Leadership: Time to Engage with Workforce Development

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on July 28, 2017

Ask any industry leader if a commitment to human capital drives manufacturing competitiveness, and the response will be overwhelmingly positive. Yes! Well-trained employees support customer satisfaction. Yes! They reduce downtime and safety issues. Yes! They increase productivity, allowing a company to grow.

So when we asked attendees at tuX, our annual event focused on building a high-performance workforce, about leadership engagement in workforce development we were a bit surprised at the answers. For instance:

  • Only 11 percent reported that their leaders and managers are involved in building a learning culture of employees.

Success begins with a learning culture, and that starts at the top. World-class companies understand that creating an environment where knowledge is shared, with a focus on continuous development of its workforce, leads to performance improvement.

While we send kudos to the one in 10 manufacturers that are engaged, we strongly encourage other leaders to gain a competitive advantage by becoming actively involved with workforce development.

Here’s another stat:

  • Only 14 percent of Senior Operational Leadership is involved in manufacturing, engineering, and maintenance training programs.

We’d love to see that number grow. These leaders are models for others in the industry. They are highly invested — they contribute business requirements, ensure accountability from stakeholders and review program results.

Overall, we are encouraged to hear that talent development and management is becoming an integral part of a company’s strategy. In fact, 64 percent of tuX attendees indicated they’re making progress; and 18 percent said this is core to their plan, integrated as a key initiative.

If your leadership is not engaged, look at how you are communicating the value of investing in human capital to higher-level decision makers.

As with other departments, the training team must show a solid return on investment (ROI) for its work. This means learning and development programs must be an integral part of a strategic plan from the beginning, attached to overall fiscal goals. (See “Identifying Training ROI in Four Steps.”)

Speaking the language of management by demonstrating the impact of training on the bottom line will motivate your leadership team to become more invested and involved in workforce development efforts. They’ll like that ROI. As seen with world-class companies, this important engagement will propel the overall success of the organization.

For other ideas on communicating the value of workforce development, download our complimentary Tooling U-SME White Paper, “Proving the ROI of Training: Moving from Expense to Necessity.

Tags: "learning and development", "learning culture", manufacturing, "return on investment", ROI, training, tuX