NIB FlexiThe manufacturing industry is a sector in constant evolution and change. Technology and automation continues to redefine workforce management, while slowing demand in Europe but an increased level of activity in the UK, demonstrates the need for strong leadership through market turbulence. These considerations must be met alongside the pressing need to retain specialist talent.

As a recent Polycom white paper by Enterprise Solutions Director John Paul Williams outlines, companies are increasingly hard-pressed to invest in, and to retain, top technical talent.

He states, “Emerging and established leaders will command premium prices and field continual offers [and] as a consequence, manufacturers will need to build their talent pipeline, empower knowledge workers with the tools and intelligence they need to succeed, and provide professional development opportunities that exceed what competitors offer.”

As Williams correctly writes, this isn’t a short-term issue but a long-term concern. However, there are technology-led initiatives that can simplify the race for talent and ensure it becomes a more sustainable process.

This comes from putting visual technology at the heart of a well defined personnel development framework and global training environment to yield a loyal, highly skilled workforce. Strategies include:

Augmenting on-the-job training – bridge coaching sessions and mentoring gaps with visual communications to provide employees insight and clear steps to building their skills and careers.

The power of virtual networks – workers can come together to chart their progress, learn from others, use shared resources and receive clarity on the existing management strategy.

Specialist knowledge searching – find emerging leaders by tapping into the wealth of global talent found by accessing new sources like academia, technical institutes and other specialist talent streams.

R&D for L&D – provide employees with exciting opportunities to lead initiatives by freeing the world of research and development from closed remote locations.

Strengthen strategic partnerships – ensure global suppliers, stakeholder groups, education partners, government bodies and other business resources are contactable easily and effectively.
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Another consideration is the role of collaborative decision environments (CDEs) in delivering business improvement. For example, putting CDEs at the centre of training processes allows organisations to streamline the talent acquisition process by gathering together key participants without disruption or significant costs.

From an on-boarding perspective, companies will have a professional environment capable of supporting live and on-demand virtual training programmes so employees can be quickly brought up to speed on strategic direction and key processes.

There is also the fact that over 50% of civil, mechanical and industrial engineers are over the age of 45. Training, content sharing and knowledge sharing is a priority to ensure the next generation of workers is as capable as the last.

This ageing population is perhaps the most critical for investing in a global training environment that supports the modern manufacturer’s need for collaborative technology. It is the ideal platform to enable your organisation to build a sustainable platform for sharing and retaining the knowledge that specialists hold.

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