Strategies for upskilling or reskilling your industrial workforce

May 26, 2022

The manufacturing industry is facing major shifts moving into the newest decade. Not only are employees on an exodus, but they're actually retiring at record rates. As the Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, the industry is facing a labor shortage and a skills gap at the same time. Skilled employees are leaving the workforce, while new technologies are moving in. Employers need to both hire and retain employees to keep up with demand.

Let's explore some strategies you can use to upskill your workforce and attract new talent

Taking the initiative in the workplace

Employees are looking for more than just to earn a living. Many want to work in a position where they see a future for themselves and where they feel valued. To close the gap in skilled workers, upskilling is an excellent option for those employees who want to take the next step in their careers. In 2020, Amazon committed to upskilling its 2025 workforce. Businesses have realized that an educated employee base can better serve their customers.

Here are a few ways you can reskill or upskill your teams to build the digital-savvy workforce you'll need for the future.

1. Plan for a slow start

Upskilling or reskilling in digital tools can be a completely new concept for employees and could push employees out of their comfort zone. Businesses are spending a lot of time and money adopting new technologies to create better efficiencies and optimization along the supply chain, yet employees may still prefer to do it the old way because it's more comfortable. Be patient with this new adoption.

2. Focus on human skill improvements as well

Communication and the ability to work well with others is not going away with new technology. In fact, it's becoming more important. The World Economic Forum at the 2020 Jobs Reset Summit found that the top jobs in manufacturing in the next 10 years will rely on human attributes like critical thinking, a high level of creativity and clear communication.

3. Leverage a drive for apprenticeship

One strategy for closing the skills and labor gap is considering apprenticeship programs. Demand for jobs is beginning to outrun the supply for quality candidates. Offer apprenticeship programs for high schoolers or partner with a local community college to find new, excited candidates looking for work. On average 64% of high school graduates do not go to college. Choosing these individuals and giving them an opportunity in a field that is not only desperate for candidates but willing to invest in their future could change the workforce for the better.

Once you develop trust within your workplace and open the door for employees to explore their interests, you could find more opportunities for growth than you realized.