Learn the five steps to upskill and reskill manufacturing employees. Find out the benefits such as improving productivity and retention.

Although the terms upskill and reskill are used interchangeably, they are not the same.

Upskilling refers to cultivating a worker’s skillset to help them excel in their current role. Meanwhile, reskilling involves teaching an employee new skills in order to transition to a new role.

For example, a programmer can be reskilled to become a systems analyst. Or workers can be upskilled to manage technology as more jobs become automated.

Half of all workers will need to be upskilled by 2025 as more jobs become digitized, according to the World Economic Forum. Workers will take on more critical thinking and problem-solving roles, leaving technical tasks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Furthermore, the growing skilled labor gap in manufacturing has created a workforce shortage, and upskilling and training are becoming necessary to ensure production capacity is met.

Explore the following topics below to learn more about upskilling and reskilling in manufacturing, including a step by step guides to reskilling and upskilling manufacturing workers.

What does upskill mean?

Upskilling involves evaluating an employee’s existing skills and helping them to advance in their current role. It helps facilitate continuous learning by providing training opportunities to develop employee skills.

It can involve refining either soft skills or technical skills to fill workplace gaps. For instance, emotional intelligence is a soft skill that can be honed in leadership roles. Similarly, technical skills are needed in many manufacturing positions. Working with technology is a must as companies automate more and more of their operations.

An HR representative with data analytics experience, for example, can hone their skills to take on more specialized tasks. This can consist of taking a class to gain more knowledge or attending a virtual conference to learn about industry-specific technology.

Upskilling staff can help your business stay on top of industry trends and pivot in an ever-changing digital landscape.

What is reskilling?

Reskilling involves learning new skills to move on to a new role within a company. It’s also a cost-effective alternative to hiring new employees.

For example, an electrician may have excellent planning and job estimation skills. The organization could choose to reskill that worker to an estimation position instead of hiring someone from the outside.

Or an employer could reskill a production assembler to work as a maintenance technician. The new role may require taking a series of training courses and completing certain safety classes or certifications.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are efficient ways to retain a workforce. Both provide opportunities to help workers grow and advance skills. Learn how to upskill and reskill staff with the following steps.

How to upskill manufacturing workers

It’s important to have a clear plan before upskilling manufacturing workers:

Step 1: Assess current skills.

It’s crucial to map employees’ current skills. This data will serve as the baseline for measuring employee progress.

A great way to outline worker skills is through a skills matrix, which digitizes and helps accurately track skills across your organization. This can help identify any skills gaps that exist in current departments.

skills matrix

Step 2: Access skills needed for the future.

After assessing current employee skills, it’s time to identify any skills needed for the future. Keep in mind that these must align with any changes expected to occur in the manufacturing industry or in your long-term business plan.

Step 3: Create upskilling goals.

Set employee-specific goals. For example, you may want each worker to take training courses to hone job-specific skills.

Step 4: Match workers with new learning opportunities.

Workers can develop skills through new learning opportunities. It’s important to offer training and development opportunities that help workers grow and foster their skills.

Step 5: Monitor progress.

By this stage, you should have mapped employee skills and outlined which ones are needed. It’s important to monitor any progress made. Organizations that digitally track employee skills can map “what the worker has been trained on” to actual job performance (“how the worker is doing”) to create a true representation of proficiency gaps and upskilling opportunities.

skills job proficiency mapping

How to reskill manufacturing workers

If you’re looking to reskill manufacturing workers, consider the following steps below:

Step 1: Identify what skills need cultivating.

Pinpoint which skills are the most valuable and create training programs to train workers on those skills. Think about which new roles need to be created.

Step 2: Integrate upskilling.

It’s vital to start training employees and offering resources to advance skills. For example, training your workers on how to operate digital tools or a specific piece of equipment can help them take advantage of promotion opportunities down the line.

skills job proficiency mapping

Step 3: Customize learning plan.

Develop a plan of core learning opportunities for any skillsets that are needed now or in the future. For example, you can customize learning plans to specific roles.

Step 4: Test and adjust.

Developing a perfect reskilling plan on the first try is no small feat. Be willing to acknowledge any mistakes and fix them.

Step 5: Invest in budget.

Allocating enough financial resources for reskilling employees is vital to company growth. Modify your budget to make reskilling a priority.

Benefits of upskilling and reskilling manufacturing employees

Workplace roles are changing and expanding in the age of automation. This change can bring about skill gaps that need to be filled for a business to stay ahead of the curve.

Upskilling and reskilling manufacturing employees has a number of long-term benefits for employers, such as:

  • Boosts retention. Investing in your employees’ skills development fosters better relationships. Workers who feel valued are less likely to leave. Improving retention can save businesses money on hiring and training new workers.
  • Improves morale. Businesses that offer training and development opportunities help their workers grow and move forward in the company. This can help employees feel like they’re working toward something and not staying stagnant within the company.
  • Improves quality and productivity. Beyond retention and morale improvement, upskilling and reskilling can have production benefits. A more skilled and trained workforce can result in improved quality, productivity, and efficiency throughout your organization.

Looking to improve upskilling and reskilling within your organization?

Augmentir’s suite of smart connected worker tools helps manufacturing organizations create a more skilled and productive workforce. Find out how our software can make it easier to upskill and reskill workers in your manufacturing operation. If you’d like a demo, let us know and we’ll be in touch.

Augmentir’s take on the trending Workforce Institute’s staggering survey numbers.

Employee onboarding is crucial to any organization. It’s even more important in manufacturing, where workers have to understand complex operating procedures and accomplish tasks in a timely manner.

An employee’s first impression of a workplace can set the tone for their entire experience with the company. An engaging and informative onboarding process can improve job performance by setting up workers for success.

Plus, an employee is more likely to speak highly of the business they work for if they see themselves as a valuable member of the team.

If want to improve your manufacturing employee onboarding process, explore this article that goes over the following:

What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process in which new hires are integrated into a company. It involves training activities, a new-hire orientation, and learning about the business’s structure, culture, mission and values.

Finding the right candidate for a position is the first step to building a successful team. Onboarding that new employee is the most important next step. Done right, this process can set the precedent for a productive, content and even excited worker.

The two main goals of the first day of onboarding should be to set clear employee expectations and introduce their objectives. Workers should know what their job duties and responsibilities are from the get-go.

How is onboarding different from employee orientation?

Onboarding is often confused with employee orientation. Orientation usually involves completing necessary paperwork, while the onboarding process is comprehensive and can last for months.

Employee orientation is a one-time event. Its purpose is to welcome new hires to a company and introduce a checklist of mandatory tasks to complete such as filling out forms.

Employee onboarding, meanwhile, consists of completing a series of activities, including orientation. It includes training over a longer period of time to help workers learn more about their roles, their teams and how their jobs relate to overarching company goals.

Both onboarding and orientation are critical aspects of introducing employees to their new work environment. They also complement each other in improving employee engagement.

How to effectively onboard new hires

Investing time in your workers is one of the best ways to retain employees and boost productivity.

A new hire’s first few weeks are some of the most important in setting up expectations and building their personal investment in your company.

Go above and beyond and you’ll reap the benefits. Overlook the onboarding experience and you could have unsatisfied employees.

Here are five ways to effectively onboard new hires:

Step 1: Create a worker playbook.

Start by giving a general overview of your business, including your mission, values and perks. Some things to include are:

  • Your customers and stakeholders
  • Work culture and expectations
  • Team members/employees
  • What company success and growth look like

Step 2: Set 90-day goals.

Giving new hires direction and actionable items from the start is important. Identify some goals to work towards to give employees the confidence to excel in the company.

Be sure to provide any resources they will need and connect employees with other workers who can help them. Having a clear plan will make it easier to track goals and collaborate with workers along the way.

Step 3: Set a time to meet and provide feedback.

Set aside time to meet with new hires to provide feedback and ask how they are doing. This can foster connectedness and engagement between you and your employee.

This also gives you the opportunity to learn more about your workers and address any concerns they may have.

It also lets you elicit employee observations of the company and its processes, which can be insightful. A new hire may offer ideas that people invested in the current paradigm wouldn’t think of.

Step 4: Outline schedule and job duties.

It’s crucial to set consistent work schedules to ensure productivity. Loose or frequently changing schedules can lead new hires to think your organization is disorganized.

Further, outlining job duties (such as required skills) can also give employees a sense of direction and ensure they have plenty to work on.

Consider digitizing your onboarding and training program to help accelerate the overall onboarding schedule and get your employees productive faster, and build a program that incorporates the following:

  • Job expectations
  • Performance evaluation
  • Role shadowing
  • Training opportunities
  • HR meetings/employee documentation
  • Compliance training
  • Ongoing assessment through quizzing

In time, new hires will have a better idea of their workload and how to create and execute their own daily task lists.

Step 5: Set up continuous learning opportunities.

The best results from onboarding come months after the process is over. That’s because setting up continuous employee learning opportunities fosters professional development.

A worker can take everything that they learned from the onboarding process and apply it to their day-to-day tasks. Give workers the support and guidance they need, at the moment of need, whether it’s immediate access to a digital troubleshooting guide, or connecting virtually with a subject matter expert. Delivering personalized work procedures for every worker allows for continuous learning and growth.

Why onboarding is important in manufacturing

Creating effective onboarding programs can boost employee engagement and create a manufacturing workforce that excels in industry-related skills.

Effective onboarding has also been shown to:

  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Cultivate existing and new skills
  • Integrate workers more quickly
  • Foster long-term employee satisfaction
  • Create the foundation for workforce development

Optimizing onboarding with connected worker technology

Many manufacturing companies are using modern connected worker technology to transform and optimize how they hire, onboard, train, and deliver on-the-job guidance and support. AI-based connected worker software provides a data-driven approach that helps train, guide, and support today’s dynamic workforces by combining digital work instructions, remote collaboration, and advanced on-the-job training capabilities.

As workers become more connected, manufacturers have access to a new rich source of activity, execution, and tribal data, and with proper digital tools can gain insights into areas where the largest improvement opportunities exist. Today’s workers embrace change and expect technology, support and modern tools to help them do their jobs.

Augmentir’s AI-based connected worker solution delivers continuous learning and development tools to optimize onboarding training for a rapidly changing and diverse workforce.

Built-in reporting for skills management and job proficiency allows you to accurately track and manage skills, certifications, and qualifications for your team. AI-based analytics help you better understand your workforce and make informed workforce development decisions.

intelligently assign jobs

Find out how our software can make it easier to onboard new employees and set them up for success. Contact us today to arrange a demo.