Close the manufacturing skills gap with personalized experiences

  • Posted on July 29, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Close Manufacturing Skills Gap With Personalized Experiences

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Tara Beaton.

The manufacturing industry is facing a labor shortage. As competition for skilled candidates increases and a growing number of existing employees reach retirement age, the need to attract and retain top talent has become a real concern for most manufacturers.

In 2019, the industry spent at least $26.2 billion on internal and external training programs in an attempt to nurture the skills they’re missing – but even this will not be enough to close the skills gap. More than 77% of small and medium-sized manufacturers expect to struggle to identify talent in 2021 and beyond. Despite unemployment spiking during the pandemic, manufacturers still report significant difficulty in hiring the right talent.

To tackle this skills shortage, manufacturers are taking a range of approaches, from boosting recruitment to adopting new technologies. So, how can improving your digital experience support your organization’s talent search?

A personalized welcome
Typically, manufacturers have taken a one and done approach to their public facing website, but if you want to attract the best talent, you need to take a fresh look at your digital footprint. Think about the content on your site: how often is it updated? How much do visitors engage, and with what content? Does your website accurately reflect your brand vision and tell a compelling story about where your strategy will take you?

For most, answering these questions will require collecting behavioral data to better understand the needs and goals of key site visitors. Once you’ve done this task, you can then start data-driven optimization, segmentation, and content personalization to increase meaningful engagement with potential recruits on your website.

Of course, personalization efforts go beyond your website and include the development of a multichannel strategy but building an effective web experience is a great starting point.

Diversity and inclusion
Attracting women to manufacturing could help to close the skills gap as the industry is currently missing out on their skills and qualifications. In 2016, women totaled about 47% of the US labor force, but only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. While there is a myriad of reasons for this discrepancy, what’s important is taking steps to close the gap.

When it comes to recruiting women at the mid-point in their career, work-life balance and flexibility are top priorities (because women statistically carry a heavier burden than men with respect to childcare or care for elderly relatives). So, make sure your flexible working benefits are positioned front and center for these candidates.

However, given that women are not a monolithic group, aim to use your site data to identify a variety of goals and concerns for this group, in order to provide content that is relevant to all female candidates considering your organization.

Data can be leveraged in other ways too. Guided journeys based on user behavior can help you promote the right jobs to the right candidates based on their skillset. Prospects can also be re-targeted if they meet specific criteria. And personalization can be used to increase job applications. For instance, adding the recipient’s name to email reminders can encourage prospective employees to complete their application forms for vacancies.

Reaching younger generations
Younger digital natives expect a compelling experience from the brands they engage with. So, to attract younger prospects, you must adapt your website to promote your brand identity and reduce friction points for a seamless user experience.

For this group, social responsibility is key – 64% of millennials say they would only take a job if a company has a proven track record of corporate social responsibility (CSR) values.

For example, if you’re making a net zero product, like Ford's efforts to manufacture a zero-carbon car, or you’re choosing to work with more sustainable materials, share this on your website. And meeting sustainability targets doesn’t just help you attract new hires, it also helps to increase your business profitability – 40% of manufacturers who invest in energy efficiency measures reported an increase in profits and 30% reported an increase in competitiveness.

If you aren’t working towards sustainability targets, then perhaps you have other initiatives which will resonate with a younger talent base. Are you challenging racism and sexism in the workplace or encouraging employee development and work-life balance? General Motors has set itself on a path to become the most inclusive company in the world and has commissioned an Inclusion Advisory Board to help fight social injustices across America. What could your organization do to encourage inclusivity?

Making it work
Successfully leveraging digital experience to increase hiring requires a culture shift within your organization beyond HR and marketing. It needs to be led from the top, as part of the core business growth strategy. Without this level of support and adequate funding, the initiative is unlikely to gain momentum.

To further your chances of success, consider investing in tools such as Adobe Experience Cloud to drive efficiency in your digital experience management. Using tools to enhance efficiency means your existing staff can comfortably manage a more advanced digital experience – after all, you don’t want the proposed solution to generate more hiring problems.

What are your thoughts on using digital experiences to drive recruitment? Share your comments below or connect with us on social.

Learn more about how Adobe Experience Cloud and Avanade can help you reach your recruitment goals.

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