The manufacturing and automotive industries employ a diverse and distinctive workforce with their own unique needs and challenges. The epidemic has caused the manufacturing and automotive industries to undergo a shift that is being fuelled by the creation of new business models and technological advancements. The industry has been facing a series of challenges and an unprecedented skilled labour shortage. The manufacturers are struggling to fill these positions.
Training and development have become more critical in the automotive and manufacturing industries as there is no room for mistakes in the highly competitive industry. Mistakes or missing process steps, lack of product knowledge, and inefficiency in handling equipment can lead to faulty products and sabotage the organisation’s success. Inadequate training can result in poor onboarding, skills gaps and low performance. While manufacturing organisations are quickly embracing trends, there is a lag when it comes to learning and development. Learning is more than just upskilling or reskilling employees to be at par with industry changes. It helps to create an inclusive learning culture and promotes equal opportunities and overall employee development. Thus, it helps to attract and retain talents. The manufacturing and automotive industries’ workforce needs to be up-to-date with new technology trends and innovative industrial processes. Let’s explore some of the key challenges and how L&D can help to serve the organisation more effectively.
Challenges Faced by Manufacturing and Automotive Industries
1. Onboarding and Retaining Talent
Recruiting and retaining talent has been a struggle for the manufacturing and automotive industries. It can be difficult to locate technically aware job seekers with the necessary skill set and qualifications for these industries. Thus, it’s crucial for manufacturing companies to attract, develop and retain skilled workers to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
L&D plays a critical role in attracting and retaining talent, as learning and development is one of the top criteria for today’s workforce to join an organization. Designing effective employee onboarding programs also increases performance and engages new hires. Organizations can increase their chances of retaining top talent by developing training programs that will keep employees up-to-date with the latest techniques and skills. L&D is vital in providing an effective digital solution to this issue in manufacturing and the automotive industry. To onboard and retain talent, organisations can leverage digital learning as it provides a scalable and flexible process to easily update, create more personalised and accessible training materials. Thus, creating a learning culture in which employees constantly seek and use new skills and information is crucial for onboarding and retaining talent.
2. Upskilling and Reskilling of Workforce
As digitalization is changing the nature of work, skill preparedness is a critical element for the manufacturing and automotive industries. Organizations today need people who can adapt, evolve with changing technology. Therefore, it is important to measure how employees are keeping pace with shifting skill needs. L&D plays a vital role in boosting employee skills, identifying employees’ unique skills and abilities in real-time and instantly matching them with ever-changing needs. L&D should embrace new technologies to upskill its workforce. It should consider using virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to train a large number of employees.
VR can replicate any real-world setting, enabling employees to hone their abilities prior to starting work. It creates an artificial environment that allows learners to take risks and learn from errors without endangering real-world equipment or having an adverse effect on other employees. It is important for L&D to identify the employees’ interests and organizational skills needed and provide them with the right development experiences. While reskilling instead of replacing is a preferred strategy, these industries will also need to hire new talents to augment their existing skills. These industries must upskill and reskill their workforce with the most recent technological know-how to meet the growing customer demands for more personalised designs and accelerate speed to market to remain competitive.
3. Motivate and Engage Employees with Personalised Learning
It is often found that many industries are overlooking one of the biggest components of productivity, employee engagement and motivation. Manufacturing and automotive industry employees experience the same. A recent research study shows that a happier employee is more productive and increases the retention rate. In today’s manufacturing industries, employees are often frustrated with the overwhelming amount of information required to operate new tools and technologies. Also, employees cannot be at their best if they have outdated knowledge of tools. They waste hours looking for information and guide manuals, which could be easily addressed with personalized learning.
With advancements in technology, learners have become more demanding and expect training programmes to be relevant to them. Personalized learning is the most effective strategy L&D can utilise to motivate each employee to learn new skills. Personalised learning enables training materials to be tailored to the requirements of each learner, increasing engagement and targeting specific skills gaps. With personalised learning, the employee is guided throughout the learning journey, making it more relevant to their job roles, better understanding and improving knowledge retention. Thus, learners learn at a faster speed and their learning performance is improved. Learning and development professionals should provide personalised learning materials to motivate and engage employees. To create personalised learning, organizations would need technology solutions to make it cost-effective and scalable.
By placing employees at the centre of L&D, organisations can create effective digital learning that will assist them in overcoming the major difficulties faced in the manufacturing and automotive industries. Providing the right training to manufacturing employees will ensure that they know how to carry out the critical functions of their role safety, technical proficiency, boosts employee retention and job satisfaction. A few changes in the learning and development strategy can make a difference to production and help the organisation reach the set standards.