As the sector changes rapidly, future success will depend on upskilling the workforce and boosting employee engagement in the manufacturing industry.

The manufacturing industry is undergoing a technological revolution that will have a significant impact on the skills required from employees. Industry 4.0 is set to transform work through exponential technologies such as AI, advanced robotics, cognitive automation, analytics, and the internet of things (IoT) (Deloitte).

More than 80% of manufacturers say they must invest in new technology to meet customer expectations. And 75% say it will fundamentally change customer expectations. Yet there is a significant skills shortage in the industry. Organisations will need to invest time and resources in both upskilling the current workforce and developing effective recruitment strategies to meet future needs.

Industry 4.0 and employee engagement in manufacturing

While there is understandably a level of uncertainty about the increasing dominance of technology, manufacturing employees can take comfort from this:

Contrary to some predictions, technology is likely to create more jobs than it destroys—as it has done historically. This is evident in the tight manufacturing labour market conditions prevailing globally.”

The Future of Work in Manufacturing (Deloitte Insights)

So, the challenge for organisations is not necessarily the loss of jobs, but the need for upskilling and reskilling. This will enhance the careers of the existing workforce with the digital skills required today and tomorrow.

Training and development will also serve to increase employee engagement in the manufacturing industry. The need to attract science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) graduates and younger generations into the sector means offering modern digital recruitment experiences, on-the-job training, and commitment to skills progression.

Cultural factors including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are also important when it comes to retaining increasingly purpose-driven employees and closing the skills gap.

How to prepare your workforce for Industry 4.0

Here are some key steps and principles for organisations looking to get future-ready. You may not realise it, but existing manufacturing payroll and HR software can play a role in helping you manage this important transition. Below are some examples of how Zellis HCM Cloud can assist.

1. Identify skills gaps and training needs

The Zellis Attainments Module is tailored to each organisation to log each staff member’s skills. It helps organisations identify their skills gaps and training needs.

2. Provide training and development opportunities

The Zellis Training Module enables companies to build training and development plans for all team members. This will help to close the skills gap and improve employee engagement. It will also show employees that the company is investing in their career development, which is a great way to retain them.

3. Encourage lifelong learning and continuous professional development

Prepare a capabilities matrix, mapping the performance and potential of the entire team. This will help identify which employees need training and support. Linking performance management and training will help support the development of team members. This creates a culture of continuous learning and development, which is essential for Industry 4.0.

4. Leverage technology and digital tools

Our self-service MyView app is an excellent example of a digital tool that can help organisations prepare their workforce for Industry 4.0. The app provides better connectivity to HR systems, giving employees easy access to payroll, leave management, and more. It will help to improve employee engagement and create a more efficient workforce.

Get future-ready with the right manufacturing payroll and HR solutions

With the right preparation, companies can exploit the opportunities of Industry 4.0 and stay ahead of the competition.

As the leading provider of payroll and HR solutions in the UK and Ireland, we’re already helping manufacturers evolve and succeed, with efficient payroll, recruitment, and workforce management tools.

Learn more about our work with leading manufacturers, from Dyson to Serco.