Many people are familiar with the phrase, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” The same is true with the makeup of your workplace. If all your employees have the same general experiences, your shop will keep running in about the same way. If you want to find new solutions that others might miss for various problems, it may be time to bring in more diverse employees. Diversity in employees can apply to race, gender, culture, age, and many other things.
Employees whose families have been in the same industry for generations will ask different questions than employees whose families didn’t. It’s best to listen to all kinds of questions, especially if they’re from people who are relatively new to the process, to find the best solutions. For example, the trend in smartphones has been to make bigger and bigger phones. However, people with smaller hands, who tend to be women, have been looking for smaller phones because it’s hard to reach the whole screen if it’s too large. If women are involved in designing smartphones, they will likely either make the phones smaller or have a smaller option alongside the bigger one because it’s easy for those people to see a problem that people with larger hands might not.
Skills Gap and the Silver Tsunami
The Silver Tsunami and skills gap have been ongoing in manufacturing as more employees reach retirement and there aren’t as many incoming employees to replace them. More and more companies are reaching out to folks who traditionally haven’t worked in manufacturing to fill these gaps. Not only are these people needed to fill empty positions, but their work in other industries could give them invaluable insights. Maybe someone who has worked in retail has seen the abuse clothes racks go through and has some ideas on making them sturdier.
Job shops are always looking to get their jobs done better or faster. Employees from outside industries will probably have a different way of looking at things and may have ideas for making the shop floor more efficient than those in the industry. For example, manufacturing tends to lag in using technology. An employee from a different industry might know how accurate inventory software can save time and improve purchasing.
New ideas bring about more efficiency and raise the bottom line. The kinds of employees your shop tends to have can also have new ideas, but you’re drastically cutting your shop’s opportunity for improvement if you don’t recruit people that come from different backgrounds. Only by getting multiple perspectives can you see the whole picture.
Want more ways to fill the skills gap?