Hiring, Motivation, Training

Human Resource Challenges: Corporate vs. Manufacturing

Human Resource Managers across industries struggle with meeting similar goals. Recruitment, succession planning, and workforce development are only a few concerns which seem to transcend the boundaries of business categories. So, if the challenges are seemingly universal, can the same be said of the solutions?

If you have had the opportunity to serve in both corporate and manufacturing settings you already understand that the answer is no. The dynamics of today’s workforce has changed. While colleges and universities continue to graduate record number of degree bearing candidates, skilled labor and trade schools are witnessing a steady decline in enrollment. So, although the broad topics may sound the same, the engagements are very different.

Benefits and Compensation

Much has been written about the work style preferences of Millennials, however, many of those ideals simply don’t transfer to the manufacturing industry. While some non-monetary based benefits such as flex time or work from home options can be tailored to suit the corporate world, they simply can not translate into the skilled labor market. Manufacturers must balance budget constraints while remaining creative and competitive in wages, retirement plans, and health care contributions to attract the attention of potential talent.

Training and Development

Attracting top talent is the trademark of every successful recruiter. With the advent of LinkedIn and other such social media sites, recruiters have mastered the art of targeting passive candidates with specific experience. Industrial recruiters, however, may not have the luxury of recruiting from a pool of proven talent. Industrial recruiters often find themselves attracting talent based upon potential. Through the use of on-the-job training programs, paid internships or in partnerships with trade schools, many organizations elect to develop and train their own workforce.

Recruitment and Retention

One of the most notable changes in talent recruitment has centered on the longevity factor. Millennials have altered the mindset away from the negative connotation formerly associated with organizational changes. For corporate recruiters, the advantage has been tremendous. Passive candidates, who may have avoided entertaining offers in the past, are far more likely to engage if a recruiter can demonstrate the potential for career advancement. Alternately, for manufacturers the loss of a current employee is both substantial and consequential. When organizations have invested money in the education and certification of their in-house talent, such a loss can prove costly in terms of productivity and money. While HR managers work to encourage long term career commitments, the existence of a smaller candidate pool often creates active competition between organizations.

Performance Appraisal – Methods and Frequency

Many corporations have sought to re-design their appraisal systems to evaluate multiple areas from multiple sources. Capitalizing on less formal and more frequent opportunities for performance discussions often eases the stress of annual evaluations and prevents performance from lapsing into corrective actions. Unfortunately, the traditional model frequently found in industrial settings evaluates performance using measurable outcomes based upon quantity, speed, quality, and accuracy. Such formal appraisals are often seen as a reactive tool for improvement rather than a proactive guide to career progress.

Many Human Resource Managers working within manufacturing organizations find themselves facing both corporate and industrial challenges. There is the need to recruit, retain, develop, and evaluate different workforces each with their own set of metrics and expectations. For many organizations the solution will be found in outsourcing. With so many options available, in-house HR Management can outsource specific tasks according to expertise. While being the HR Manager will never be easy, the solutions have never been closer at hand.

For assistance with any or all of your human resources needs, HR Affiliates, provides solutions.