Getting Your Share of the Labor Pool

UT CIS Workforce Status Review Shows You How

By Tim Waldo, CIS workforce development specialist

There are five challenges that virtually all manufacturers must deal with when it comes to finding the right workers:

  1. the skills gap,
  2. applicants failing to pass drug tests,
  3. attracting younger workers to manufacturing,
  4. retaining good workers and
  5. an aging workforce.

This is the new normal.  It doesn’t look like it’s going to change soon. If all manufacturers are facing these challenges, then the ones that have a better internal workforce strategy will be the winners in the battle to attract and retain talent.  So, how do you give yourself a competitive advantage when it comes to your workforce? You can’t control the external forces that affect the labor market, but there are things you can control that could give you a real advantage.

A number of questions come up when you begin to think through this. Are our current workforce development efforts effective? Does our team appreciate those efforts? Are they bought in to the plan? Does our workforce development plan connect to and support our overall business strategy? How do our efforts compare with the current trends in workforce development? How well do we attract local talent?  What strategy changes will we need to make to improve our team’s stability, performance and reliability? Where do we start?

The UT CIS Workforce Status Review (WSR) is a diagnostic tool that helps Tennessee manufacturers identify gaps, opportunities for improvement or potential issues related to workforce development that might hinder success. This assessment also allows the opportunity to compare your company’s workforce development efforts with those utilized in the wider labor markets.

The WSR is an in-depth, focused review of the critical components of internal workforce development activities. This confidential, unbiased assessment is designed to look at key areas such as the organization’s workforce development history, recruiting processes, training programs, attrition patterns, retention efforts, safety systems and the ways technology might affect the workforce. 

The WSR process starts with research in the local market to establish your company’s Talent Magnet Score – a measure of how well positioned you are to attract local talent. Then, UT CIS team members come to your facility for a one-day data-gathering event that involves, among other things, exploratory discussions with select members of your executive staff and some of your frontline supervisors. Your entire team will be offered the opportunity to participate through a 14-question, anonymous survey. This survey helps your leadership team gauge the overall buy-in of the staff regarding the current workforce development efforts.

After the information is gathered and analyzed, we deliver a final report. The WSR report contains findings, recommendations and suggested solutions to help identify what steps or resources might be necessary to align workforce needs to your overall business strategy.

It has been said that we should work to control those things we can control. The new normal in the labor market means that now, more than ever, Tennessee manufacturers should carefully consider how they could improve their internal workforce development efforts to ensure that the talent they need will be available. The UT CIS Workforce Status Review can help begin that process. 

To learn more, or to schedule your Workforce Status Review email Tim Waldo at twaldo@utk.ecu or call 865-974-3185.