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Three Investments to Attract and Retain Employees in the Industrial Market

New orders and backlog remain strong in the industrial market. For 22 months in a row, the Institute for Supply Management®  report was positive (57.1% in March 2022), according to the nation’s supply executives. Of 18 manufacturing industries, 10 industries reported employment growth in March.

The headwinds are no surprise: supply chain, transportation and labor force. While the first two are difficult to control, investments in employee amenities have an immediate impact. Improvements in your physical environment are something businesses can control with strategic investments in wellness, safety and building a sense of community.

Exelon Chicago Wellness Room
Fitness room, workout room
Tedesco Environmental Learning Center Pedestrian Bridge


As “maker” organizations, there is a constant push to be productive. Speed-to-market is essential for sustainable success. While great strides are made in automation, the human side should not be neglected. Today’s employees are more introspective and want more choices in their workplace. To attract and retain talent, businesses need a way to stand out from the crowd.

Innovative industrial clients make wellness a top priority. This includes onsite medical clinics to provide faster care and reduced costs for employees. Walking paths and fitness zones integrate healthy breaks throughout the day. High-quality food options, including specialty food trucks, enhanced food service and luxury, hot meals available for take-home family dinners after a long day.

Measure your return on investment with an employee engagement survey. This is typically done every 12 to 18 months to give you the pulse of the organization. Happier, more engaged employees will move the needle in measurement areas like individual engagement, motivational culture and a high-performance environment. Consider adding specific questions about wellness programs. Fostering wellness for your employees will reduce stress and health risks, helping everyone reach their full potential

Gymnasium and Tornado Shelter entrance
Broadlawns Medical Center Locker Room


When weather strikes, storm shelters give employees peace of mind. Options include building a storm shelter that can be used as a multipurpose space or reinforcing areas of your existing facility. During a remodel, consider ways to strengthen spaces to protect people from flying debris.

Replace standard doors with those tested and rated for storm shelters. Install shatter-resistant windows.  You can brace the tops of masonry walls to the roof deck and framing. Reinforce roof framing connections to walls and add grout and reinforcement to existing masonry walls. Consider a supplement or replace roof framing and replace the roof deck with a concrete-over-metal-deck system at short roof spans like corridors.

Anything to improve health and safety is the right thing to do and improves organizational performance. McKinsey Organizational Health Index (OHI) tracks thousands of companies across sectors and regions. They found that “companies with good safety records outperform their counterparts on all nine key organizational outcomes that contribute to organizational health.” These outcomes include direction, innovation, leadership, coordination, capabilities, motivation, work environment, accountability and external orientation.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Shive-Hattery Cedar Rapids Office Kitchen and Training Room


When employees build relationships and feel a sense of belonging, you are more likely to retain talent. Creating an experience at work increases engagement with an emotional connection to your culture and brand. Companies with access to land are investing in outdoor plazas, providing games like bags and disc golf. Picnic areas can generate social engagement while contributing to the wellness of employees. Your outdoor campus is a creative and inexpensive way to build amenities.

Your facilities tell your story. What people see, feel and experience is part of your brand. Your physical space should clearly communicate brand, mission, and values. Experiential graphics are an opportunity to inspire, inform and connect people to purpose. Whether it is a company’s history, mission or aspirational goals, stories bind and connect us.

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