Tech Needed to Equip a Skilled, Deskless Workforce | #education | #technology | #training

Desktop view of the ONE-Profile Card enables manufacturing employers a single-step solution for efficient compliance verification – simply scan the card’s QR code to immediately verify the employee’s certifications and proficiencies. (All images provided by ExpertusONE)

A new era of work has begun, and we now rely on digital technology to govern our processes and projects every day at work. With a remote and deskless workforce, companies must equip their teams with tools that counter the challenges of modern work—specifically, technology that minimizes errors, makes learning more efficient, and promotes upskilling. All of these objectives come together in one critical component of the employee experience: learning and development.

Training is at the heart of many high-priority employee concerns. If employees want efficient, organized workplaces, they must be trained during onboarding so they can understand company processes. If employees want opportunities for advancement (and they do), then they need to have access to advanced training courses that yield advanced certifications. If employees want to work in a collaborative community and have a sense of belonging at work, they need tools that help them engage with their coworkers.

All of these factors can be summed up in a single question: How are companies equipping their employees with the tools they need in order to thrive?

Unfortunately, many companies are not equipping their teams at all.

Across industries, employees are frustrated with technological tools that make work more cumbersome, tasks more difficult to achieve, and communication more siloed. Tools designed to make teams more productive and efficient are having the opposite effect. All of these issues could be remedied with a single strategy: optimize the corporate training programs for the desk-less workforce by identifying and implementing advanced training technology tools.

According to data from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the current manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030. One of the biggest challenges manufacturers face within this worker shortage is filling highly skilled jobs that require technical training, according to Deloitte’s report. Many of these roles require licenses or certifications to ensure skillsets are up to date and accurate. Manufacturing technology is smarter and more complex than ever, which requires more complex training and certifications.

Manufacturing faces additional challenges, such as widespread supply chain volatility and an influx of evolving technology that requires new levels of certifications and proficiencies in order to manage. The key to mitigating the risks of the ongoing worker shortage is to get people through the door and continue to equip and train them over time. If manufacturers not only want to stay afloat but also to succeed, they must prioritize training and serve their teams with the vital information they need to do their jobs well. They need tools that facilitate learning—like a digital LMS platform—and ones that make it easy to track and prove certifications and skillsets. These training strategies must be created with the unique needs of manufacturing professionals in mind, specifically the need for training that shows detailed processes of automated technology in an increasingly sophisticated industry.

Help From A.I.

Manufacturers need both entry-level and highly skilled workers in order to maintain workflows, progress in the industry, and further develop as a business. The challenge, of course, is finding and equipping the right workers to do those jobs. Once companies get new employees through the door, it’s critical to hit the ground running with targeted training. You cannot afford to waste time on generalized training that doesn’t directly add value to your employees’ workplace experiences.

You must personalize your training recommendations based on each employee’s unique learning needs. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be an extensive, hands-on project that requires managers to assign individual courses to individual employees. The use of artificial intelligence in corporate training makes it possible to provide every learner with personalized courses based on their unique needs—without any extra thought or administration from managers. For example, when using the ExpertusONE digital LMS platform, A.I. learns each users’ specific training needs—based on their job description, the courses they have already completed, and other factors such as their peers’ training statuses—to offer personalized course recommendations.

This is especially critical in manufacturing as companies deploy robotics, machine learning, and other intelligent tools. The more robotic tools in a workplace, the more rigorous safety regulations will become. From cobots to drones, wearable technology to IoT sensors, manufacturing professionals will need to be trained on the purpose and the functionality of intelligent tools. Further, depending on an employee’s role in the process, they may need training both for the tech tools that they use and for the jobs that they do. With this in mind, it’s essential to eliminate the clutter of training and provide your teams only with the training content that they need. This way, you’ll be able to equip your smaller workforce with essential skills and continue to train them over time.

Detailed, Engaging Learning Courses

A highly skilled workforce needs highly detailed training. In manufacturing, your employees may need a variety of training courses with a lot of detail. This combination may result in extremely long, specialized training, and it’s paramount that you make these courses as engaging as possible. When working with a remote and deskless workforce, it’s necessary to provide digital tools that help keep people engaged no matter where they are working—whether at home, in an office, or in the field.

Your learning tech stack must include an engaging learning platform—consider a digital LMS—that offers interactive course features. These tools are essential whether you have courses developed or if you are starting from scratch because they can be integrated, implemented, and applied to training to make it more engaging. Add quizzes and knowledge checks throughout the course to ensure training retention. A digital training platform is essential for the deskless workforce, and it can create better training outcomes as learners have better access to resources. They can learn on their own time and at their own pace, referring back to training resources whenever they need to review information. With a digital LMS platform, you can also add videos that show specific technical processes so users can learn the steps to complete a task—even if they’re not on the floor or in a factory.

Compliance Insights

Companies in the manufacturing industry need to ensure compliance so team members and the company as a whole remain safe and secure. With this in mind, training managers need data-based insights into compliance metrics so that they can track, record, and review the team’s compliance statuses. When assembling your learning technology stack, keep compliance in mind and look for a digital LMS platform that automatically tracks compliance and generates reports.

This is a proactive step that manufacturing leaders must take to combat the challenges of both worker shortages and the influx of advanced manufacturing technology. In order to ensure that a smaller workforce is still skilled and equipped to perform advanced tasks, you will need to ensure that each team member is current with the latest courses and training offerings. Compliance insights can help managers keep their teams on track by providing both high-level information—like the percentage of compliant team members across the organization—and specific insights, such as one user’s compliance performance. These varying levels of detail are critical when managing a highly skilled workforce in an industry that requires various certifications and upskilling courses.

Mobile view of the ONE Profile Card enables employees’ credentials to be verified anytime, anywhere from any device.

Certification Tracking

Workers in the manufacturing industry are now required to have more skills and certifications than ever before. They must be knowledgeable in tech, analytics, and mathematics. On top of this, one of the most impactful qualities a worker can demonstrate in this industry is the willingness to learn, upskill, and expand their knowledge. Manufacturing industry leaders must cultivate a highly trained and highly trainable workforce, a set of employees and contractors that are willing to pursue further education and enrichment.

One way that both companies and individual employees can demonstrate this is through certification tracking, verification, and management. Look for technology that makes it easy to track and measure certifications and verify them when on the go. ExpertusONE recently launched the ONE-Profile card, a digital QR code that, when scanned, immediately populates with the learners’ certifications and proficiencies. It’s an award-winning technology that makes it possible for workers to prove their skills competencies no matter where they are located. This component of learning technology is essential for our increasingly deskless workforce because it can provide peace of mind for safety and quality managers who need to verify the skills of those on the factory floor. Even further, it gives employees the opportunity to position themselves as ideal candidates for advanced opportunities by showcasing their certifications.

Remote work has revealed just how critical learning and development is to the employee experience across industries. In manufacturing, remote training is both more complex and more high stakes because skillsets are more technical and varied. Professionals in the manufacturing engineering field must understand the latest technology advancements, the nuances of mechanical requirements, and other advanced skillsets. Even further, each professional must manage and track their own certifications to ensure that they meet industry standards and stay competitive in their market.

We have entered a new era of work that requires more flexibility and adaptability from employees and companies alike. It is the responsibility of companies and leadership to provide employees with opportunities to learn and advance their skills. When employees are equipped with a flexible, engaging, personalized learning technology stack, they can pursue upskilling initiatives and advanced certifications that keep them competitive in their market. The manufacturing industry has had to learn to do more with less because of the ongoing worker shortage, but this challenge has caused a positive change. Companies are making efforts to equip and empower their teams with the technological tools needed to develop their skills and advance in their industry. If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in a learning technology stack to enhance your employees’ experiences and create a more skilled and empowered workforce.

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