Mazak Puts the Strategy in Strategic Workforce Development

Each month 3 to 4.5 million employees quit their jobs, which costs their employers about 33% of the worker’s annual salary to replace them. Fortunately, the bulk of the reasons for such employee turnover is preventable when companies take a truly strategic approach to their workforce development programs.

In taking just such an approach here at Mazak, we revamped our workforce development program by first focusing on some key aspects. Those included job descriptions, compensation and business vulnerabilities along with our efforts in recruitment and retention.

In evaluating job descriptions, the key is to determine the necessary skills and talents needed for each position as well as any necessary training, then focus on the individual employee. When doing so, the goal is to also identify future potential leaders within company.

Part of our planning was not only to look at succession, but also to realize business vulnerabilities per each department. These can include things like age, lack of talent and how to overcome them. This then leads to what actions have already been taken, if any, and what actions will be planned and executed.

Not taking a strategic approach is like plugging a hole in a dam as opposed to evaluating the whole dam to find out why the hole developed and how to prevent others from developing. You have to ask where are the weaknesses and where do we need to reinforce.

Our strategy, when it came to compensation, was simple and straight forward. We wanted compensation packages that were competitive and would attract new talent as well, and we wanted to position Mazak as a company that doesn’t just offer a job, it offers a career. In a nutshell, we evaluated the pay structure per each position to make sure it was fair across the board and was an accurate representation of the skills and knowledge needed for that position.  

When it came to employee recruitment, we stepped our job posting efforts, casting a larger net to target key potential candidate pools such as military veterans. To retain those individuals once hired, our strategy includes programs and opportunities that will provide both job satisfaction and opportunities for advancement. These include training, tuition assistance, our leadership programs, work schedule flexibility and job rotation.

Last year we filled 135 employment requisitions –  some were promotional opportunities – as result of our recruitment and retention efforts as well as the rest of our strategic workforce development plan.

During Covid, we didn’t lay off any employees, but we also didn’t hire a new employees. Then business picked up fast with surging customer demand. So we had to go into a heavy recruiting mode to gain the manpower to keep pace. We successfully got the workforce to a level that was needed through internal promotions and new hires, many of which included military veterans.

At Mazak, we credit veterans as essential to our ongoing hiring efforts and our ability to move past the skills gap that challenges companies throughout the manufacturing industry. With 18 new veteran hires in 2021, the our staff now includes 87 veterans in departments ranging from field service and parts to production and purchasing.

In part two of this workforce blog series, we’ll delve deeper into the key focus areas of our plan and discuss the specific strategies we implemented within each. Keep an eye out for it on

About Mazak Corporation

Mazak Corporation is a leader in the design and manufacture of productive machine tool solutions. Committed to being a partner to customers with innovative technology, its world-class facility in Florence, Kentucky, produces over 100 models of turning centers, Multi-Tasking machines and vertical machining centers, including 5- axis models. Continuously investing in manufacturing technology allows the Kentucky Mazak iSMART Factory™ to be the most advanced and efficient in the industry, providing high-quality and reliable products through its “Production-On-Demand” practice. Mazak maintains eight Technology Centers across North America to provide local hands-on applications, service and sales support to customers. For more information on Mazak's products and solutions, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.