LAS VEGAS - The United States is currently facing the lowest levels of unemployment since 1969. As unemployment decreases, voluntary turnover increases. On Saturday, Sept. 7, IBIE attendees were able to learn from Talia Bender, senior talent management consultant with Retensa, about strategies to navigate today’s workforce challenges. They also were able to work together in an interactive environment to create actionable plans for their businesses.

Retensa figures show that 800,000 to 900,000 people work in the baking industry and that 78% of baking companies report a shortage of employees. Ms. Bender said studies show there will be 15% to 20% more job openings in the industry by 2025. Ms. Bender said that in today’s competitive environment, most often, it is the top talent that resigns, not the low performing staff. She challenged the industry to be able to identify employees with “one foot out the door” and create a strategy to retain the high. An aging workforce and shifts in technology make attraction and retention in the baking industry even more critical and challenging, she said. To know the true costs of high turnover, Ms. Bender presented the session’s attendees with a formula to define the overall cost to the business.

“Most people underestimate how much is spent on an empty position from loss of production, to paying someone else overtime to the cost of training a replacement,” she said. “Even if turnover can be reduced by a couple percentage points, that has a big difference on the bottom line.”

She outlined five of the biggest attractors to companies across manufacturing. The top five include training and development programs, work-life balance, location and commute, benefits and type of industry. The top reasons why people stay at their jobs, according to Retensa, is peers, company reputation, location, benefits, and supervisors or managers.

The top detractors for workers across manufacturing are compensation, lack of career advancement, lack of work-life balance, communication and absence of leadership.

“People think turnover is always going to be a problem, especially in manufacturing,” she said. “While there is some truth to that, it is something we can slowly improve.”

For more information on Retensa’s employee retention model, visit