The skills gap in U.S. Manufacturing is well-documented and nothing new. Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled and the skills gap is expected to result in two million of those jobs going unfilled¹.
So how do you ensure you have the workforce necessary to keep your operation humming? As a manufacturer, you want employees who not only show up to work and execute their roles sufficiently, but also employees who are enthusiastic, inspired and invested in proactively helping your business grow. Rather than relying on a plan to hire perfect, pre-packaged all-stars, manufacturers can benefit from shifting focus to retaining and developing employees who show initiative and are invested in the success of your company.
Small and mid-sized manufacturers might think they don’t have the resources for large-scale staff development efforts. But workforce development is about more than raises and bonuses; it’s about helping your employees become greater, and cultivating a positive emotional connection between your staff and the organization.
1. Offer Skills Training and Education
Taking an active interest in the professional growth of employees demonstrates a genuine investment in their future. A demonstrated interest often has reciprocal benefits. Employees are invested in companies that are invested in them. The best way to enable meaningful development is to discover how each employee wants to grow and subsequently create a personalized plan and set goals that are in line with overall organizational goals. In this way, personal professional growth and organizational growth are intertwined.
2. Prioritize Communication
Open lines of communication are crucial. Employees are more apt to feel valued and respected when they feel their opinions are valued. Encouraging input and demonstrating that feedback was considered and acted upon can not only improve company culture, but also result in a wealth of valuable ideas that can help improve productivity, efficiency and the overall effectiveness of your business.
3. Create a Clear & Compelling Vision
Cultivating a high level of buy-in for company initiatives is paramount. Clearly stated goals and a strong vision of the future can go a long way. Employees stay longer when they buy into the future of the business and are excited about the opportunities for their own growth and development as it relates to the growth of the company.
4. Connect Individual & Organizational Success
Leaders should ensure that each employee understands the ways in which their role contributes to the growth and success of the company as a whole. Translating organizational goals into ongoing personal goals can accomplish this.
Cross-training prepares current employees for added and varied responsibilities while eliminating the cost of recruiting a new employee. In addition, recognition is one of the most effectual methods of improving employee motivation. Recognition in the form of training and development is evidence the company is investing time and resources to ensure employees acquire new skills. This can mean a great deal to your workforce.
¹Deloitte Analysis based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Gallup Survey