Rising Above the Rest: Using Data to Drive Decisions, Not Our Bottom-Line


Keep reading to learn how MAU was able to support the client in achieving their goals while overcoming the multi-vendor competition and rising above.

After decades of service, MAU continues to strive for a greater and greater customer experience. In the increasingly competitive market of the 2020s, the needs of our clients have shifted. Consultation and problem solving have always been an aspect of the business, but now more than ever, businesses are searching for innovative solutions and trustworthy partners to help them overcome their specific challenges.

With crises like the semiconductor chip shortage, the Great Resignation, and supply chain disruptions, it’s been a main priority to stay on top of the market changes and trends to serve our customers best. This means conducting thorough research, communicating with industry experts, and compiling concrete data to ensure our agile solutions are relevant today and long into the future.

This applies not only to new clients but to our longer-term partnerships. Some relationships have traditionally begun with filling their pipeline or supplying an onsite team, but they’ve taken on a much more symbiotic, strategic-partnership structure as their needs and the market evolved.

One of our favorite examples of this evolution is a client we’ve worked with for nearly a decade that manufactures machinery. Our strong customer service skills and unique data-driven approach helped this client boost retention, fill their pipeline, improve work-life balance, and grow the business in a competitive market. MAU’s experts used tools like the Flexible Work Survey and wage data to inform decision-making and usher in positive change.

The Story

MAU’s partnership with this client kicked off in 2015. We were brought in as one of two suppliers in the region, focusing specifically on the night shift at one facility. The other supplier just wasn’t cutting it despite being a more tenured partner, and after only 3 months, MAU began out-performing the competitor.

The partnership grew organically as MAU consistently exceeded expectations. We started with just 100 workers, and now we’ve surpassed 800 workers onsite.

According to the client, what set us apart was our high level of customer service and constant engagement, as well as our strong, well-organized internal structure. They value our perseverance through unexpected obstacles like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, supply-chain disruption, and more, as well as our drive to find a solution at all costs. Additionally, our transparent and data-driven approach to making decisions gave our clients confidence in the solutions we provided and our overall value as a partner. This trust enabled MAU to build and maintain strong relationships with the leadership and workers at the plant for nearly a decade, resulting in a more harmonious, uplifting workplace.

Breaking Down their Pain Points

This client’s primary pain points will likely sound familiar: vacant roles, an empty talent pipeline, high turnover due to work-life balance and wage issues, supply chain disruptions, and general pandemic-related mayhem. These are all issues that the majority of business leaders are grappling with, and none of them are easily solved.

One of the client’s primary issues was filling jobs. They had way too many vacant roles and no talent lined up to fill them. According to a survey conducted by the Manufacturing Institute, 92.9% of respondents had unfilled positions within their companies for which they were struggling to find qualified applicants. In March 2021, there were 860,000 manufacturing job openings, and over the past 12 months, monthly job openings in the sector have averaged nearly 865,000, including the record 943,000 in July. For every 100 job openings in the U.S. economy, there are just 51.5 unemployed workers to fill those roles potentially. All this information points to a much larger problem that goes beyond just the client; however, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing the client can implement today to overcome the labor shortage.

The labor shortage was compounded by the Great Resignation and high turnover rates. Not only were they struggling to full rolls, but they were also struggling to keep roles filled. Turnover reached a high of 20%. Employees complained of poor work-life balance and insufficient compensation, prompting them to look for work elsewhere. According to MAU’s Flexible Work Survey, 42% of respondents cited “Time with My Family” as the most valuable when it comes to work, with “Work/Life Balance” right behind it at 26.02%, indicating the work-life balance and adequate time -off is extremely important to workers.

In 2021, voluntary turnover surpassed the previous record of 2.4% (set in January 2001), when the quit rate hit 2.8%. The current record is 3%, first reached in November 2021 and matched in December 2021. Moreover, total quits in the manufacturing sector rose from 345,000 in February to 360,000 in March, a new record and 2.8% of the manufacturing workforce.

Our team worked hard to understand the changing needs of our client’s workforce and then responded with a series of initiatives that addressed those concerns. We helped this client identify their talent crisis’s root causes and create a data-driven change process.

Providing Solutions

Our experts went in with the “no silver-bullet” approach and opted for incremental change over time to build a better, more agile system rather than funnel people into the old, dysfunctional process. Some of these changes included establishing a more competitive pay scale, fighting for improved work-life balance, and creating more conversion opportunities.

One of the primary reasons behind the success of our solutions was our data-driven approach. Our experts used numerous research tools like MAU’s Flexible Work Survey, market wage research, and competitor wage research to inform their recommendations and process changes.


The Flexible Work Survey

In early 2022, MAU pulled together a cross-functional team from across the organization to design a “Flexible Work Survey” that could be distributed to a subset of candidates* from MAU’s Applicant Tracking System totaling just under 194,000 potential participants. The team developed a series of questions based on researched trends in the market and the issues being presented by MAU’s clients in the hopes of uncovering what exactly workers prioritized when it came to their work today and why.

*Since most of MAU’s clients fall within the manufacturing industry, the distribution group was heavily skewed to a workforce familiar with and/or open to working within a manufacturing or industrial environment.

Comprehensive Wage Research

To better support our clients, MAU stays on top of shifting wages through detailed research efforts and maintaining an internal database of wages captured in real-time within the market. Using this collected data, MAU team members are able to provide our clients with up-to-date wage information based on job title, experience, location, specific skill sets, and more to ensure everyone is right on target, or even ahead, of the market rate.

Our data-driven approach to solutions not only ensured our success but enabled us to build a solid partnership on a foundation of trust, expertise, and reliability.


Looking Ahead

As the partnership with the client continues, MAU will support its market growth and expansion. We successfully established ourselves as a strategic partner and an integral part of their growth

Our work with this client was truly transformational. At MAU, we believe that the people who lead your organization need to be able to focus on their most important tasks: building a great brand and team. Our methods can help them do just that.

We grow and evolve together.