Onboarding and training will also be more important, especially as technology is becoming more central in the auto industry. Companies need to think about how they can use virtual reality, augmented reality and other technologies in the training process to keep employees engaged.
Employees expect broader opportunities from their workplace than they have in the past. Employers need to adjust their employment packages accordingly if they want to remain competitive.
Companies that want to provide an attractive value proposition to workers need to have a firm grasp on the many ways the manufacturing work environment is changing. Employees are more dispersed now because of the rise of remote work, company culture is becoming an even more integral factor for employees and potential hires, and the workforce and customers alike are increasingly demanding organizations to take a position on environmental and social issues.
Leadership teams will need to be cognizant of how these shifts—both geographical and cultural—affect their approach to designing the employee development experience by delivering greater mentoring and workplace elasticity, including flexible schedules, flexible workspaces, training enhancements, wages, benefits and work/life balance among others to ensure a strong value proposition. Important considerations include:
- How to balance in-person work needs with the new demand for remote options—among office workers as well as those whose jobs are on the factory floor
- The growth of global competition for talent, given the decreasing importance of working on-site for many roles
- How best to build a workforce with diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives
- Employees’ growing expectations for technology and their desire for the same digital experience in their work-life as they have in their personal life
Along with remote work, the acceleration of digitization is also changing the composition of workforce competencies, with robotics and advanced manufacturing leading the way on many labor market needs.
As advanced technologies have become more integral in manufacturing, the sector also finds itself competing more and more with the tech industry for skilled workers. That means auto suppliers will have to compete with the likes of Amazon not just in terms of salary offers but also remote work options, as well as the training and development experiences they are offering their employees to advance their careers.
Changing skill sets of the technology-driven workforce will also require many leadership teams to pivot and develop more tech-centered skill sets themselves. Those leaders who embrace this shift in their own roles will be more resilient and likely have the most success leading teams that thrive in a modern manufacturing environment.
Companies need to reevaluate all aspects of the employee experience—including work environment, training, professional development, compensation and benefits—and look for opportunities to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The bottom line
To compete in the current battle for talent, auto suppliers need to think well beyond hiring strategies; rather, they should develop a comprehensive talent management program that focuses on fostering employees’ career paths once they are in the door. Such programs need to address opportunities for advancement and the importance of workplace culture if companies are serious about retaining talented employees and having those workers grow with their business.