Auto Industry Secrets: 3 Ways to Recruit and Motivate Low Wage Contingent Workers

Posted by Tara Jones

3/17/16 9:00 AM

It’s not easy working for minimum wage. Workers feel like they’re at the bottom of the totem pole, and wonder why they should even bother making the effort. Take the auto industry, contingent workers on the assembly line find themselves doing the same thing, day in and day out, for little money. This is bad for both morale and productivity. Then there’s the question of how you even recruit employees in the first place, without the promise of high wages?

Here are three ways to recruit auto-manufacturing employees and motivate them to do their best, even when money is low:

1. Provide Encouragement

This is the simplest way of motivating contingent workers, and yet so many employers forget to do it. If someone does a good job, tell them. If they go above and beyond, say, “thank you” or make it known to everyone on the floor. Provide a positive environment for your workers, so that even if there’s not as much money as they’d like, they have real job satisfaction.

When you create this kind of positive working environment, others can see it. This can then help you with recruitment. If your job candidates talk to existing workers and hear that yours is a positive and encouraging place to work, they’ll want to work there as well.

2. Find the Right Incentives

You might not be able to give your contingent workers a higher salary, but what can you give them? Motivation is all about finding the right incentives. You can offer things like more time off, free lunch, or other special perks. But be sure that whatever you offer is something that will specifically appeal to your workforce. One popular option is to offer them bonuses. The auto industry lends itself to this type of motivation particularly well. Create rewards for the workers with the highest production numbers with the stipulation that the quality of their work not be sacrificed for quantity. You can also use a gainsharing system to reward the entire workforce at once. Set a goal for the number of cars to produce per month. If that goal is exceeded, everyone gets a bonus. This not only motivates increased productivity but promotes teamwork as everyone benefits together.

Simply explaining your bonus plan to candidates isn’t necessarily the best way to get people on board when recruiting. However, if you tell them about how often your workforce achieves those bonus goals, how much everyone made last time, and other personal details, it can really help stir up excitement.

3. Make Advancement a Big Deal

This is particularly helpful for retaining employees. Sure, another company might offer them an extra $0.50 per hour to do the same job. But if they leave now, they’ll have to start from the bottom again, and it will take them longer to get a promotion. Make sure you recognize when employees are putting in the extra effort, and let them know that if they keep it up, they’ll be on track for advancement. Start by putting them in charge of a particular section of production. Then maybe make them a supervisor. Perhaps they can even work their way up to plant manager with time and effort.

Make sure everyone understands the hierarchy of your company. Discuss what it will take to work their way up from the bottom, and what benefits each subsequent position carries with it. They’ll be less likely to go to another company if they know they’re getting closer to a promotion at yours.

Money isn’t everything. There are plenty of reasons to come to a company that pays minimum wage, and plenty of reasons to stay there and work your hardest. If you can show your employees those reasons, your auto manufacturing plant is sure to thrive.


Topics: Workforce Management, Human Resources