Accelerating productivity in a changing job market: A Manufacturing Perspective
The business world has seen continuous waves of disruption over the last several years. In this rapidly changing environment, it is crucial for businesses to focus on growth opportunities for talent while balancing the needs of the employees and the organization.
There are several macro factors that had a significant impact on the economy and businesses, such as the financial impact of the pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, inflation, trade interest rates, and more. The shifts have led to job cuts across industries. As a result, companies are being forced to reconsider their talent priorities.
To help navigate this challenge, People Matters partnered with HONO on an exclusive webinar session. The webinar featured Randeep Singh, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer at HONO.ai, and Madhu Subramani, General Manager of HR at Bridgestone India, who reflected on talent management priorities with a focus on the manufacturing sector.
Attrition rates in the manufacturing sector have risen to 8.27%, while the growth rate has been a mere 1.6%. In response, companies are scaling back on hiring efforts, flexible working arrangements, and even skill development initiatives.
Shifting talent needs in manufacturing
“The major business trends over the last three years have led to talent dislocation and a shift in HR strategy for enterprises,” Randeep noted. Now, HR teams must think about how to approach talent strategy differently. They have to consider how technology could help and whether HR restructuring is necessary. The pressure on businesses to be conservative for the past two years has also impeded overall growth, adding to the complexity of the situation.
Reflecting on the shifting trends in manufacturing, Madhu noted that, “The auto industry is experiencing two key disruptions: a shift from IC engine to EV, and a focus on cost competitiveness due to economic challenges. This impacts the auto component industry, which must rethink its strategies.”
Across industries, companies are facing the challenge of cross-industry movement of talent, which was not as prevalent in the past. For example, engineering services were not previously viewed in the context of developing prototypes or new products, “but that perception has changed,” Madhu pointed out. Therefore, HR must focus on retaining trained resources, especially those in niche industries to ensure business continuity.
Workforce and Productivity
HR Technology plays a significant role in supporting two major HR functions in manufacturing: employee productivity and employee experience.
Given the nature of manufacturing work, most of the blue-collar workforce is temporary or contractual workers. And technology plays a key role in planning for production manpower.
“For instance, technology can assist in determining the number of workers required to execute a specific order and plan for rosters. HR technology can also help create a seamless, dynamic system with other HRMS and ERP systems, enabling efficient communication between different departments and systems,” Madhu noted.
In addition to managing blue-collar workers, HR practitioners must also focus on white-collar productivity. HR needs access to relevant data to effectively respond to business inquiries, even in situations where senior management may question the necessity of hiring new employees amidst declining business activity.
Randeep shared an example from a prominent manufacturing company in the automotive sector that approached them with a productivity issue. The CEO of the company was concerned about the loss of productivity caused by unplanned absenteeism, which was estimated to be around 5-6%.
To solve this challenge, Hono.ai created an early information system that provided the plant with the necessary data on absenteeism. This allowed them to empower line supervisors and plant heads with the ability to identify the skill-based replacement for absenteeism.
Employee experience and HR technology
Another key focus area is employee experience. In today's market, where talent is scarce, building a relationship with potential employees before they join your organization is crucial. This is where technology can play a vital role.
With candidate relationship management (CRM), you can enhance your brand visibility and build a positive employer brand image in the ecosystem. Technology can help attract, nurture and enhance talent productivity, and it can provide a seamless value chain to sustain that productivity. Building a strong employer brand is essential for attracting and retaining top talent; technology can enable this process.
Speaking about innovations in experience technology, Randeep noted that HONO.ai is moving towards conversational-based HR to enhance employee experience and indirectly improve productivity. “One example of this is our recent launch of a WhatsApp service that allows employees to have their HR queries answered by a bot without having to log into the HR system. This feature can save employees time and effort when interacting with HR,” he added.
To gain insights on building a business case in uncertain times, the emergence of agile organizations, and the need to revamp the workplace for an improved employee experience, watch the entire conversation here.