Pulse Check: Workforce Insights Revealed

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on May 08, 2017

This week, we had an extraordinary opportunity to gather manufacturers together from across the country at our annual tuX event – and get a read on how things are going in the industry related to training and development.

Some feedback was not surprising. For instance, a poll of attendees found that nearly everyone (98%) said production is impacted by lack of skilled workers.

We all know the skills gap is very real. If companies aren’t building a pipeline of workers and addressing the situation now, they will be in trouble. Fortunately, we heard from a number of manufacturers that are getting out in front of this challenge and have innovative ideas for recruiting, training and retaining their workforce. (We’ll post videos of the presentations soon.)

But here’s the shocker. When asked how successful their companies are at handling the training and development of multi-generational workforce, we heard…crickets. Not one person said their company was doing “great” when it came to successfully training a multi-generational workforce. So that’s why you see that gaping 0% in the graphic.

The encouraging news is that 71% said their companies are making progress. For instance, they may have competency models defined in some areas; they are using blended learning and looking into other experience-based learning options.

This week, manufacturers from various industries discussed common challenges, and through open conversations, we all learned something new. One last stat that was revealing – this one is around on-the-job training (OJT). According to the poll, 45% don’t have a formal program and instead rely on informal OJT with limited standardization and measurement.

We hope to see the percentage for informal OJT continue to decline.

As we heard at tuX, a strategic learning and development program, including OJT, can ensure a seamless transition despite the knowledge loss from retirements and ongoing talent challenges. Strong OJT standardization, under the guidance of qualified instructors, is the key to developing and validating workers skills. It also provides individuals with pathways to reach the next level of their careers.

In future posts, we’ll share other insights gleaned from this dynamic group of manufacturers. It was inspiring to be with a group of passionate individuals all united in our focus on one mission: developing a high-performance workforce that propels a company to achieve exceptional business results.

As our keynote speaker, Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer, i4cp, reminded everyone: “People and training will never be a distraction from your real job. It is your job.”

But the ultimate advice comes from Simon Nance, Global Training Manager, Apex Tool, who said, “Creating a good training program is like making biscuits. You use core ingredients: content, audience, delivery systems, and you've got to get your hands dirty.”

Many thanks to all who joined us for the event. We hope to see you next year.

Tags: "Apex Tool", "human capital", i4cp, "Kevin Martin", "learning culture", manufacturing, "Simon Nance", "Tooling U-SME", training, tuX, "workforce development"