Future-Proofing the Manufacturing Workforce

Future-Proofing the Manufacturing Workforce

The manufacturing sector is going through huge change, with digitisation driving the need for new skills, processes and approaches to leadership. Whilst it’s clear that many manufacturing job roles must adapt or change completely to meet new demands, 65% of all jobs that Generation Z (born after 1996) will do don’t yet exist. So how can manufacturers ensure they have the right people in the right roles, for both now and the future?

Our research identifies four strategies organisations must use to help develop the workforce of tomorrow. With manufacturers reporting growing talent shortages, HR leaders can no longer rely on the ability to simply buy the skills they need, when they need them. Instead, they must develop a connected workforce strategy that combines the following four elements, blending external recruitment with tactics that maximise the talent they already have in place.

Future-Proofing the Manufacturing Workforce - Build
Future-Proofing the Manufacturing Workforce - Buy
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Our Career and Talent Management experts, work with organisations to design and implement tailored workforce career management strategies – helping to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest talent.

Building Skills and Developing Talent

Investing in skills is a key priority for many organisations: whilst in 2011 only 21% of companies planned to invest in upskilling, the estimate for 2020 sits at 84%. It’s clear that in order to find the talent needed for the future, employers must look at developing the people they already have. But building talent is more than just e-learning; it’s also about identifying the right people to develop – utilising assessments to find out which employees have the potential to become future leaders, and through this, creating development pathways and robust succession planning to minimise risk.

Part of ManpowerGroup, Right Management delivers a range of assessments to help map executives on the enablers and capabilities that drive their organisation’s ability to reach its strategic objectives. A large multinational client going through major transformation found that their change in focus had implications across the organisation, requiring a different type of leadership around the globe. During this transformation, the organisation partnered with us to ensure they had the right workforce and talent strategy. They assessed 750 managers across 35 countries for their leadership potential, by first working to create the framework of ‘what makes a great leader’ and then using our leadership effectiveness model to map each leader against this framework. Their investment to identify the right people is what helped the organisation move to and through its digital transformation.

As well as looking to develop their leaders and future leaders, manufacturers must also ensure they invest in their newest recruits, taking an agile approach to upskilling by combining short-term certification programmes with on-the-job training. ManpowerGroup works to develop career pathways for sectors facing skills shortages, partnering with organisations and training providers to upskill and certify associates, providing individuals with quicker routes to employment and organisations with the skills they need for success.

Creating a Culture of Career Mobility

Alongside upskilling, manufacturers should look to promote a career mobility culture to help individuals take ownership of their careers, whilst at the same time aligning individual career goals with the organisation’s objectives.

A key enabler to this is in training line managers to act as career coaches to their direct reports. The Manager as Career Coach programme equips managers to conduct effective career conversations in an atmosphere of support and challenge. Through modular learning events, coaching and online career management tools, the programme engages and equips managers with the critical skills to have courageous and meaningful career conversations, helping employees to make more informed career decisions and take a proactive approach to their own career mobility.

This is often combined with Personal Career Focus, a programme of face-to-face or virtual workshops designed for organisations who want to grow or transform in response to market challenges; those that recognise not all their talent is in the right role, has full awareness of achievable career paths, or has the right skills for future business needs as roles are redefined. The programme encourages employees to self-reflect, identify their strengths, values and drivers, and to create a career action plan based upon how their goals fit with the organisation’s new direction.

Helping Employees Move on or Move Up

It’s important to recognise that change isn’t always easy: with transformation, organisational restructures are often par for the course, and manufacturers must maintain business as usual whilst also potentially managing site closures, redundancies and redeployment of individuals to different or new areas of the business. Key to a successful transformation is maintaining a positive employer brand – providing exiting employees with a positive experience and helping individuals make their next career move with ease.

Our outplacement support is provided either onsite, at Right Management locations or virtually, using a combination of interactive workshops, self-directed online learning and one-to-one coaching with an expert career coach. Onsite career centres provide impacted employees with face-to-face career transition and job-finding support, delivered by an impartial expert.

ManpowerGroup worked with a large global manufacturer on a recent UK site closure, focusing the support on helping individuals to understand how their skills could be transferred across to other roles elsewhere in the business, creating links to training providers and connecting with local government to identify opportunities for reskilling. This ensured the organisation retained top talent through redeploying those with the required skills to roles elsewhere in the business, whilst at the same time treating exiting employees with dignity and respect, enabling them to maximise employability and therefore success in finding new roles elsewhere.

As the manufacturing sector transforms at a rapid rate, setting the precedent for other sectors responding to digitisation, its success depends on its people. HR leaders must ensure they have a thorough workforce strategy in place to upskill and mobilise the right people for a sustainable future.

If you’d like to speak to us about how we can support your workforce career management strategy, please get in touch by completing the form below.

Alternatively, to learn more about the ways in which the manufacturing workforce will need to evolve in the years ahead, download our whitepaper The Future Factory: Mapping The Skills That Will Power Manufacturing.