All manufacturing companies experience a shortage of qualified workers from time to time, due to various challenges that can include poor staff management, lack of educational support, and high-demand for specialized skills. However, when this occurs, HR departments are put into overdrive, trying to compensate and oftentimes falling short of project needs. This is when they turn to management to come up with a solution to proactively address the staffing and development needs of the company – to prevent this kind of scenario.
At times, HR managers may be asking if the problem is due to manufacturing employee skills gaps or something within the management skills that are lacking? There are a few ways to determine this.
When There is a Skills Gap
One of the ways you can determine if the problem exists among your staff is to conduct a skills inventory to determine how well your job descriptions match up with the actual duties and skills of your employees. This will tell you if you are accurately hiring the kinds of people you need to be successful in their roles. If you see marked gaps in skill levels, it’s time to revamp your recruiting efforts.
Then you need to take the time to visit local educational centers to see if they are offering programs to prepare the coming generation of workers to meet the demands of your industry. New graduates can be a valuable source of new employees so it’s important that the schools you recruit from have the updated skill development programs you need from future candidates.
Your in-house staff have already proven to be valuable assets to your company, that is if you are taking the time to develop their skills to higher levels and promoting from within. Set up the time to find out where skills are lacking, and then either hire a trainer to come in to teach these skills, or provide employees with learning incentives to get this education on their own.
When Poor Management is to Blame
There is a common saying among HR people: “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”. This is certainly true in the manufacturing world, where there may be little time for managers to foster positive relationships with employees on the job. However, if there is a continual turn-over issue present in a specific department, it can mean it’s time to evaluate the people skills of that department manager.
One of the best investments any manufacturing company can make is in its management, at all levels. This means from your newest to your most seasoned managers, everyone should be continually getting trained and updated on industry topics. This includes training on tough personnel issues, like onboarding and employee development.
While a manufacturing skills gap can be caused by a little of both aspects, there are ways to manage staffing within manufacturing in a more positive way.
One is to bring on quality staff who have the right skills to do the job well. This can be accomplished by working directly with a manufacturing staffing agency, to provide pre-screened candidates suitable for all levels of manufacturing work.
The second is to give management the support needed to become better at their jobs, by offering management training and development initiatives. Back this up with incentives to cut down staff turnover and build more engaged teams.