As of May 2022, the manufacturing sectors employ 12.77 million workers. With this said, employment in the manufacturing industry has a tremendous impact on the economy.
Recent statistics reveal that, in manufacturing, for every $1.00 spent, the economy has a total impact of $2.68. Based on data for the 4th quarter of 2021, manufacturers contribute to the United States economy $2.71 trillion annually.
While making such a positive impact, HR teams in manufacturing face their own unique challenges. The good news is with a little education and the help of technology, we can overcome these challenges and create lasting solutions.
Keep reading as we shed some light on the good and the bad employment trends in manufacturing that are affecting human resources, manufacturing employees, and the economy in a big way.
HR Challenges in the Manufacturing IndustryOnce you understand what the specific challenges are for HR professionals and their teams in manufacturing, then you can decipher solutions. The biggest challenges include:
- Shortage of talent
- Hiring the right talent
- Minimizing injuries
- Communication barriers
- Physical and mental overload
- Performance evaluations
- Retaining manufacturing employees
- Keeping employees up to date with skills and new technology
- And the list continues…
While the challenges just mentioned may not come as a surprise to HR professionals that are working for organizations in manufacturing, it does not mean that these challenges come without an abundance of opportunity.
There are many strategies and methods that can help you overcome these obstacles, as you will read here.
Employees in the Manufacturing Industry
Workday recently found that the employee engagement rate for the manufacturing sector is hovering around 34%, which across all industries, is one of the lowest in terms of engagement.
Further, the perception of job seekers in the manufacturing industry is that it looks unattractive. Many people from younger generations of job seekers see manufacturing as “dated.” Perhaps this is due to a lack in exposure to truly understand the opportunities and benefits that the industry brings to the table.
However, being employed in this field can also come with some high risk of a physical injury that you wouldn’t see elsewhere.
What this has led to is a disconnect between perception and reality. The manufacturing industry offers workers great perks, like career advancement opportunities, job stability, salary, and benefits.
HR Initiatives in Manufacturing
Despite these challenges, HR and employment in manufacturing have a major silver lining. Technology can be used to help resolve a number of these issues and make the work of human resources more strategic by taking the burden of tedious tasks off their hands.
Overcoming Hiring Challenges and Talent ShortagesTo begin, potential candidates can be attracted at the beginning of their employee journey by an attractive culture and employee brand, a fresh look and feel may be a good place to start. Rebranding key roles can make all the difference. HR professionals want to highlight to talent communities that manufacturing brings opportunities for growth, a promising career, and if applicable, great benefits.
This industry features innovative technology, and it offers career advancement opportunities you won’t always find in other sectors.
Once you rethink how you are selling your manufacturing company as an employer of choice, next, you want to reduce human interaction during the hiring process (without losing the personalized touch).
There are parts of the employee journey that can be automated to take the burden of manual processes so that you can focus on the personal touches that will set you apart from the competition both within manufacturing and competing industries. You can automate processes such as:
- The employee onboarding process
- First time and annual updates of required trainings, such as skills, diversity, and harassment trainings.
- Case intake and auto assignments
- And so much more!
Technology can be used in many ways to automate processes within your HR team. Think back to repetitive processes and ask yourself “could I automate this?” Most likely the answer is “yes!”
Preventing Injuries to Employees in the Manufacturing Industry
Another way that technology can overcome issues in manufacturing is by preventing injuries. The primary way to keep employees safe is to educate them. Training programs are essential for preventing risks.
If you find that scheduling in-person classes and preparing teachers is a burden, that is why technology plays such an important role. By creating a video library of training materials and Q&A documentation, you can also create training sessions that are on demand and have employees follow along an employee journey specific to upskilling or annual compliance.
This allows you to prevent injuries by educating employees anytime, anywhere. Making sure that employees are up to date on their training is always important! More than educating employees, you want to ensure that they can easily consume the information you gave them.
Employees are tech savvy today and almost always carry a cellphone. Reaching someone in human resources may be inconvenient to schedule an appointment or based on physical proximity with many organizations taking a hybrid or fully remote structure.
It helps employees break down communication barriers if they can reach you with an intelligent personal assistant, like a chatbot. They can send messages on the go via their mobile device through the communication tools that your employees are already using (like Slack or Teams).
The more convenient you can make it to communicate with you, the easier it is for employees to have open lines of communication. This is the beauty of technology!
Benchmarking Satisfaction in Employment in the Manufacturing Sector
Too many times, employees must deal with the physical and mental overload. The employer is unaware, and the employee will either perform poorly or walk out and quit.
It's difficult to gauge how your staff is feeling unless you ask them, and the best way is to have technology help you. Create a benchmarking survey you can send to employees. Based on the outcome of the answers, you can devise an internal strategy to adjust your culture if necessary.
It is not enough to send one and be done. Benchmarking measures result over time. Choose a cadence, like every few months, to conduct surveys and get a pulse on how things are going in your work culture.
It is impossible to fix a challenge if you do not understand what the challenge is. Not to worry, technology can identify the issues and innovate solutions to overcome them.
With talent shortages, it may force your manufacturing business to operate at a lower capacity. If you want to maximize your current workforce output, digital technology that tracks performance can help.
A performance management system is a way that technology can detect employees that perform below standards by comparing employees to what performance standards are.
HR in manufacturing can better assist employees who are performing below standards once they recognize who they are. It may mean that these employees require additional training to be more productive.
For high-performing employees, they can be eligible for a promotion or leadership development program. Merit-based compensation is a great way to recognize their achievements. Plus, they may be suitable for an extra assignment.
Overcome these Challenges Using Technology
Neocase helps you automates your HR processes. We transform your HR Shared Services Centers with a solution that is integrated, scalable, and flexible, so that you can deliver a best-in-class employee experience.