Business Matters: Nystrom Among Companies Offering Incentives to Retain Workers
Inside the Brooklyn Park campus of Nystrom Inc., Peter Nhep is one of the many employees hard at work serving the commercial building industry.
“These are all roof hatches,” Nhep explained, pointing to large metal objects. “This one is made out of steel, the rest of the mill finish ones are all aluminum.”
Nystrom creates products that are used everywhere from schools to industrial warehouses. For Nhep, a job in manufacturing felt like the perfect fit.
“I’ve always been a hands-on person,” Nhep said. “I’ve always tinkered with certain obstacles like say a bike or a skateboard.”
For this recent college grad, Nystrom has been the perfect match.
“It’s very family-oriented,” Nhep said. “Everybody is here to support each other.”
Now a four-year employee, Nhep is part of the changing face of a company that has seen remarkable growth.
“From a workforce perspective, a lot more diversity I would say in our workforce, which is really exciting and great for our business,” said Nystrom CEO Sue Thomas.
Thomas says it’s not just more diversity, but a manufacturing workforce that’s increasingly younger.
“I would say, in general, probably about 80 percent of our new employees are coming from that younger generation,” she said.
For Thomas, her focus is not only recruiting new employees, but retaining them. Offering perks like profit sharing and a so-called “super hours” plan that allows for half-day Fridays.
Nystrom even offers company trips.
“We’ve been going to a working cowboy ranch in Colorado,” Thomas said. “This year we’re actually going to one in Montana.”
Thomas says the labor force has “opened up” somewhat after the pandemic, but the demand for workers remains strong.
According to statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released on Friday, there’s still nearly 19,000 jobs unfilled in the manufacturing sector as of second quarter 2022.
Back on the production floor at Nystrom, Nhep offers words of encouragement for other younger workers like him considering a career in manufacturing.
“Come in with an open mind,” he said. “You wear a lot of hats here. You definitely become a team player.”
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