Businesses are nothing without labor. Manufacturers, especially, rely on their workforce to meet fluctuating demand and keep the supply chain moving along.
Amid the "Great Resignation," however, one in every four workers quit their jobs, per Visier. The resulting labor shortage has eaten away at productivity, undercut supply chains and left management looking for answers.
Luckily for manufacturers, they have an important asset already within reach; their training programs. Here are four impactful ways you can leverage employee training during a labor shortage.
1. Cross-training employees can mitigate lost productivity
Of course, when workers quit their jobs somebody has to perform in their place. But what happens when that replacement puts off their regular duties to pick up the slack left behind by the employee who quit?
That's where cross-training comes into play. CBIA recommends cross-training employees across several different areas to ensure that no operation is left unperformed or under-manned. When an employee quits or is out sick, a properly cross-trained worker can step in and maintain the pace of production without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Retraining is a great way to avoid burnout
Why are workers quitting in the first place? Well, one significant cause of turnover is employee burnout. When the pressures of the workload get the best of an employee, they can suffer from burnout, a medically diagnosable ailment characterized by stress and exhaustion.
One reason workers burn out is because they lack engagement with their job. Maybe they've performed the same tasks for too long, or they feel misunderstood by management — either way, it can lead to burnout. Offering the opportunity to retrain not only refreshes an employee: it can also improve their ability to handle their workload.
3. Emphasizing upward mobility improves worker retention
Even more important than a strong training program, according to Supply Chain Brain, is a program that emphasizes career development. A manufacturer who supports their workers with educational benefits that lead to career advancement opportunities is more likely to retain workers for the long haul.
Of course, any manufacturer is rightfully reluctant to train workers who don't intend to make the job into a career. Managers can highlight the benefits of a career in manufacturing to attract, engage and retain their workforce.
4. Mentorship programs save knowledge from being lost
Peer-to-peer education is just as significant as traditional training. With a solid mentorship initiative, manufacturers can transfer knowledge between experienced and inexperienced workers. This is especially important as employees age into retirement and take their institutional knowledge along with them.
It goes without saying that knowledgeable workers are good for business. They know the ins and outs of manufacturing, are safer on the job and generally more productive. Not only will a good training, retraining or mentorship program retain workers — it'll also mitigate the productivity lost to the labor shortage.