4 tips for hiring and retaining high-quality CNC operators

For the average business, finding the right employees can be tricky. Sometimes keeping them on your payroll can be even trickier – especially when the role requires a high level of both physical and digital expertise.

Months can pass by before you’re confident that the right candidate fits the role. That’s a long time in production terms -– and if there’s no one to man the machines, revenue can take a hit. Even in the highly automated world of modern manufacturing,it’s necessary to have quality employees on staff.

There are ways to minimise payroll problems, and we’re happy to share them with you. Put these tips into play and you might just avoid paying more than you bargained for!

1. Pay your CNC operator well

This might sound like a no-brainer, but if it weren’t worth mentioning, we wouldn’t have put it first on the list. The fact is that if you don’t pay your main man well, they’ll go to someone who will. That could cost you a great deal -– even your business in some cases. As for having to find a replacement in the current workforce climate? It’s just not worth it.

2. Choose a candidate with both mechanical and programming experience

The jump from analogue to digital has undoubtedly made manufacturing more productive. But there is a downside. Being divorced from the nuts-and-bolts of machinery means there’s a gap in experience, which shows on the factory floor. 

The divide becomes troublesome when problems with complex equipment present themselves. For example, candidates who lack hands-on, practical experience often struggle with identifying early-stage issues with the machinery. 

Gary Middleton, our most experienced technician, has been in the field for over 40 years and has a thing or two to say about the state of today’s industry…

“Younger ones today are very good with technology and pick up the software very easily. But the ones I’ve come across aren’t very analytical -– they don’t seem to analyse the problem. Doing that could involve anything from using screwdrivers or hands to diagnose the issue. I used to say with people I was working with that when you walk into the workshop, you need to be in tune with the building. You need to be able to hear the sounds, feel the vibrations, and know what’s going on straight away.”

It’s no wonder then, that directors are looking to work with talent from parts of the world which still have a thriving mechanical industry?

3. Delegate responsibilities

We’ll let you in on a little secret to guarantee success. When you hire the right people, give them clearly defined responsibilities, then grant them the autonomy to get work done. 

The secret lies in acknowledging employees’ gifts, and then helping them express these through work. Admittedly, it’s not something that’s done easily. Our Managing Director Pierre Sullivan spends hours at a time interviewing potential Innovync team members. The time invested is well worth it, as you’ll know if you meet our team.

4. Take your employees out of their comfort zone

Keeping your operator happy doesn’t just revolve around paying them handsomely. If they’re worth the money, they’ll seek progress and growth within the role. 

One way to do this is to train operators on multiple CNC machines. Once they’ve mastered the first CNC, get them out of their comfort zone by introducing a second, third, or fourth. Mix things up where practical, then watch what happens. 

It will take time for staff members to become attuned to specific functions, sounds, and systems. Waterjets function in an entirely different way to bridge saws, and the learning curve fluctuates from model to model. After a while, your operators will be able to recognise the sounds and vibrations -– and if they follow Gary’s old-school methodology, problems can be stopped before they fully arise.

What’s more, you’ll also enjoy the added benefit of someone around to monitor the machinery. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Think your operators are up for the challenge? Get in touch with us to book in for a training session -– either in person or online.