The manufacturing industry got hit by the pandemic like every other sector of the economy. Taking a brief glance at the manufacturing sector will show that due to the labour-intensive nature of the work in the sector, it suffered even more.
New Challenges for Manufacturing Industry
While the manufacturing industry had to rush employees to the safety of their homes, they also had to keep the operations on to meet the demand in the market.
With the chaos of safety protocol, increased demand, pay cuts, layoffs, shutdowns and absenteeism, human resources` had a lot on their plate. Not to forget that the manufacturing industry has been struggling with issues such as rapidly evolving technology, employee engagement, attrition and talent acquisition since long before the pandemic happened.
At the onset of the newfound new normal, the manufacturing industry needed changes in its strategy to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic environment.
Recent HR trends in the Manufacturing Industry
Tacking all the challenges and overcoming them to achieve growth is something the industry aims for. Let’s discuss a few HR trends in the manufacturing industry that are affecting and assisting the growth of the industry.
Most of the manufacturing sector workforce is retiring in the next few years. The employees working for the manufacturing industry retire sooner. According to age, their physical capacity the manual work decreases.
Human resources now understand the need to have experienced skilled employees and that they don’t need to retire because of their age. Employees that worked in the manufacturing industry for such a long period of time can be valuable for HR and the company.
HR in the manufacturing industry are retaining their workforce with horizontal opportunities so their expertise about the way work processes can be utilized. HR are giving the ageing workforce opportunity to work on various work processes that are not less labour intensive.
Benefits of retaining an ageing workforce
- The skills and the knowledge they possess can be passed down to the future of the company’s workforce by mentorship.
- There will be highly experienced workers in the manufacturing industry as well as company-specific training for the employees.
- You can use the skills to help to keep the organization productive and growing.
- According to their experience, an employee can help to improve the work process and help in strategic planning.
Employee Wellness and Safety
If there is a thing that the pandemic taught us all, is a need to focus on the health and safety of the employees in every industry. The HR in the manufacturing sector understands the importance of safety guidelines as the nature of the work and the involvement of heavy machinery makes the companies working in the industry prone to accidents.
As employees in manufacturing needed to continue working during the pandemic, the industry had to find a way to make their employees safe.
Manufacturing companies understand that people value safety as the pandemic has resulted in an increased rate of absenteeism or more people who want to quit their jobs for health and safety.
The Safety Training
With the right safety training, companies guide their employees in the way they can ensure the safety of their own and their colleagues. That involves,
- Safety guidelines related to the pandemic
- Operating machines
- First aid training
- Working with harmful chemicals and more.
Some companies in manufacturing not only look into physical safety and social distancing protocols but also the mental well-being of the employees. Along with it regular checks on maintaining safety standards and safety drills increase employee trust and help to avoid accidents. That way, HR can make employees feel free to work in the manufacturing sector.
The way to engage the employee in their work is important and now the manufacturing industry understands that it is a crucial factor. Manufacturing has always been a labour-intensive industry. Every company in the sector now uses machines to attain high production. Yet the nature of the work in manufacturing is still seen as lacklustre and repetitive. That is the major reason that the employee soon feels disengaged from their work.
The need to make the workplace more engaging to retain employees is now evident in the manufacturing sector. In 2022 people are still getting used to the new normal and the changes made in the work culture. Linking individual employee goals with the company goal is a great way for manufacturing to give workers purpose.
Highly engaged employees are also proven to be more productive as well as they stay in their company longer. That way manufacturing industry can cut down the repetitive costs of recruitment and minimise loss of productivity.
HR in the manufacturing industry understands a company’s need to be more engaging and accommodating to improve the employee experience. To overcome the difficulties, the industry is focusing on a better level of employee experience. As they understand, when the employee has a good experience working at the job, they stay at the company for longer.
After the pandemic, people value their personal relationships and loved ones much more as compared to pandemic times. Most companies want to work for companies that value their personal life and are thoughtful towards maintaining personal and professional balance.
In manufacturing, industry employee has to work in multiple shifts to maintain the productivity of the organization. The strict schedule of the shifts can make it physically and mentally straining for the employees. A company that asks for employees’ input while making schedules or allow some flexibility to employees when they need it witnesses greater employee engagement.
As discussed above in the blog, the manufacturing industry needs to implement some of the ways that can help to achieve the targets the sector is looking at to meet the demand for the goods.
The manufacturing industry is now working on different kinds of performance management programs to ensure that they achieve their goals. But performance management is not just about getting the necessary productivity but also appreciating employees and motivating them.
It is important to ensure that the appraisal and performance management is done properly to assist the performance. The employee should be aware of what is expected of them and how their performance is gonna be assessed. This helps them to put targeted efforts towards their goal and achieve it without facing any confusion.
The industry understands that the overall productivity of the company depends on the performance of the individual employee. To meet the company’s goals, they need to connect the goals of every department and individual to the organisation’s goals. When the goals and targets of each entity in the company are aligned, it becomes easy to note the performance and take directive actions.
Manufacturing companies are looking at employees’ performance management or appraisal program where they set achievable goals for everyone. It is important to set smart goals. If the goals are impossible to achieve, it acts as a demotivating factor, and employees are more likely to give up than put in any extra effort. In the face of unachievable targets, employees actually start performing less than their average, as irrespective of the amount of effort they put it will not be worthy of appreciation.
There can be different rewards and appreciation programs conducted by a company so that employees look forward to their work and achieve their targets. The performance management program has to be inclusive of all employees, irrespective of their job profile. This can be a portrait of how a company look at the work as equally important and give them a chance to work hard for their efforts.
Give Reward to Employees
Keep track of employee data and ensure that they are rewarded impartially. The manufacturing sector does not always have to go overboard with big rewards to have a good employee appreciation program.
Many companies are struggling with budget constraints. The reward to the employees can be small or even will not cost anything at all. The non-monetary rewards can be appreciating employees in the presence of their colleagues so that not only those who achieved the targets but also their peers feel motivated to perform better. A manufacturing company can also offer some extra leaves or flexibility options for those who perform extraordinarily.
Acquiring Young Workforce
The manufacturing industry now also focuses on hiring millennials as they are well-versed with the newer technology and are quick to adapt. The manufacturing industry manages to achieve this by implementing better technology like VR for learning and creating a better workforce.
The safety measures, better benefits, growth opportunities and employee engagement activities also help to attract youngsters. One of the ways to make the manufacturing sector more attractive for the young workforce is by using advanced tools and techniques to streamline the work processes.
Human resources and the manufacturing industry management are putting necessary emphasis on having skilled workers. This starts with the recruitment process. But companies understand that they need to ensure continuous training and development for their employees.
Some of the companies in the manufacturing industry were acustomed to the hire and fire attitude. They would change entire workforce whenever they needed a better-skilled workforce to manage new technology in the manufacturing sector. The pandemic has caused a massive shortage of workforce in manufacturing. That’s why many manufacturing companies have plans in place to upskill their workforce according to future requirements.
The manufacturing industry wants to upskill its employees with all the tools and training they need to be equipped with on the job. Onboarding is a process where the manufacturing industry upskills their new hire to ensure the skill requirement of the future of their company.
Putting a focus on activities such as training and development within the company is the HR trend that is easy to implement through a mentorship program. That can help the industry to be prepared for the future requirement of important soft skills such as leadership and problem-solving skills.
Due to the constantly evolving technology, the manufacturing industry HR adopted a continuous employee development strategy. This involves upskilling the skilled workers at regular intervals. That way manufacturing industry will always be ready to respond to changes in technology faster and improve their productivity.
You can find that there are many trends that HR in manufacturing is following to enhance employee experience. With the efforts such as making the workplace safer according to the safety standards and encouraging employees to participate in a performance management effort. In 2022 manufacturing industry is trying to increase productivity by implementing various initiatives which will make it more fun for employees to work in a company so they can retain the talent for longer.