The Future of Work in Manufacturing

Photo by Mauricio Gutiérrez on Unsplash

The COVID-19 crisis has thrown a wrench in industries globally, not the least of which is the manufacturing industry. While some reports have seen as much as an 8% rise in demand due to certain quarantine-related products, most companies have experienced significant disruption in operations, supply chains, and distribution.

Many of these companies are taking this as a cue to rethink the process. But what does that mean for employees? As the sector begins to emerge into a completely new era in work, how will expectations for the hiring process coexist with any reforms?

The future of work is behavioral

The COVID-19 crisis has also posed questions of reshoring more operations. With supply chains having been interrupted or on hold while the virus rages stateside and abroad, the manufacturing sector may be bringing more jobs home--meaning a slew of hiring sprees on the horizon. Historically, hiring for manufacturing companies has focused on sourcing candidates with an aptitude for hard skills. Physical fitness, aptitude for technology, communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, reliability, and rigorous work ethic are common traits. However, as factories mount efforts to strategize growth plans post-COVID, it may be in the best interest to revamp their hiring practices.

Manufacturers grappling with questions of automation and digitization are emphasizing the quality of incoming employees. More automation means a narrower, more qualified hiring scope. Every hiring decision becomes crucial. One of the ways to best distinguish between the qualifications of two candidates may be behavior.

Recent years have seen a rise in demand for diversity and inclusion training, often modeled from the top down. While ongoing training is crucial for existing employees, from a hiring perspective, the shift toward inclusivity signals a change from an emphasis on performance to behavior. A candidate may present an aptitude for checking off a list of duties, but how are they performing them, and how might that affect the rest of the existing team? 

In an era where politicization and identity politics have permeated public, private, and professional spaces, manufacturing companies can no longer afford to hire employees that will invite political polarization into the workplace or instigate a public relations headache. The trouble is, from a hiring perspective, how can companies ensure the consistency of a candidate’s character?

Screening can help navigate change

One of the most telling metrics of a candidate’s character is their behavior, and behavior is measured best through a track record. Personal and professional references may not give the most transparent view of a candidate, and everyday behavior doesn’t show up on a criminal background check. Another solution is needed. Fortunately, social media screening has emerged as a viable supplement to hiring practices interested in more closely honing in on a candidate’s character. As more people's public lives move into the digital space, social media reports have become a powerful tool to grasp candidate behavior. Specifically, potentially problematic business-related behavior like intolerance, violence, and sexually explicit material. As the premier social media screening service, Social Intelligence works directly with manufacturing companies to supplement their screening process to make smarter, more informed hiring decisions.

As the manufacturing sector navigates the future, Social Intelligence is proud to provide companies with tangible, achievable structural changes that will have lasting effects on future iterations of workforces.

For more information on how social media screening can assist manufacturing companies read these blog posts: 

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