Efficient Plant January 2018 - 38
The enterprises least affected by workforce pressures are those that attract the best talent.
'Employer of Choice'
In a November 2017 blog post for Rockwell Automation (rockwellautomation.com, Milwaukee), company executive Thomas Donato wrote, "The single most important asset to
any business is its staff." While that statement is just as true now, in the digital era, as it has
ever been, Donato, the president of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) for Rockwell
Automation, also had some cautionary words.
As industry evolves, he noted, enterprises must adapt to overcome three enormous pressures on their "most precious commodity," specifically that qualified employees are harder
to find; that job roles are changing; and that workers are also changing.
According to Donato, the enterprises least affected by such pressures are those that attract
the best talent-they're essentially, "employers of choice." Becoming an employer of choice is
no small undertaking, he observed, but the dividends are huge. And the required steps need
not be complicated or costly.
He then went on to list his key recommendations for those who want to successfully
manage the three workforce pressures he referenced and, in the process, become employers
of choice in a digital world. They're summarized here:
Thomas Donato is president, EMEA, Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee. Go to the company's
blog (rockwellautomation.com/global/news/blog/overview.page) to read his full post titled
"The Connected Industrial Future: Are You An Employer of Choice?" In it, he points to several
sources of additional reading on issues raised in the discussion.
PLUG YOUR OWN SKILLS GAP.
A successful example of this approach is a Rockwell
Automation graduate program for onboarding talent.
In it, new recruits are deliberately paired with some
of the company's most experienced staff. As Donato
explained, benefits go in both directions.
CONSIDER HOW YOUR OPERATIONS
APPEAL TO THE iGENERATION.
Is your plant old, analogue, and inefficient? "A modern environment and tools," Donato advised, "are
vital to attracting the best talent." But that's not all.
Sites need technology that's simple and intuitive-
requiring fewer specialist skills. Think in terms
of open systems, virtual reality, and integration of
consumer technology and platforms.
BE ETHICAL AND INCLUSIVE.
Or, as Donato put it, "really ethical and inclusive."
A significant amount of data suggests diverse
workforces are much happier and more productive
DON'T BUY INTO THOSE
OF MILLENNIALS AS LAZY.
Learn what makes them tick and how they can help
your operations transition into the IIoT era. Donato
cited a ManPower Group report that offers food for
thought on the subject and may break down some
Getting talent in the door is the first step. Keeping
and developing it, however, requires commitment
to encouraging people to explore roles and develop
within a company. According to Donato, many of the
most lauded employers of choice, including Google,
among others, take a much flatter approach to
hierarchy and a flexible and collaborative approach
to employment. "Remember," he concluded, "when
it comes to the skillset required in the age of IIoT,
these are exactly the companies competing for the
talent you need." EP
- Jane Alexander, Managing Editor