Trends redefining HR's future in manufacturing
Abraham Joseph, VP, Global People Function, Aequs, People Matters, 22 Feb, 2020
While the manufacturing sector is facing the brunt of a synchronized economic slow down, it is time that the HR leaders of this sector invest in rebranding the work culture, target newer talent pools, upskill themselves, and become future-ready.
The workplace today has drastically evolved in the last couple of years, with growing complexities. Talent, however, is the critical driving force behind the success of an organization, and people are the real assets in a company. HR leaders in international organizations , therefore, must continuously evolve their hiring processes with time to remain relevant in today's rapidly changing world. The future of work brings with it new challenges in terms of changing demographics, new market situations, and technological advancements. It is precisely why, in order to remain competitive, organizations must be prepared to tackle the recent global economic slowdown.
According to the International Monetary fund (IMF), the global economy is in a synchronized slow down with the manufacturing industry facing the brunt of this impact. Many organizations have been forced to modify their strategy across all aspects of the business to minimize the impact of the slowdown. Hiring processes are also affected as there is constant pressure on hiring the right talent that will contribute positively to the business, as employees equipped with the right knowledge and skills are the building blocks of a smart workforce.
Rebranding the work culture
In the world of co-working and employee-oriented working models, the culture of manufacturing companies is still perceived to be more traditional. HR departments in these companies must prioritize revamping the work culture to attract talent, especially the millennial workforce, to keep up with the changing times.
One step in this direction would be to have a streamlined feedback system for employees that will allow them to suggest improvements in the work culture or highlight existing gaps. Engagement is another critical step in building a positive work culture. Studies show that disengaged employees are more likely to be less motivated, call in sick, and will probably not consider the company as a long-term employment opportunity. They are also prone to make more mistakes and cause workplace injuries. With the right kind of engagement and environment, employees will feel empowered by their organization and will be motivated to perform optimally.
Emerging talent from smaller cities
The HR of tomorrow must step out of the traditional box of looking at talent from the big cities. While the metro-cities are major talent hubs, talent from small towns across the country is also gearing up to compete with the metros. Growing urbanization and the Govt. of India's Skill India initiative has led talent in Tier 2 and Tier 3 small towns to have access to knowledge on par with their counterparts. Several public-private partnerships have introduced skill centers and development programs to nurture talent. Manufacturing and engineering companies have increased hiring opportunities in these cities, by setting up their manufacturing units, and hiring is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. This will also help tackle regional and economic imbalances while reducing strain on civic amenities.
Continuous need to upskill and reskill
With the changing environment and models of working, training and development has become one of the cornerstones of a successful workplace. The landscape of technology is changing rapidly and upskilling or even reskilling has become a necessity to stay relevant. It holds special significance in an industry such as aerospace manufacturing that operates with a 'zero error' policy; there is a dire need for upskilling on the shop floor to handle the introduction of smart factories and automation, along with the steady influx of new processes.
Skill development should become a regular practice to ensure the workforce is future-ready, and a periodical training-feedback system will help assess the impact of these interventions, allowing companies to course-correct if needed. Hiring in 2019 was driven by niche skills around automation, Artificial Intelligence and other such new age roles. According to Mercer, the hiring forecast for 2020 is going to lean on optimizing existing resources through skill development programs, to lessen the impact of the global slowdown.
Employee value proposition at the center
India is set to become the youngest country in the world in 2020, with a new wave of millennials who are entering the workforce. While monetary benefits and incentives are a factor in their decision to choose jobs, they also look for opportunities that fuel their career through regular enhancement of their skills and capabilities.
Organizations must re-evaluate their employee value propositions (EVP) to devise meaningful strategies aligned with the organization's vision. Knowledge sharing, regular training, cross-team learning, performance reviews, internal discussions and other online or offline engagements, will help in engaging, motivating, and retaining employees.
Collaboration between the Industry and Academia
With the 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' initiatives, industry-academia partnerships have started gaining a foothold in manufacturing industries. Collaborations with government and academic institutions will help manufacturing companies bridge the existing skill gap.
Besides imparting specialized skills required in aerospace manufacturing - especially in critical operations like forging, turning and milling, special processing and quality inspection, it has also become the need of the hour for aerospace companies to partner with the engineering colleges in their locality to introduce relevant aerospace manufacturing topics in the existing curriculum and address the skill gap.
Preparing for the future
The manufacturing industry is at the cusp of new-age technologies and data-driven insights that not only change the dynamics of the hiring processes but will also change our way of living, working, and interacting with each other. Organizations and HR leaders must understand the nature of jobs and required skills in the decade to follow, to be able to start preparing their employees today.
This article appeared on People Matters