owners, their families and other entrepreneurs. Leaders Bank offers a full spectrum of traditional and customized banking services, Internet-based banking, and online bill payment. To contact Leaders Bank, call (630) 572-5323 or visit www.leadersbank.com.

3 Deadly Sins That Make Financial Data Vulnerable to Hackers

One of the greatest threats to companies these days is their vulnerability to cyberattacks from hackers.  And it’s no longer exclusively large companies at risk. Even small and medium-sized companies are targets these days, with an average loss of $2.2 million.

IStock-467163236As devastating as these losses can be, they pale in comparison with the impact resulting from loss of clientele and reputation. Companies are legally mandated to disclose data breaches to each customer affected.  Research indicates up to 60% of small businesses that are breached shut down within 6 months.  

Several “deadly sins” can help make it far more likely hackers will succeed when launching cyberattacks on companies' financial data.  To sharply reduce those odds, avoid the following errors committed inside large and small companies.

  • Phishing attacks. Almost 7 in 10 IT directors report phishing and other malicious email attacks get past spam filters. More than a quarter of company officials have fallen for malicious emails. Lesson: train users in spotting and avoiding phishing and scam emails.
  • Unprotected smartphones. Mobile devices are lost all the time. Yet seven in 10 people fail to password protect their smartphones. And nine in 10 finders of lost smartphones look into the phones for sensitive data. Lesson: Password protect.
  • Beware the Wi-Fi. The number of Wi-Fi deployments across the country grows yearly, and many are subject to malware designed to ensnare travelers. Yet less than one in five (18 percent) take proper precautions when using public Wi-Fi. Lesson: Use VPN tools when accessing public Wi-Fi.

Small to medium-sized companies face extreme danger from cyberattacks, up to and including going out of business. Given that danger, doesn't it make sense to learn as much as possible about how to avoid deadly sins that lead to data breaches?

Ask about our complimentary 45-minute data breach seminar. You and your employees can gain valuable techniques to guard against costly data breaches.

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Keep Key Employees during a Merger/Acquisition

Many companies involved in mergers and acquisitions offer retention bonuses to key employees to ensure they stay put.  But consultancy McKinsey & Company has learned many would have stayed without bonuses. A better approach? Customizing packages of financial and non-monetary incentives to each crucial staffer’s goals. A European firm using this strategy slashed its former cash-based retention budget by 75 percent. IStock-695603474

It’s natural for key employees to feel fearful after a merger or acquisition. It’s also natural for them to consider taking their talents elsewhere. A study two years ago found just 45 percent of companies successfully retained employees through a transition. To help ensure your organization fares better, focus on the following strategies.

  • Don’t rush the process. Taking time to understand the corporate culture, values and talent base of the other company helps in retaining key employees. Why are the other company’s employees happy with their job situations? What makes the company successful? These are keys to creating a retention strategy.
  • Communicate clearly. Open lines of communication are critical to building trust among key employees in the conjoined team. Broadly conveying your company philosophy and goals represents one step, and meeting one on one to communicate on a personal level with important staff about their concerns is another.
  • Identify cultural similarities, differences. Where do the two companies find common ground? Where are the important differences that must be bridged? Knowing the similarities and differences can help you avoid key staff defections.
  • Invest in your employees. Career development initiatives reflective of the newly-constituted company’s goals impart a message to critical staff that the company cares about their professional growth and wants them to stay.

A cohesive, well-orchestrated blueprint for the transition, and full participation by the united HR team in making the transition work can help companies overcome talent defections following a merger or acquisition.

How has your company managed to keep employees during mergers and acquisitions?

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Evaluating Community Banks? See What Their Customers Have to Say

Are you considering taking your company’s banking business to a community bank? If so, you’ll need to weigh a number of

considerations about the bank before making that move. Don’t overlook one of the most important criteria. That of course is
how current customers view – and what they say about -- the quality of service they receive.

IStock-517491962Banks differ widely in their levels of personal service, from standpoints of both one-to-one personal attention and technological capabilities. No one is better equipped to discuss those service levels than their own business customers. Those customers can speak from personal experience about lending ease, attention to detail and business banker accessibility, experience and expertise, among other criteria.

Here are three best practices you can use to determine how current customers view a bank’s service.

  • Review customer testimonials. Many community banks have a testimonial page featuring customer comments about the bank and its services. For instance, on Leaders Bank’s Testimonials page, one customer lauds the bank for its “level of attention and personal service,” another for “always-personal contact.”
  • Network with current customers. It’s likely you’ll meet current customers of the bank at regular meetings of the local chamber of commerce or other business organizations. Don’t hesitate to ask these customers how well the bank measures up on various yardsticks, including loan availability, mobile banking services, knowledge of the local business environment and simple friendliness.
  • Call current customers. Many banks list some of their more prominent business customers on their websites. Call these customers, ask if they can spare a couple minutes and directly ask if their bank’s service meets their expectations.

In addition to other measuring sticks you use, the views of a bank’s current customer base offer essential insights. Seek these expert views early, to aid in your evaluation.

What methods do you find helpful in evaluating community banks? 

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Show Customers Appreciation with Warm, Friendly Holiday Traditions

One Ontario, Canada home supply products company conceived an inventive approach to remembering customers each holiday season. The company gives favored wholesaler and contractor customers business tools they know will not only be used, but will remind them of the gift giver. One season, the company provided an iPad featuring installed programs likely to help in the wholesalers’ and contractors’ businesses. The tool makes recipients’ day-to-day operations easier, while reinforcing their brand loyalty. 18-LB-563 stock photo

As this example shows, signaling appreciation to customers with friendly holiday traditions remains important. Just as key: Really thinking about how the gift or gesture can have lasting, post-holiday significance.  Consider some of the following ideas.

  • Holiday direct mail. Send a holiday-oriented direct mail piece to thank customers for their business.  It might be a discount off a purchase or offer redeemable in the New Year. It’s a holiday greeting, an advertisement and a business promotion, all in one.
  • One for the books. Each year, your customers work on growing their companies and make them more profitable. Every year, business books debut that provide excellent guidance in doing precisely that. Pick one from the best-reviewed titles, include a personal holiday message in the fly leaf and send to customers with your compliments.
  • Brand your gift. Customers love free items, and could even love them more when your brand’s logo is discreetly sewn onto the gift. A holiday gift of a warm item of clothing such as a cap or scarf is always appreciated. And each time your customers don the items, your logo will remind them of the giver.

Keep your theme consistent year after year, and you may find customers will look forward to your warm, friendly holiday tradition as much as they do egg nog, sleigh rides and tree trimming.

What is the most memorable holiday tradition with customers that you recall? 

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Sneak Preview of 2019 Commercial Loan Trends

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Next year, your company may need a commercial loan for a new facility or equipment, expanding inventory, or possibly a lucrative growth opportunity. You’ll have many options including large multi-national banks, as well as local banks with deep roots in the communities they serve. 


Before you make that important decision, keep in mind that in the most recent bank customer satisfaction survey, community banks gained the highest scores.  The following trends will also influence small and mid-size companies’ borrowing decisions in 2019.

·         Both mid-size and small companies have become increasingly disenchanted with multi-national banks’ impersonal nature. Result: They are seeking alternatives such as progressive community banks which place a strong emphasis on personal banking relationships. The banks’ decision makers live in the same community as their customers, and focus their attention on meeting local needs.

·         In this digital age, large multi-national banks’ substantial bricks-and-mortar presence carries less weight than it once did. Most community banks possess the mobile capabilities and digital banking prowess of their larger brethren. In addition, they provide a high level of responsiveness, transparency and local commitment.

·         While big and small banks have both grown their percentages of loan applications approved, look for small banks to approve a higher percentage of applicants in 2019. Big banks currently grant new business loans to about 25.3 percent of small business applicants; small banks approve about 49.1 percent. 

In today’s expanding business climate, you can expect proactive companies to take advantage of these trends to maximize growth in the upcoming year.

What business goals will drive your quest for commercial loans in 2019?

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·         What’s the Best Debt-Equity Ratio for Your Company?

·         The Commercial Loan Term Sheet: An Important Step Before Getting a Loan

·         Debt Ratio’s Crucial Role in Landing Business Loans

How to Forge Rewarding Relationships with Your Community

Providing good products or services was once all B2B companies needed do to earn the respect of their local 18-LB-561 stock photo

business communities.  Today, that’s no longer sufficient. In this era, companies are expected to engage in business-oriented outreach that enhances the business and economic climate in the communities where they operate. Tackling causes at the grassroots level can deliver a timely and substantive business payback.

B2B companies may strive to help “at risk” teen-agers gain skills they need to find jobs. They may pitch in to help revitalize and beautify their area’s central business district. They may partner with non-profit groups addressing environmental issues impacting the area’s desirability as a place to do business. Here are several ways to cultivate a rewarding relationship with your community that helps you gain business customers.

  • Build mutually-beneficial relationships with the companies comprising your customer base. Sound out their leaders on local issues of concern to the business community, while sharing your sensitivity to community concerns.
  • Design your own company program aimed at tackling community issues. It may involve volunteerism from your team, or a collaboration between your company and a not-for-profit partner. Its objective should be to boost the business climate for all companies, and also align with your company’s own business strategy.
  • Make the initiative a central component of your company culture, one that’s part of business decisions. Reward employee participation and volunteerism. Create metrics to help gauge the program’s success and fine tune its ongoing progress.

Establishing and cultivating a rapport with your community from a business standpoint can result in a true “win-win.” It can build a stronger, more vibrant business climate for all companies in your community. At the same time, it can help your company gain the respect, trust and patronage of the very B2B customers and prospects it avidly targets.

What’s your company’s approach to business-oriented outreach in its community? 

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Why Start Now on 2019 Business Planning?

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According to business statistics, only one company in two stays in existence five years, and just one in three remains operational 10 years. The failure to plan ahead for business growth remains a prime reason for failure.  In contrast to basic business plans, growth plans examine opportunities for new business or expansion. A growth plan may, among other goals, explore ways to expand facilities, add equipment or acquire resources to meet increasing demand.

It's not always easy to create growth plans while attending to all the responsibilities of a business owner or CEO. But beating the competition requires grabbing a headstart on growth planning, such as starting to plan now for 2019.  Here are several steps to help you begin.

  • Examine revenue sources. Look at your current revenue streams and determine which additional ones you could add to make 2019 more profitable. Focus on new-revenue-building strategies that are sustainable over time, as opposed to short-lived.
  • Align with your community bank. Because your community bank works closely with you throughout the year, it can help you plan now for growth in 2019. The bank can play an advisory or mentoring role to assist in pinpointing growth opportunities and ensuring your company is prepared to take full advantage.
  • Select opportunities carefully. By starting early on your business growth plan for 2019, you will have the time to carefully sift through available opportunities to select the ones best suited to your company. This selection process is essential, because taking on too many growth opportunities can leave company resources overextended.

As in any other areas of business, starting early and getting a jump on rivals is imperative. Your early planning for 2019 can set the stage for proactive growth planning – and subsequent robust growth – in the years to come.


What areas will you focus on in this year's business growth planning?


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How Millennials’ Money Views Can Impact Your Business

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Some employers are convinced Millennials view money differently than their older counterparts. There’s strong evidence to support this belief. To a greater extent than earlier generations, Millennials appear to be more motivated by purpose than money or material goods. They may be content to earn less income and own fewer possessions, if that means they can live according to values deeply important to them.

Since Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the USA (Pew Research Center), smart employers keep these divergent views about money in mind when shaping their workplace culture, and when approaching compensation, benefits and 401k plans.   

  • According to a recent Fidelity study, Millennial workers will sacrifice an average $7,600 in yearly compensation, provided it enhances their career development, allows them to gain more purposeful employment, enables them to find a better corporate culture or lets them realize greater work-life balance.
  • When asked whether financial gain or a better quality work life would spur them to accept a new job offer, almost 6 in 10 (58 percent) Millennials surveyed by Fidelity preferred better work life. Many were attracted more to work settings promoting personal growth and well-being than they were to money.
  • Millennials also place a high value on vacation time. In fact, they’re three times likelier than older workers to justify large expenditures when they result in enjoyable memories, according to a Merrill Lynch study.
  • If financial planning is an indication, Millennials may be more likely to focus on details of employers’ 401k plans. Schwab found 34 percent of Millennials have written financial plans, vis-à-vis 21 and 18 percent for GenXers and Boomers.

It pays to recognize millennials’ distinctive perspectives on money. The more companies understand those views, the better able they will be to attract, retain and gain the most from Millennial employees.

What’s the most valuable insight you’ve recognized about Millennial’s monetary views?

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Community Banks Help Students Improve Their Financial Literacy

More than a decade ago, a Montecito, Calif. community bank began participating in a yearly tradition called Teach Children to Save Day. In partnership with schools, the institution helps ground pupils in money-saving habits. The bank later built on this success, launching a new year-round program called Banking on Our Youth.  The bank tea18-LB-556 blog photoms with schools and area non-profits to present economics and marketing classes, a Get Smart About Credit program, and bilingual instruction for parents.

This serves as but one example of community banks nationwide “going the extra mile” to help grade and high school students begin preparing for the increasingly complex financial world they will enter. Those efforts pay off. In two Arizona towns, a bank's financial literacy work helped student assessment test scores soar 70 percent.

Here are four additional examples of community banks teaming with area schools and other stakeholders to enhance the financial literacy of today’s youth. 

  • Allison Bartels, compliance officer at Leaders Bank in Oak Brook, Ill., teaches money management fundamentals, including saving, banking and budgeting for the future to students at many Chicago-area schools.
  • CCB Community Bank in Andalusia, Ala. has brought an online financial literacy program to area grade and high schools. Called Bonzai, the program replicates a video game, delivering budgeting and saving lessons in fun, interactive ways.
  • Nicholl Doggett, AVP Mortgage Lending at Leaders Bank, works with the organization Empowerment through Education and Exposure (EEE) to help Chicago high school students better grasp concepts like loans, types of bank accounts and the reasons for saving money.
  • Massachusetts-based Blue Hills Bank produced a musical play that travels to area K-5 classrooms, teaching kids about sticking to a money management plan.

By imparting financial skills to grade and high school youngsters today, community banks are helping forge a more financially literate society for tomorrow.

What one financial skill do you wish you had mastered back in grade or high school?

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