From remote training to in-house training and innovative search platforms, companies are creatively addressing staffing needs.
Quality over quantity has always been a prevalent measure of excellence in the workforce. But just what happens in these trying economic times when neither of these two gauges is necessarily at an employer’s disposal?
According to the annual CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide 2022, 69% of employers say lack of sector skills is a challenge due to the intensified demand for the complex mix of skills needed to fulfill raised expectations. Organizations (56%) also say they have struggled to find the right procurement talent. Last year, 64% of recruiters reported they struggled to find staff for job roles including supply chain managers and senior category managers.
Given the reduced quantity of candidates available in the workforce, companies are increasingly finding ways to up their creativity in terms of innovative solutions to fill employment voids with qualified and quality individuals.
On demand workforce
As Veryable’s partnerships manager, Jonathan Katz well knows a whole host of problems ultimately stem from labor constraints across the manufacturing, distribution and warehousing industries. For this reason, Katz explained that Veryable—the 2022 MHI Innovation Award Winner for Best IT Innovation—created an on-demand labor marketplace where businesses can build a local labor pool of “highly skilled and very niched” qualified workers. The platform allows employers to maximize their use of the labor pool on an as-needed basis.
Katz said they are focused on helping manufacturing and distribution businesses in today’s environment. “Across the board, these companies are less tech enabled or are very traditional. We are really bringing these businesses a more innovative solution that gives them the ability to go from zero to 100 immediately, rather than trying to invest in robots and sensors and flashy pieces of equipment. It is a different way to tackle their labor problems.”
Katz explained that every Veryable operator has a digital profile where they can display their resume of skillsets, experience, past employers and certifications.
“It is a meritocracy,” Katz said of the natural marketplace, where lower performing operators are less likely to get additional opportunities, while higher performing operators are subject to get more work. “We want the best operators to continue to succeed and get more opportunities.”
Also, this is an operational tool for businesses to tap into a new way of looking at labor, and a new way to plan labor from a strategy and efficiency standpoint, Katz added. “It allows businesses to have direct access to thousands of local performance-rated operators who are rated by other businesses.”
Remote and virtual training
Companies are also working to better educate both incoming and existing employees by implementing innovative new educational measures to increase the quality of each potential candidate and their continued professional growth.
One such company that offers attractive educational support is MHI member FL-Simulators, the producers of virtual reality training, “The Forklift-Simulator,” for fork truck drivers. When it debuted in 2015, it won the MHI Innovation Award for the Best New Innovation and continues to provide VR forklift simulation that is deemed the “easiest, safest and most effective way to screen, train and protect your operators.”
Through this specialized VR training that is deemed to be realistic, engaging and practical, new forklift operators can make their first mistakes in simulation, and seasoned operators can get refreshed on best practices with zero risk.
At MHI member Yale Materials Handling Corporation, Director of Training and Sales Enablement Evelyn Velasquez-Cuevas said Yale has also added simulators to its lineup in a recent overhaul of the forklift company’s suite of educational training materials. Velasquez-Cuevas said Yale brought in its best engineers and trainers to collaborate with the production company to bring forth lift truck operating best practices in an engaging format.
Designed to better appeal to “the YouTube generation,” Velasquez-Cuevas said the original training videos are part of the new Yale Operator Training Program. The videos are designed to help high-intensity warehouses take control of their lift truck operator training, using enhanced adult learning techniques to support engagement and comprehension.
“We have been offering video learning for a very long time in the operator space,” Velasquez-Cuevas explained. “The workforce of incoming operators tends to be between the ages of 18 and 30, and we wanted to give this YouTube generation that is so used to learning via video a more modern approach. We reviewed how we did the videos in the past and incorporated contemporary learning methodologies to make sure the micro-learning and the quickness and retention were there, so these operators can be delivering the safety behaviors customers want to see.”
The new operator training videos range from a course covering rules of the road and standard operating procedures for lift trucks mandated by OSHA, to product-specific orientation videos. For instance, a video dedicated to Yale’s reach truck helps viewers better understand various features specific to the particular model, such as “how to” information for turning the lift truck on and adjusting the operator compartment.