“As the pandemic lifts, you have to get back in the mindset of looking your customer in the eye. You have to be ready to address issues in real time rather than letting them wait for someone to get back to them.”
Personal connection: Workers don’t expect a remote work environment. In fact, many are starting to re-establish in-person connections. “As the pandemic lifts, you have to get back in the mindset of looking your customer in the eye,” Hersh said. “You have to be ready to address issues in real time rather than letting them wait for someone to get back to them.”
Streamlined technology: At the same time that workers are establishing personal connections, they also want to achieve work/life balance and advancement opportunities. That means they want to spend time on innovative ideas and value-driving work rather than manual tasks which could be streamlined with technology.
New opportunities: Technology can also change the landscape of opportunities at your organization. Mid-market companies can move quickly to evolve toward Industry 4.0, and that means they soon have new opportunities for high-performing workers to advance and grow their skills. Those emerging technology opportunities are some of the most attractive to your best employees and recruits.
It can be challenging to know the best moves to strengthen your workforce, because the manufacturing sector is unique and there’s no time to get it wrong. “Those in the middle market spend a lot of intellectual capital keeping the business running — and they’re running very lean,” Hersh said.
These strategies can be combined with more traditional moves like implementing back-office automation and fine-tuning compensation, benefits and incentives for key teams. “The struggle to recruit is not just in the shop floor skillsets. It goes all the way up to the C-suite,” Hersh said.
Workforce strategies were already changing before the pandemic, and leading manufacturers will need to keep finding new ways to adapt.