How to Solve Your Top Workforce Challenges

According to a 2014 study conducted by Oxford Economics and SAP, two-thirds of manufacturers have made only slight or moderate progress toward meeting strategic workplace goals. This is due in part to a number of obstacles, including a shortage of workers and lack of resources to help foster better employee engagement and retention. Companies in this study, which totaled around 2,700 and spanned multiple industries and regions, also noted that engaging young people and attracting skilled employees were among the top issues they face – hardly surprising, as nearly 3.5 million positions will need to be filled by 2020.

Are there ways for manufacturers – regardless of company size, industry, or amount of revenue – to tackle these challenges head-on without compromising assets or sacrificing talent?


The following are examples of tips and tools capable of guiding you toward a healthy, sustainable pipeline of workers, which ultimately spells success for you and your company.

Engage employees… and become more productive as a result!
While time should definitely be invested in getting new, skilled workers in place, your existing workforce is just as important. Keep your employees engaged by offering them choices and opportunities to participate in operations and company decisions. Even fun activities outside of work, such as the occasional happy hour or group lunch, can boost morale, which makes employees more productive and helps generate more revenue.

Provide the right training and a gateway to development.
Employers who invest in their workers have better chances of keeping them, and offering opportunities for employees to expand their skills builds confidence and allows them to perform better overall. If your company doesn’t have training programs in-house, do some research on outside options that will help them succeed without occupying too much of their time. Investing in a company plan for business courses at a local college or university also allows for development on the professional and managerial side.

Get to know your workforce.
Whether your business sits at 50 employees or 500 employees, it’s important to be as familiar with your workforce as possible. This not only applies to day-to-day engagement, but also hard data and assessments. Less than 40 percent of manufacturers in the above study understand their workforce from a perspective of strengths and weaknesses, and getting these statistics is a great way to start thinking about long-term plans, future improvements, and ways to attract talent.

Raise awareness by acting as a manufacturing ambassador.
Young generations, such as millennials and Gen-Z, reportedly have a very negative perception of manufacturing, most of which is fueled by images of the old, dirty assembly lines of the early 20th century. However, manufacturers across the country are now seizing the chance to show what modern manufacturing has to offer through plant tours, job fairs, demonstrations, and more. Manufacturing Month, celebrated in October, is a particularly good draw, as schools, organizations, and individuals are granted access to manufacturing facilities to explore what it’s like to work in a clean, high-tech environment. This can also provide you with an opportunity to showcase the occupational benefits the sector has to offer, such as higher-than-average salaries, competitive benefits, and a stable career path.

Want to know more about attracting talent and engaging your workforce? Start the conversation by calling Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or emailing

Posted by Michael O'Donnell in Workforce

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