The manufacturing industry is adopting advanced technology and transitioning to Industry 4.0. For this to succeed, manufacturing HR is more important than ever. The sector needs to recruit, train, engage, and retain the right employees.

How to improve employee engagement in manufacturing? Manufacturing employers should respond to evolving worker needs and the changing landscape. A strong focus on training and development will benefit both the employee and the organisation.

Key themes for manufacturing HR

1. Revamping the workforce for Industry 4.0

What employers are doing today

Around two-thirds (64%) of manufacturing companies are still in the early stages of digital transformation. But investment has increased in this area over the last few years. So has the adoption of emerging and advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics tools.

Manufacturers are striving to make themselves more agile, flexible, productive and resilient in the face of market change. This is expected to continue over the next 12-18 months, according to Deloitte’s 2023 Manufacturing Industry Outlook indicates.

How manufacturing HR is supporting the changes

As manufacturers increasingly move from manual to digitised and automated business processes, they need a workforce with new, enhanced skillsets. To achieve this, some manufacturing HR teams are ramping up the search for recruits with a strong education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects. Others are implementing apprenticeship schemes to attract young employees who can learn on the job.

But just as vital is the upskilling and reskilling of the existing, often ageing workforce to take on new and emerging roles. Going down this route could also help to stem the high number of people retiring, which is in turn resulting in skills and labour shortages. To this end, many employers promoted high performers and less experienced candidates to managerial positions during the so-called Great Resignation in a bid to retain them.

How Zellis technology can help

Having an effective talent management system that provides a single, centralised platform to help identify learning and development needs across the workforce is vital. Our Zellis solution is integrated with our cloud HCM platform. This makes it is easy to understand individual employees’ needs and the progress they are making in training and compliance terms.

Introducing digital onboarding applications also provides a means of streamlining processes to ensure new staff have the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. Online training likewise means employees can benefit from personalised learning experiences and acquire Industry 4.0 competencies at their own pace.

2. Enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

What employers are doing today

Manufacturing is one of the sectors traditionally most dominated by white males. Only 26% of the workforce is female and 13% from ethnic minority groups, according to UK technology accelerator Made Smarter. Only 2% of manufacturers have an average workforce below 30, and a mere 5% have a person of colour on their board, reports Make UK.

But the sector looks like creating 32,000 new jobs over the next five years. To beat its growing labour and skills shortages, the sector must broaden out its traditional talent pool, which includes attracting younger talent. The downside is that only 2% of 18-to-25 year-olds say they would currently opt for a career in manufacturing.

How manufacturing HR is supporting the changes

Manufacturing HR leaders are making DEI one of their key priorities and will invest heavily in such initiatives over the next few years. In fact, some two-thirds of manufacturers either already have a DEI strategy in place, or plan to develop one in the near future, as Make UK research found.

How Zellis technology can help

Zellis’ DEI Dashboard is fed by the data employees voluntarily and securely provide through the self-service MyView platform, widely used for HR and manufacturing payroll. Collecting and visualising the data enables HR and business leaders to get deeper insights. They can identify target areas for action and measure DEI progress.

3. Improving the employee experience

What employers are doing today

Traditionally, manual, labour-intensive, transactional work has dominated the sector. But HR is now exploring how to improve employee engagement in manufacturing, which has often been low. The aim of enhancing the employee experience is to help reduce staff turnover and boost retention.

How manufacturing HR is supporting the changes

Talent management approaches, such as career pathing, staff development and succession planning, are no longer being restricted to white collar workers only. more progressive companies. are also starting to explore more accommodating ways of working, from part-time employment to flexible shift patterns.

Another important factor is how to support financial wellbeing. Almost 60% of employees feel that having a policy that does so is important. Some 65% also see it as a key consideration when evaluating whether to take a new job.

How Zellis technology can help

Our workforce planning software makes it easy to create different schedules, rotas and timesheets. This not only helps managers improve the employee experience but also ensures their teams are as productive as possible, saving time and improving quality.

On the financial wellbeing side, MyView PayNow provides employees with flexible pay access, pay tracking, instant savings, and financial tools and advice to help take the money pressure off.

Zellis MyView provides employees with secure and convenient access to self-service manufacturing payroll and HR systems from their mobile device. They can also update their personal information, which includes payslips, holiday requests and expenses.

Seamless digital platforms are particularly valued by the latest group to enter the workforce, Generation Z, who are used to the convenience of easy-to-use smartphone technology.

Discover more about our work in manufacturing payroll and HR.