Steps can be taken to reduce the costs and productivity loss resulting from turnover of maquiladora workers at the operator level.</2>

Many individuals in Mexico arrive at the US-Mexico border region from points further south with their families, or on their own, to seek employment in the many factories that are found there. Because the need to gain employment is a pressing one for these new border residents, not only is attracting job candidates to fill direct labor positions in the maquiladoras important for HR personnel, but, also, the retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level is critical once the hiring has been done.

Although turnover in lower level jobs can some times be elevated, taking certain ideas into account, and implementing them, can save companies expenses related to job rotation and the need to provide training to constantly changing personnel. Retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level is achievable by putting the focus on people. Understanding Mexico’s culture, its laws and  its values, helps employers to know how to create an environment that induces individuals to stay satisfied and in place.

Retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level is often best served by making certain that several things are  clearly ocmmunicated during the hiring process.

Among them are the following:

  • Maquiladora HR staff should be certain to provide adequate information concerning the goods being manufactured at the plant at which the job candidate is making application. Additonally, HR should make sure that the prospective employee understands what the job he or she is being considered for entails, i.e., is it a standing or a sitting job? What shifts are available? Is overtime mandatory?
  • Job candidates should be informed of what their daily salary will be. Mexican minimum wage is expressed in terms of a daily wage, not in hourly terms as is the case in the United States. Also, potential employees should know what bonuses are available that can augment their daily salary. In addition to rewards for productivity, is a bonus awarded for attendance to discourage absenteeism?
  • Hiring parties should make absolutely certain to confirm that what has been communicated to prospective employees has been understood. In Mexico, cultural factors determine that better feedback will be obtained by a human resources staff member asking “Did I explain myself clearly?” than asking “Have you understood what I’ve said?”

Once new hires come on board, there are several things that can be done to increase the probability of greater retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level. For instance:

  • As is the case any where in the world, money is a strong motivator. Organizations that pay more than those competing for the same labor have a tendency to hold on to their workers for longer periods than those on the lower end of the pay scale. Mexican workers take pride in their work, as well as in the fact that pay increases for them come as a result of greater productivity, rather than through the  application of generic formulas that are based solely on seniority considerations. Those that work harder should be paid more.
  • Employees respond to the quality of the leadership that supervises and guides their efforts. Companies that invest in training supervisors in management skills and best practices are typically more successful, when it comes to the retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level.
  • Internal promotion, followed through on as often as possible, is a positive inducement for workers to stay put. Seeing others being rewarded for good work by receiving opportunities to rise through the company ranks demonstrates to operator level maquiladora workers that hard work,productivity, discipline and dedication pay off. This instills the hope that by demonstrating the same qualities, they too can move up their company’s “;ladder.”
  • Rules and regulations should be applied in a consistent manner by well-trained managers and supervisors. It is counterproductive to efforts to maximize the retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level to mete out justice in a piecemeal, incoherent fashion. Rules governing workplace issues such as shifts and schedules, bonuses, overtime compensation, etc. should be clearly defined and coherently applied,  and communicated to all members of the workforce.
  • Mexican workers, like others, appreciate being positively singled out and recognized for the quality of their work, and their dedication to the achievement of organizational objectives.  Companies that succeed in the retention of maquiladora workers at the operator level understand this, and have programs in place that provide opportunities to recognize workers for their positive contribution to the company’ssuccess on a regular basis. Being recognized for a job well done in front of one’s peers constitutes another reason to stay with current employers.

Photo credits: ChrisDag