Navigating HR Challenges in the Manufacturing Industry
March 21, 2023 by Rohini Sood
What is HR digital transformation, and how can it benefit the manufacturing sector? What are the top benefits of adopting HRTech in manufacturing, and how can HRTech tools help overcome some of the challenges in recruitment for the manufacturing industry?
As someone who practiced HR in the manufacturing industry for 15 years, Daniel Sullivan admits he had preconceived assumptions about what the industry would be like. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find highly engaged workforces in clean environments.
Daniel adds, “Contrary to popular belief, manufacturing jobs can offer solid career development opportunities. However, it's important to recognize that HR in the manufacturing industry differs significantly from HR in other workplaces.”
Despite the challenges, the manufacturing sector continues to be a vital part of the global economy, providing goods and services that meet the needs of consumers and businesses worldwide.
HR Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing Sector
In recent years, the role of HR in the manufacturing sector has significantly evolved, moving beyond administrative tasks and into developing and implementing talent strategies, using data analytics for decision-making, managing compliance and risk, and fostering collaboration among remote employees.
As the manufacturing sector evolves, HR will drive business outcomes and create a positive employee experience. To keep pace with the changes, digital HR has become an essential tool for managing HR processes and optimizing workforce outcomes in the manufacturing sector.
By leveraging digital HR, the manufacturing industry can address challenges such as talent acquisition, training and development, performance management, and employee engagement. Digital HR solutions can help professionals optimize processes, reduce manual tasks, and enable data-driven decision-making.
Top 5 Benefits of Adopting HRTech in Manufacturing
Adopting HRTech tools in manufacturing offers several benefits to help companies remain competitive in the global market. These benefits include:
Improved Efficiency:By automating time-consuming HR processes such as recruitment, onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, and compliance tasks, HRTech can help to improve efficiency and reduce the workload of HR staff.
Reduced Costs:HRTech can help eliminate manual processes and reduce errors, ultimately leading to reduced costs. It can also identify areas where manufacturers can reduce costs, such as by optimizing scheduling and identifying areas of overstaffing.
Enhanced Employee Experience:HRTech can give employees greater visibility into their benefits, career development opportunities, and performance feedback, leading to a more positive employee experience.
Improved Talent Management:HRTech can help manufacturers attract and retain the best candidates by providing them with access to development resources, training opportunities, and career progression paths.
Compliance and Risk Management:Compliance and risk management are critical in manufacturing. HRTech can help manufacturers manage compliance and mitigate risk by automating processes, tracking certifications and training, and providing access to relevant documentation and policies. This can ultimately reduce the risk of non-compliance and improve overall risk management.
Challenges in Recruitment for the Manufacturing Industry and How HRTech Can Help
The manufacturing industry faces various challenges that impact its HR practices, making it difficult for HR professionals to hire, train, develop, and retain top talent. To overcome these challenges, manufacturing companies can leverage HRTech to streamline HR processes, optimize workforce outcomes and drive business success. Here are some of the challenges facing the manufacturing industry and how HRTech can help:
Challenge #1 - The skills gap
The manufacturing industry faces an increasing skills gap, with many manufacturing jobs requiring specialized skills and experience. HRTech can help manufacturers address this skills gap by providing training and development opportunities to their employees. HRTech can also help manufacturers identify skills gaps and tailor training programs to address these gaps. Manufacturers can improve workforce outcomes and reduce turnover rates by investing in employee training and development.
Challenge #2 - Remote work
The manufacturing industry has witnessed a surge in the adoption of remote work due to the pandemic. Numerous companies have transitioned to remote work models to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. HRTech can help manufacturers manage remote work by providing collaboration tools, communication platforms, and performance management software. HRTech can also help manufacturers monitor employee engagement and productivity, even when employees are working remotely.
Challenge #3 - Shortage of workforce
The manufacturing industry needs more skilled workers, and HR leaders must act quickly to address this issue. The industry struggles to attract younger generations due to outdated perceptions that manufacturing jobs are unsafe, unhygienic and lacking innovation and sophistication. Additionally, the manufacturing industry requires workers with specialized technical skills, such as machine operation and maintenance, quality control, and logistics. Therefore, making it difficult for recruiters to find suitable candidates.
To address this challenge, HR departments in manufacturing can leverage HRTech solutions to support talent pipeline and succession planning.
Creating a centralized talent database that includes information about employees' skills, competencies, career aspirations, and development needs is also an effective way to identify potential successors for critical leadership roles and to create personalized development plans.
Another way to address the workforce shortage issue is to facilitate employee career development opportunities. Employees can build the skills they need to succeed in future leadership roles by offering career development opportunities.
Challenge #4 - Manual resume screening
One of the enormous challenges for recruiters in the manufacturing industry is the overwhelming task of manually screening resumes. With hundreds or even thousands of resumes to review, recruiters may feel overwhelmed and need help identifying the most suitable candidates.
Manual resume screening can be time-consuming and tedious, primarily when recruiters deal with many applications. It can also be challenging to assess the suitability of candidates based on their resumes alone, as they may not provide a complete picture of their skills and experience.
AI-based HR tools can quickly sort through resumes using keywords to address these challenges, while mobile-friendly interfaces and single-click apply can enhance the candidate experience.
Additionally, recruiters in the manufacturing industry may use technology tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automate the screening process and filter out irrelevant applications. They may also use pre-employment tests and assessments to evaluate candidates' technical skills and job-related competencies.
Challenge #5 - Attrition and Retention
Manufacturing jobs are often physically demanding and may require employees to work long hours or perform repetitive tasks. This can lead to high turnover rates, so recruiters may need to hire new employees frequently.
Retaining highly competent employees is challenging for most HR departments, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Retention is critical for manufacturing organizations due to limitations in their staff and recruitment capacity, making high turnover rates a significant problem.
Employee feedback is crucial for creating a workforce that thrives on communication and collaboration. HRTech can provide a platform for managers and employees to share real-time feedback. This platform can help managers analyze feedback data, identify trends, and gain insights into employee sentiment, which can help make data-driven decisions about employee development, training, and retention.
Challenge #6 - Poor Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a vital aspect of any organization, and it's particularly challenging for HR departments in the manufacturing sector.
HRTech can be a valuable tool in improving employee engagement by offering the following solutions:
- Communication: It provides an easy-to-use platform for managers and employees to communicate, engage, and collaborate effectively.
- Recognition: HRTech can provide a platform for managers and coworkers to recognize and reward employees for their achievements and contributions.
- Learning and Development: It provides access to learning and development resources, including online courses, training materials, and development plans. This can help employees upskill and develop new competencies contributing to their job satisfaction and engagement.
- Surveys and Polls: HRTech can provide a platform for managers to gather employee feedback through surveys and polls. This can help organizations understand employee sentiment, identify areas for improvement, and address concerns affecting engagement levels.
The manufacturing industry faces unique HR challenges compared to the service sector. As technology and business practices evolve, HR strategies must adapt to support these changes. The ultimate goal of HRTech in manufacturing companies is to enhance overall organizational performance by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce. This is essential to gain a competitive edge in today's globalized and increasingly competitive business landscape, where companies need to be agile and responsive to changes in the market.
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