Despite many advances, the manufacturing industry suffers from an outdated perception—one that challenges its appeal to upcoming workforce's.
Even though there are many programs available to train and develop workers for high demand roles, the skills gap won't shrink without renewed, widespread interest in what it means to work in manufacturing. This key change starts with workplace culture from the organization up.
Employee Engagement Needs a Boost
When workers feel empowered with purpose and driven by accountability, they are considered engaged. Strong employee engagement is an invaluable resource that improves retention, morale, satisfaction, and productivity for organizations. But manufacturers face a huge challenge when it comes to building engagement.
According to Gallup's State of the American Workplace study, only 25% of workers in manufacturing are engaged—meaning three out of four workers feel disengaged or desire more by their employer. This is the lowest industry average in the US—although the national 33% employee engagement average means all sectors have some work to do.
A great workplace culture strengthens employee engagement, and engagement feeds back into culture. This is why manufacturers have an opportunity to transform internal workplace culture for a more modern perceptibility and make that a selling point for the incoming workforce.
Putting Culture in the Spotlight
The key to changing the industry's perception is offering greater visibility into the incredible changes that have happened (e.g., automation) and how these changes appeal to the younger workforce's nuanced sensibilities. What attracts these up-and-coming workers isn't all fancy perks, they want ‘more’ in terms of employee-manager relationships, paths for growth, and institutional support along the way. These are what make or break a workplace's cultural appeal.
While many manufacturing organizations have already laid the groundwork for these demands, the measure of how well they're put into action may be what your existing employees think. If organizations can turn their employees into outspoken advocates, not just for careers in manufacturing, but for careers with their organization, then a strong working culture is apparent.
Workforce Management Supports Strong Culture in the Workplace
When examining workplace culture, it's important for manufacturers to take stock of how infrastructure helps or hinders cultural growth. Outdated workforce management systems can severely limit manufacturers potential for growth, but even current workforce management systems can leave potential growth untapped when used conservatively. What manufacturers hopefully come to understand is that a strong culture emanates outward and doesn't start and stop with the clock—and tapping the cultural potential of workforce management solutions now can put them in the position of being an employer in-demand, despite the skills gap.