Beating the Skills Gap in Manufacturing: Questions Every Manufacturer Should be Asking

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

Lately, there has been much discussion about a growing skills shortage in manufacturing, but few to date have proposed tangible, proactive ways for manufacturers to address the crisis. However, last week the Huffington Post published an excellent article by Amy Kaslow on 8 Steps for Closing the Skills Gap in manufacturing.

A skills gap is the difference in the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by employees. Conducting a skill gap analysis helps organizations define the skills they need now and in the future; makes employees aware of the skills they need to grow; and helps in recruiting when current employees lack the skills or the interest to do a job.

Kaslow cites Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging & Work and how 40% of employers are worried about how a skills shortage will impact their ability to remain competitive, yet more than 2/3 of employers surveyed said they had not evaluated the demographic changes in their workforce and what they might mean for the future.

Kaslow suggests that talent shortfalls can be avoided by doing a thorough workforce assessment. She then offers a set of questions every manufacturer should be asking to help close the skills gap in their organization.

Understanding your workforce demographics

Below are a few of Kaslow’s questions and how the Halogen Talent Profile can help address them.

  • Do you know who your current workers are? Their demographics? The tenure of your average employee?
  • Is there a bifurcation of talent — new entrants with limited skills and mature (post-50) workers who are more seasoned?
  • What is your current workforce’s capacity to learn new skills?
  • What is your employees’ level of education?
  • Do they need remedial help?
  • Are they technically trained?
  • Is English their second language?

Asking these questions makes sense. The better you know who your key talent is — and which skills are in short supply and high demand — the better you will be able to anticipate skills gaps. Conduct succession planning. Recruit the right talent. And train your existing workforce to find the right balance of skills.

Using the Halogen Talent Profile to capture key data important to your business

Halogen’s configurable employee profiles can help you answer some of those tough questions about your workforce that Kaslow suggests you ask. You can use these talent profiles to capture any data that’s important to your business, including:

  • Work history
  • Past appraisals
  • Training and compensation history
  • Education, professional certifications and language skills
  • Relocation preferences
  • Career goals
  • Photos
  • Community involvement, hobbies and interests
  • Or any other employee data that is relevant to your business

Here’s a screen capture of what the Halogen Talent Profile looks like:

Conduct a talent profile comparison to find hidden talent

With the Halogen Talent Profile, HR, hiring managers, and decision makers can use simple keyword search criteria to find suitable talent that might otherwise be hidden in the organization or identify skills vacancies.

By making it simple to compare employee profiles to find the best fit for the job, the Halogen Talent Profile arms your company with a way to address the skills shortage in a proactive versus a reactive way.

Evaluate the demographic changes in your workforce

Dealing with the skills shortage effectively requires a thorough understanding of your workforce demographics. If you aren’t intimately familiar with the skills found in your workforce, there may be pockets of unidentified or hidden talent that goes untapped.

Halogen’s Talent Profile provides the data that HR needs to support key decisions to address the skills gap. Don’t be one of the 2/3 of employers that have not yet evaluated the demographic changes in their workforce and what they might mean for the future.

If you found this post interesting, you may also want to read how to use succession planning to identify workforce and leadership gaps.

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