Manufacturers Need Great Technology to Drive Workforce Skills Development

Manufacturers are still trying to recover from a net loss of almost 600,000 jobs during the height of the pandemic. Finding and sourcing talent is an obvious barrier, but even when employees are hired, there are several challenges.

While many jobs — especially at the entry level — do not require technical know-how or industry knowledge, many manufacturers find it challenging to hire workers with the “human capabilities” required to succeed in a production-oriented setting. These include:

  • Following directions
  • Willingness to learn
  • Follow-through

These workers come from all age groups, demographics and educational backgrounds, so a one-size-fits-all approach to learning will not work. Similar challenges apply to employees with some technical and applied skills, such as computer numerical control machinists, welders and maintenance technicians. They may not have all the right specialized skills, depending on the sector of manufacturing they come from and the goals of the employer.

Only 58% of manufacturers believe they are prepared to upskill and reskill employees to meet their business needs, Brandon Hall Group research shows.

The key is having a sound understanding of employees’ skill levels and their interests and aspirations. Then they must “personalize” the learning by offering experiences best suited for the learner’s schedule, access to technology, and learning style. Personalization is important for all types of skills, and Brandon Hall Group research shows technical skills, soft skills and leadership skills are all sought to a high degree by at least 80% of manufacturers.

This scope of upskilling and reskilling can’t be managed manually. Sophisticated technology is required. But 49% of manufacturing organizations do not have the right technology ecosystem in place to develop and deliver personalized learning at scale, according to the research. 

To upskill or reskill employees in this difficult manufacturing environment, the research shows, employers need a workforce skills management platform like the one offered by TalentGuard. This technology:

  • Provides visibility on workforce skills
  • Shows gaps between current skills and those the manufacturer needs for future success
  • Empowers informed decisions on how to develop the workforce to their full potential
  • Assesses and monitors competency and skill development
  • Enables reliable measurement of the business impact of skills development

The great majority of manufacturers (86%) say they must work to improve their approach to personalized learning so they can upskill or reskill their existing workforce and the new talent they hire.

But to get the biggest return on their learning investment, manufacturers must have skills intelligence. Powered by AI and machine learning, skills intelligence can pull from various data sources to provide visibility on skills and create analytics and other types of insights. This enables upskilling and reskilling to be driven based on a realistic view of the current state and what is needed to drive a better future state in terms of skills and workforce capability.

Manufacturers face myriad challenges in hiring and developing the skilled talent they need to drive business objectives. Great technology that provides visibility on skills and the best means for upskilling and reskilling is critical. 

Download this new eBook to understand the critical issues.

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.