How Manufacturers Can Attract and Retain Talent During a Labor Shortage

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SafetyChain Software
Contributing Writer

The manufacturing industry has long struggled with labor shortage issues, and despite record-high job openings, finding the right talent is 36% harder than it was several years ago. The rising workforce is hesitant to pursue manufacturing jobs due to preconceived notions about the industry. Experienced workers are seeking jobs that further their careers, develop new skills, and offer a better work environment.

Manufacturing is also becoming more technical, requiring a higher skill level to keep production running efficiently. If hiring practices do not adjust to this shift, up to 2.1 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030 as the baby boomer generation continues to exit the workforce.

To combat the labor shortage, plant management must:

  • Provide skill training to attract talent at all experience levels. Entry-level jobs should be understood as a launching pad for technology-centric careers, making the industry more appealing to the rising generation of workers.

  • Embrace digitization. 45% of workers reported they would consider leaving their current company to work for organizations with digital environments and tools.

Attracting Talent as a Manufacturing Leader

Due to a shortage of skilled and entry-level workers, manufacturers need to understand why workers are hesitant to join the industry and revamp their approach to talent recruitment to meet the high demand for workers.

Changing job perceptions

Plant management needs to convey the message that the industry is evolving for the better. The integration of technology with plant-floor operations promotes workplace flexibility, and creates ample opportunities for entry-level workers to establish long-term and fulfilling careers. 

Investing in modern tools and technology creates a competitive edge 

Utilizing software and tools that workers are already familiar with, such as smartphone and tablet-based applications, can reduce training time for both experienced and entry-level workers. This approach incorporates devices that are already a part of the workforce's daily routine, making it easier for them to adapt to new processes.

Engaging and Retaining Talent at Your Plant

To prevent employee turnover, plant management must proactively engage with and listen to their employees. The key to retaining and engaging talented workers lies in a well-executed plan that streamlines communication, lightens workloads, offers greater flexibility, and fosters a sense of workplace community.

Future-proof training 

As the manufacturing industry becomes more digitalized, the demand for specialized skills will continue to increase. By prioritizing training in software and automation technology, plant management can equip their employees with valuable skills that prepare them for the future needs of the industry. This also ensures the business stays ahead of the curve in terms of production.

Create workforce flexibility

By implementing automated processes and digital data capture, jobs that once necessitated manual data entry can become more flexible while minimizing the risk of human error. This also makes it possible to remotely monitor plant performance, which is an appealing prospect for potential new hires. Greater data accessibility also makes it possible to monitor plant performance remotely, and provides workers with flexibility that doesn’t disrupt production schedules or cause downtime.

Offer development opportunities and mentor opportunities

Mentorship programs and frequent training opportunities offer employees the necessary tools and support to establish long-term careers in an industry that is constantly evolving. It's essential to retain the skills that the business has invested resources in developing, and these programs can help achieve that goal.

Digitizing Plant Management to Overcome Skilled Labor Shortage Pain 

Front-line workers are integral to the success of any manufacturing operation, but if overworked, they can increase the chances of safety risks, quality control problems, and production delays. Implementing a digital plant management system can help alleviate labor shortage issues by reducing the learning curve for new hires, minimizing the possibility of human error, and speeding up task completion times. This allows managers to focus on engaging employees and retaining talent.

Take a look at the in-depth guide to attract, engage, and retain talent at your company and overcome labor shortage pain.