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Managing Talent in an Evolving Manufacturing World


The manufacturing industry is continually evolving due to globalization, technological changes, the desire for more profitability, and efficiency in competition. These changes have created the need to review how manufacturing companies manage their employees.  The traditional approach was concerned with only three aspects of linear relationships:  Acquire, Engage, and Retain.  The current generation of workers after the Great Resignation and the evolving manufacturing industry trend post-Covid has made the traditional approach of talent management less effective.


For example, both in good and bad economic times, many manufacturers continually struggle with the difficult task of hiring their highly skilled labor force such as engineers or designers.  As technology improves and the manufacturing process becomes more complex, more and more highly skilled workers are needed.  Since they are in high demand, the good ones will tend to possess certain qualifications that will enable them to excel in their career. These workers are usually well trained, highly skilled, capable of complex troubleshooting, flexible, and are able to solve problems under minimal supervision.


After the competitive task of acquiring the right team is complete, many manufacturing companies are then faced with the dilemma of how to manage them, especially with regards to evolving to address generational differences. Most manufacturing companies now see the need to shift their style of talent management.  One of the new approaches to talent management that should be embraced to ensure their survival in the highly competitive world is the “holistic model”.  This model encompasses three major interlocked aspects in addition to the previous three.  These are Develop, Deploy and Connect with a strong emphasis on capability, commitment, performance, and alignment.  The aspect of connection is important because younger generations want to work beyond the traditional functional boundaries, and they need to be involved in more challenging initiatives.  Their interests may extend outside the scope of the job description they were hired to do initially.  To attract and retain the required talent, the work schedule needs to be flexible, concepts such as remote or hybrid work should be embraced to provide flexibility, and the culture needs to be attractive.


In conclusion, as the manufacturing industries aim for global expansion, profitability growth, and productivity improvement; the significance of talent management will continue to increase in the future because of the scarcity of talent and aggressive competition among the manufacturing industries globally and within your tightening competitive sphere.


Have you noticed any generational differences in employees that you’ve found interesting or enlightening?