Competing in the global marketplace requires manufacturing organizations to address changing consumer trends by adapting and innovating, and to do that, they need to focus on retaining talent. That’s easy to say, but harder to accomplish; updating even one small process within a manufacturing organization can be challenging. Adding the stress of the global COVID-19 pandemic coupled with anxiety surrounding automation and AI into the mix can quickly burn out even the most loyal workforces. This could spell disaster for manufacturing companies that rely on highly skilled and specialized employees who are increasingly able to find lucrative work in a hot job market. Now, employers are looking for new ways to retain diverse talent providing support and upskilling opportunities.
Employee development is taking center stage. According to The 2020 Manufacturing Institute Training Survey, management is increasingly investing in employee development as a way to train, engage, and for retaining talent in their workforce. The pandemic has accelerated this trend; 79% of those surveyed in the 2021 CoachHub Global HR Survey indicated the need to offer employee development has increased since the pandemic began. While many organizations have traditionally relied on in-person programs, the pandemic lockdowns caused a shift to virtual offerings that is unlikely to be reversed.
In the same CoachHub survey, results showed digital coaching can address key areas that were identified as concerns by manufacturing HR and L&D leadership, including: upskilling, engagement, and retention. Here’s how digital coaching can help manufacturing companies tackle change and retain diverse talent.
3 Ways digital coaching helps manufacturing organizations with retaining talent
Digital coaching can be utilized at all levels of an organization to support employees through times of transformation. It helps employees develop their strengths and build soft skills. Individuals and teams can learn to not only manage change, but also have the resources they need to thrive.
1. Upskilling people to navigate new processes and technologies
According to the 2021 CoachHub Global HR Survey, 67% of manufacturing companies would prefer to train and develop within the company when they are in need of new skill sets on a job. Upskilling, as it’s known, it’s the strategy du jour — but it’s clear that companies need to implement a well-defined strategy to make upskilling work. Otherwise, upskilling programs can actually end up costing companies both time and money.
Typical reasons upskilling initiatives fail:
- Employees don’t have access to development opportunities that they actually want
- Companies need to devote more time and commitment to their offerings
- Employees feel they are simply too busy to attend intensive training programs.
The key to creating a successful upskilling program: Personalization.
Unlike company or department-wide upskilling programs, digital coaching can be tailored to an individual’s needs in order to help them be set up for success. When polled, 91% employees stated a desire to have their upskilling journey to be personalized and relevant. Whether employees want to develop soft skills such as conflict resolution or stress management, or need to work on leadership tactics, coaches and coachees collaboratively develop individualized plans to achieve their goals. This level of individual customization allows for more impactful results―for both employees and employers.
2. Engage with employees at all levels of your organization
Like upskilling, “employee engagement” often remains an elusive goal―especially with an increasingly virtual workforce. While in-person coaching programs as an engagement tool was once reserved for executives, digital coaching can be scaled throughout the organization. This ensures that all those who need to participate in professional development have the opportunity to benefit from coaching.
Digital coaching also allows your workforce to engage in organizational and societal shifts that impact their work. As manufacturing companies are increasingly working to broaden and diversify their workforce, there may be a need to initiate widespread diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Likewise, with ever-increasing digital advancements, older generations may need support as they navigate new competency requirements. And younger generations may feel the need for more robust well-being and wellness initiatives to feel supported at work. Digital coaching can meet all of these needs through personalized goal setting and one-on-one virtual engagement.
3. Retaining talent by creating a culture of professional mobility
Data from the CoachHub Global HR Survey indicates that manufacturing organizations are among the most likely to retrain people to use new processes and tools in 2022―and least likely to make direct new hires to fill identifiable skill gaps. But while adjusting to the Great Resignation, employers should also consider benefits beyond simply hard skills development for retaining talent. The manufacturing workforce of today is also considering not only standard career mobility options within an organization, but also the level of investment a company is willing to make in their personal and professional growth.
Digital coaching offers employees the chance to not only hone and develop their soft skills, but also to work on career planning and goal setting. This allows people the opportunity to take active and engaged steps in developing their internal professional mobility at your organization.
By investing in digital coaching for your manufacturing workforce, your organization shows its commitment to employee growth, job satisfaction, and professional mobility. Your company can see a return on the investment through the workforce’s increased resilience and agility as well as improved engagement and retention.
To explore the benefits and impacts of digital coaching for your industry, read our report Prioritizing Transformational People in Manufacturing.
Want to learn how CoachHub can help you build a thriving and resilient manufacturing workforce? Visit our website and request a demo.