With the shift in the labor force and the labor shortage due to COVID, manufacturers are paying more attention to culture to attract new employees. As manufacturers go through a digital transformation, they might look more like a technology startup. Manufacturers are showcasing this digital focus to promote their company to a wider range of workforce candidates.
Reimagining Company Culture in the Manufacturing Industry
Nearly every sign points to the need for a dramatic culture shift in the manufacturing industry. Longtime employees are aging out. Jobs are being left unfilled because of a skilled labor shortage. And younger generations are choosing other industries over working on a factory floor.
The COVID-19 pandemic only complicated matters as supply chain issues slowed production or stopped it altogether. Meanwhile, workers increasingly walked away from the industry, worried about coronavirus transmission on the job because they couldn’t work from home. Eighteen months into the pandemic, the struggle continues: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 437,000 people left their manufacturing jobs in August 2021.
A strong company culture isn’t a silver-bullet solution for any of these hiring, retention, and Human Resources challenges in manufacturing. But when business leaders build an intentional culture with an emphasis on improving the work environment, employee engagement, and worker well-being, they can make plenty of headway. Studies show that a strong company culture can lead to better employee engagement, which in turn can result in increased productivity and improved customer experiences.
But unlike other industries that have embraced opportunities to cultivate company culture, manufacturing has been slow to join in, according to a 2017 Gallup report. As a result, manufacturing companies have the least engaged workforce in the United States, Gallup found — making it even more critical for manufacturers to focus on and prioritize their work environment and culture.