The future of work is here. How will your manufacturing company keep up?
Whether you realise it or not, your manufacturing company is now a tech company.
It doesn’t matter if you manufacture cars, electronics, consumables, chemicals or metals - if you haven’t already adopted and embraced the mindset of a tech company, you risk being left behind by your competitors.
As such, it’s never been more important to have skilled workers who can leverage the technology required to put you at the forefront of your industry.
But here’s the catch. With companies around the world all coming to this realisation at the same time, a skills gap is emerging - and it’s widening by the day.
According to the IDC, a strong increase in demand for data professionals resulted in approximately 571,000 positions going unfilled in 2018 - a 10 per cent increase in that segment’s skills gap.
The simple fact of the matter is that there’s an insatiable appetite for people with skills, and fewer jobs available for people without skills.
What’s driving this skills gap?
For many industries, the skills gap has been brought on by the 4th industrial revolution – aka Industry 4.0 (I4) – which involves disruptive technologies and trends changing the way we live and work. For manufacturers, I4 is seen in smart manufacturing, smart factories, lights out manufacturing, and the Industrial IoT.
These technologies are rapidly evolving, and herein lies the problem: technology is outpacing human adoption.
This, coupled with the struggle to acquire and retain talent, is a key reason companies are struggling to navigate the skills gap.
People vs systems
One of the biggest strategic errors companies are making today is thinking they can keep pace with I4 using technology alone.
But consider this: PwC's 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, ranks ‘speed of technological change’ as just the 9th most concerning threat facing CEOs. That puts it well behind the 3rd-placed ‘availability of key skills’.
What this says to me is that too many companies are not helping their people keep up with change. We have become better at retooling our processes and systems than we have our employees.
As such, it’s important to ensure you’re continuously providing employees with learning and development opportunities so that they can leverage technology for you.
If done well, the benefits are two-fold.
The first benefit is that you’ll be training your own high-potential employees to fill the skills gap. In turn, that reduces the need to recruit external talent - which is often be hard to do.
The second benefit is you’ll improve your company’s retention rate.
Indeed, the number one reason people quit their jobs, according to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, is the “inability to learn and grow”.
And when you consider that every time a competitor lures away one of your high-performing employees it costs up to 200 per cent of that employee’s annual salary to replace them, it’s critical you help your employees advance their careers internally.
Continually develop your employees
The good news is there’s a straight-forward fix when it comes to retaining employees and closing the skills gap: continuous employee development.
Long gone are the days when an apprentice learnt a skill once that would set them up for life. The skills required for today’s manufacturing workforce are changing on a monthly basis and you need to equip your employees with up-to-date training modules that help them keep pace.
If you take a look at your training programs, can you honestly say your employees spend enough time learning to keep up?
Probably not. Because, on average, employees spend just 26 hours annually on training.
When you consider that the average 15-year-old Netherlands school student spends just as much time on their homework in one month, it’s no wonder the skills gap is widening at an alarming rate.
But you can’t just click your fingers and make your employees ‘learn’. Just as personal technology apps now integrate seamlessly with your life, so too should training modules become frictionless and personalised for your employees.
You have to deliver software in a way that you go to your employees: where they’re working, in the flow of their work.
Because learning is no longer a luxury for your employees, it's a requirement.
The good news is, though, that by continuously developing your employees not only will they be happier, more confident, and more productive, but your organisation will be embracing disruption like a tech company and better equipped to tackle the skills gap challenges of I4.
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Employee goal setting template
Creating effective goals for your employees can be hard. To set effective employee goals you should: Create goals in consultation with your employee. As you discuss and refine the goals, you're exchanging "bigger picture" information about both of your expectations, and coming to consensus. Tailor the level of detail you capture to your employee's needs. A more senior or autonomous employee will need less detail than a less experienced or less independent employee. Write goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). Make sure that goals are achievable both individually and as a group. Assigning too many goals, even though each one might be achievable on its own, sets the employee up for failure. Start with the end result in mind and clearly identify how success will be measured. Always link individual employee goals to the higher-level organizational goals they are designed to support, so the employee has a clear context for their work. To help you out, we've created an employee goal setting template that prompts you for all the information you should discuss and document when setting goals with your employees.
Empowered Employees: How to Increase Motivation in the New Normal
From the initial phases of transitioning to fully remote work to changes in communications, training and reviews, leaders have needed to make significant changes to equip team members for success. Following our discussion of the performance management trends in the new normal and the tactics you can employ to improve morale and keep up with your team members, we’re looking at what it takes to keep staff motivated. From an increased focus on employee reward programs to expanded allowances and subscriptions, leaders have a variety of opportunities to encourage workers in the era of Zoom fatigue and social isolation. Reevaluating Employee Rewards Programs Your organization likely faced financial struggles throughout the pandemic. After all, it’s not easy to keep revenues stable—especially when many states haven’t pivoted to a full reopening of the economy. While revenue may be short, personal stressors are long. Employees are anxious about the future of the business and their jobs. Layoffs and furloughs have probably cut into your company morale, and many still dread the other shoe dropping. Top Spenders Put $0.53 per $1,000 Revenue in Rewards and Retention Understandably, despite a decrease in revenue, one area you shouldn’t cut is the employee rewards program. As discussed in a recent CFO article, HR leaders are realizing that one of the most critical areas to maintain or even increase spending is their rewards program. Citing research from APQC, the top 25 percent of performers spend more than three times those in the bottom 25 percent and have helped employees feel more confident in the future. "APQC found that companies in the 75th percentile spend the most on this process at $0.53 per $1,000 revenue. Companies within the median spend $0.33 per $1,000 revenue, while those in the 25th percentile spend $0.17 or less." – Perry D. Wiggins, CPA, writing for CFO Even a Small Gesture Pays Dividends in Loyalty The CFO article goes on to add that even a small increase to benefits and rewards goes a long way, and there are plenty of more minor gestures that mean a great deal to employees during a difficult time. APQC expert Lisa Ryan adds, "The precedent that you are setting right now with your employees may determine their future loyalty to you when this is over. Are you creating an environment that they want to stay in or the kind that makes them want to leave? [...] Showing care for your employees to the extent that you are able is one of the best ways to create the kind of environment that employees are proud to call home." It Doesn’t Even Have to Be Monetary Depending on how much you have in your coffers, you may not be able to spend on new rewards. While yes, increased benefits can go a long way, being able to show that you have your employees’ backs may work as well. In fact, as discussed in a Rework blog, Jeff Miller, chief learning officer & VP, organizational effectiveness at Cornerstone, said that there are ways to build engagement and motivation outside of providing monetary benefits. Citing Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk, Miller highlights three takeaways, most notably the following: The Mismatch Between Psychology and Business – According to Pink, social psychologists have proven incentive-based rewards not only fail to inspire but can also dull thinking and block creativity. Three Elements of Motivation – Scientists who study motivation have found these three elements are key to motivate people intrinsically: 1) People want more autonomy. 2) They want to master their craft. 3) They want to be part of something bigger. Ask how you can deliver. Traditional Management Drives Compliance; Self-Direction is Key to Engagement – In today's "always-on" world of work, employers often struggle to find the best way to engage their employees. Pink explains that providing employees with autonomy can inspire more personal investment in the work. Self-direction, mastery and a demonstrated connection between employee growth and company success are three things that can be addressed by our next motivator—optional training. Optional Training: Connect Mastery with Self-Direction Employees want to grow, and they want to feel like their employers stand behind them. Stagnation can kill careers, demoralize your workforce, and hold back your company. Growth requires change—and change requires employees to understand how they can do it. Employees want to learn. According to LinkedIn, employees are spending 130 percent more time learning, and this can do a lot to match the skills gap—with nearly two-thirds of learning and development pros noting that reskilling the current workforce to fill skills gaps is more of a priority than ever before. While mandatory training should be part of your business strategy, optional training takes a different approach—connecting personal and professional growth. Self-directed and designed to encourage mastery and diversity, employing optional learning initiatives can reinforce your commitment to your staff—often with little cost. Cornerstone Cares: A Free Platform to Encourage Growth There are many free resources available to help encourage mastery and growth. But one learning platform you may have missed is the learning platform developed by the leaders in learning—Cornerstone. In response to current events and to support our community, Cornerstone launched a free online public learning platform where you can access essential training anytime, anywhere. Cornerstone Cares is just one way to help leaders and staff focus on personal and professional growth. Delivering timely, essential training resources, Cornerstone Cares features online courses designed to help you protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, practice self-care to manage the stress and isolation of quarantine, stay productive while working from home and mitigate or eliminate unconscious biases. Allowances and Subscriptions: Benefits in the Remote Era Though money may be tight, there are many affordable ways to connect with your employees when working from home. You have to rethink the perks you used to offer, like lunches, on-site gym memberships and telecommuting, which used to be a perk in its own right before it became mandatory. Reevaluating the Usefulness of Pre-Pandemic Perks As noted by Recruiting Daily, employers and HR leaders need to "reassess all benefits initiatives to ensure they still serve their purpose in a remote-first world. Benefits and rewards should reflect the values of an organization as well as speak to the majority of people who work at the company." The Remote.com 2020 Global Workforce Revolution Report showed that many employees are looking for support even after the pandemic, with 81 percent of respondents indicating that they would move if they could do so without affecting their work prospects. From health and wellness to expanded support for remote workers, the most important benefit continues to be access to healthcare (48 percent). Additionally, 38 percent of employees want their company to offer a home office allowance, and 38 percent also want personal development plans or learning development allowances. Supporting Continued Use of the Home Office Employees are often paying out of pocket to provide things they normally received in an office environment. Consider whether additional stipends could be offered to keep up with printer maintenance, paper supplies, and even home WiFi and energy bills. Tie Perks to Company Values But regardless of how you approach your perks, make sure these align with company values. Being able to ask yourself who you are as an employer will drive change. An employer that focuses on empowerment will offer virtual learning opportunities, while another that focuses on creativity will do whatever they can to stoke creative flames. However you approach aligning perks and values, it pays to find affordable and engaging ways to connect with your staff. Cornerstone and Educe: Learning, Thriving, and Performing Performance Management has always been a challenge. But with the recent events, many have risen to this challenge. But much like the transition to work in the new normal, the landscape for operating in it will require the right tools, tactics, and processes to get where you want to be. If you’re looking to put your business in a position for long-term success, Cornerstone and the Educe Group can help. By relying on a leading service provider to implement one of the world’s most powerful talent management platforms, you can empower your users and make the most of your Cornerstone investment. As a Cornerstone partner for over five years, Educe helps organizations at every level better understand and fully leverage Cornerstone’s powerful talent management capabilities. To keep learning more about motivating people at work, watch this video of Stacie Grasberger, associate at The Educe Group, and Hendrik Thomas, senior product manager at Cornerstone, discussing how you can address career development in your workplace. Contact us to learn more about how Educe can help you make the most of your Cornerstone investment.
How to give (and get) feedback
Giving feedback can be scary, whether you're a manager trying to deliver constructive feedback or an employee who needs to give upward feedback. But it's important that managers and employees do it, no matter how intimidating the process might be. When done well, constructive feedback and meaningful recognition help employees grow and develop their skills. These conversations also help build trust in work relationships and improve employee engagement. Take the fear out of feedback To help everyone in your workplace get more comfortable with employee feedback check out our eBook, How to give (and get) feedback. It outlines tips and best practices, including: How to give and receive constructive feedback How to give and receive positive feedback How to give upward feedback Handy feedback models for giving constructive and positive feedback Feedback dos and don'ts The eBook also includes real-world examples that show how to initiate these kinds of performance conversations with the intent to help the recipient improve and succeed. You'll also learn the important role recognition plays in making constructive feedback more impactful. You'll learn how to make employee recognition meaningful and get creative recognition ideas you can use to show employees they're valued. The benefits of effective feedback Feedback is a valuable gift - one that can help improve employee satisfaction, retention and productivity. Download this eBook to learn how continuous feedback between managers and employees can build trusted relationships and positively affect performance.