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Tips to retaining top staff in the plastics industry

Tip on retaining top staff in plastics industryThe Plastics Industry in South Africa is considered a niche market, but this does not mean that the market is by any means small. More than 60 000 people are employed in over 1800 companies across the country, and the industry has grown by over 150% in the past 6 years. The DTI recently concluded research which showed that most of the plastics companies in existence are small to mid-sized companies which are family owned and, like any other business, do not have the resources to run without certain staff members, or to continually be hiring new employees to replace staff that voluntarily leave.

Having a high turnover of staff has many negative aspects associated to it such as it being an incredible inconvenience for business owners, it costs the company money, it slows down production, and uses many internal resources which are better spent elsewhere if staff are retained and do not need to be replaced.
Here are some tips which could be very useful for those managing businesses or HR departments in our niche plastics industry:

Offer fair compensation

Many studies have proven, no matter where staff members are in the workplace, that a salary is only part of what contributes to general job satisfaction, but it can be a deal-breaker, and also sets a precedent  for the type of employee you will be gaining. You will get what you pay for.

Value your employees’ feedback

Keeping communication channels open in a business is a hard to execute, but incredibly important task. Listening to suggestions from various levels of employees, with the view to incorporating them into the workplace as much as possible will be a good way to start. This can then be maintained by creating a method by which they can voice valid suggestions on a more regular basis.

Encourage team leaders to treat their subordinates with respect and with dignity

Many times, employees are promoted to management positions without necessarily having the best people management skills. This can create a very negative company climate as employees may not perform their best in that environment, so it is important to pay attention to the potential manager’s attitude, and to provide them with management training to be able to do their job well. Part of this is allowing employees/  subordinates to  have autonomy in their position, as it allows the pride of a well-executed project to be felt by all involved.

Train your staff

By investing in your staff through training, you are able to give them tools to not only do their jobs better, but to improve themselves as individuals. An untrained workforce can be costly and detrimental, both on a supervisory and subordinate level, as employees will have trouble executing jobs and communicating when there are problems. Trained employees feel more empowered and confident to do their jobs, and can often mean the difference between large passive capital losses and a well-oiled machine based on team work and a common foundation of knowledge.

Improve company culture

If team supervisors are spending more time shifting blame than finding solutions, there is a chance that the culture of the company could be quite negative and draining for staff members, which is a draw-back in their work environment, even if many of the other boxes are ticked. From previous research, there is an established link between a company’s culture and job retention, which indicates that increasing the positivity and pleasant nature of the corporate culture could have a direct influence on whether staff members turn over at  high rates in a particular company or not.

Part of creating a healthy company culture is to make employees feel part of a group, i.e. creating a sense of community and sincerely showing appreciation for their efforts. When your staff feel that they belong somewhere, they are more likely to stay and they will feel like they are an individual and not just a ‘number’.

Offer incentives for a well-run/executed project

The incentives given to employees do not always have to be money-based. It can mean a dinner voucher, a paid half-day additional leave, a hamper of products etc. The small gesture of appreciation goes a long way but will need to be strictly managed from the beginning so as to not become a great expense.

Hold exit interviews

This is a very important point.  By finding out the reasons why they took another job, you might find out something important about your employees’ experiences in your company and help prevent someone else leaving. Listen carefully and use worthwhile feedback to help improve your staff retention rate.

Despite incorporating many of these tips, employee retention is a tough nut to crack but is a vital aspect of the business to consider because the money spent on replacing, retraining and maintaining is the much more expensive alternative.

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