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Over the past decade, 2.4 million industrial jobs have remained unfilled in the United States, costing the economy a whopping $2.5 trillion.
Industrial companies are affected by this skills shortage as many are unable to achieve their maximum operational efficiencies. In fact, job vacancies are cited as the top reason why seven out of ten companies failed to meet projected production targets in 2022.
By upskilling your existing workforce, you can address many of the challenges associated with today’s talent market.
The benefits of training your workforce
When you invest in your employees and their future, they will be happier and more motivated, resulting in higher productivity and higher retention rates. Additionally, a highly skilled workforce can fill existing and future skill gaps, freeing you to recruit amid an unprecedented talent shortage.
Focusing your attention on your existing workforce will attract more talent in the long run. Research shows that 41% of people are attracted to employers that offer employee training programs.
After all, it is far more cost-effective to train the internal workforce than to recruit externally. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it costs a company 6-9 months’ salary for an employee to replace them. It’s much easier to invest in your existing workforce who have proven competent and loyal and avoid the high costs associated with recruiting, onboarding and training external candidates.
With a wide range of new and exciting technologies, it’s easier than ever to upskill employees.
3 Ways to Use Technology to Upskill Your Workforce 1. Develop skills remotely
The global and distributed workforce requires a novel approach to employee learning and development. Gone are the days when an organization would gather its entire workforce in one function room to deliver core training modules or fund a week-long conference abroad.
Instead, industrial companies should ensure that employees can gain qualifications through online courses, demonstrate new technologies from the comfort of their own homes and expand their knowledge through webinars, live stream seminars, remote mentoring programs and podcasts.
This may require an overhaul of existing career paths and professional development opportunities, and you will need to invest in online training software and competency assessments. But the payout will be worth the extra effort. A 2021 Gartner survey reflects this trend: up to 84% of manufacturing companies said they are improving their learning and development programs.
Employees are not always engaged or even compliant when it comes to learning and development courses. This is especially true when they are expected to take their time during a busy day at work.
Technology can seamlessly gamify the learning process, as training software can log who has completed certain courses or modules, rate and rank users based on their engagement and performance, and nominate achievers for additional recognition and rewards.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality
E-learning software is increasingly offering simulation-based training that provides employees with an immersive and realistic workplace experience. Rather than relying on academic theory or online tests, workers can put their skills into practice in real work scenarios.
Simulation training makes it possible to quickly upskill large groups of people, teach complex skills, and closely monitor employee progress and performance.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) also have broad applications for industrial companies, allowing employers to inform and train their workforce in a controlled and safe environment.
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