The Changing Manufacturing Workforce – Industrial Staffing Trends to Watch

April 26th, 2013

Today’s workforce of manufacturers are far different than the workforce that operated the machines and belts 20 years ago. Technology, innovation, human resources, and other factors have all contributed to the environment in the manufacturing plant that is ever changing. There are hiring challenges in the manufacturing industry.

The United States is the biggest manufacturing economy in the world, employing 1/6 of the private sector jobs, around 17 million people. (Source: NAM.org)

However, when trying to attract employees to the workforce of manufacturers, there seems to be a large number of qualified candidates not applying because of their ‘idea’ of what the environment and atmosphere will be. It is these beliefs and myths about the manufacturing work that is putting up ‘barriers.’

So, what can the manufacturing industry do to break through these barriers to attract highly skilled workers?

  • Consolidate all the worker’s intellectual capital and give all employees login access.
  • Encourage shared insight from all employees about their jobs, including their suggestions on how to do things in a more streamlined manner.
  • The younger workforce expect to be able to use communication, open door methods, and idea sharing to excel in their careers, so having this in place is a great enticement to the qualified candidates in the younger generation.
  • BYOD, also known as Bring your own Device is a program that lets employees work from anywhere they want on their own equipment, while being connected to a secure network.
  • The BYOD program is very successful in increased employee productivity, while enhancing employee collaboration and plants. The BYOD program is a great incentive that can be used to attract and retain qualified, new employees.

Cisco published a report last year showing that 40% of survey respondents said they would take a job that paid less money, but offered more in their choice of device, mobility, and social media access than a job that paid more money with less flexibility. This is a huge piece of information that companies need to know in order to get the next generation employees on board. The innovative technology in the evolving manufacturer’s workforce in combination with the collaborative mindset is what the younger generation is looking for when they envision the future of the manufacturing plant.

How do we do this?

In order to give employees the ability to be mobile and work with devices, you need to implement technology and resources on the plant floor.

  • Tablets
  • Phones
  • Netbooks
  • Social Media
  • Instant access to non-networked employees (site managers, plant floor workers, project managers)

It is important that the front line workers in R&D, maintenance teams, sales, and all other teams are able to connect in a moment to get answers and resolve situations that can come up. Having access to all of these people and intertwining the way they can communicate will immediately elevate the production level of the manufacturing workforce, while inviting in a brand new generation of workers that are already tech savvy, and part of the newest technological trends.

Product development, sales, service, manufacturing, and even human resources should all be connected in order to extend knowledge where it needs to go, encourage collaboration globally in your plant, and deepen business ties and relationships within your own workforce. Stark Talent can help you to reach these goals, with on demand staffing support.

Challenges for Identity and Access Management in IT

April 19th, 2013

With the wave of new information technology crashing over the IT market on an almost daily basis, there is an ever growing concern over corporate identity and access management. Most companies either have internal data management systems or they’ve switched all or a portion of their information management over to cloud based servers and devices. Yet, almost weekly, there are reports of computer hackers gaining access to corporate data and in some cases, taking entire networks down in seconds. When this happens, it costs companies thousands in lost productivity and revenues.

Identity and Access Management for Businesses

There are several challenges for identity and access management that a business will want to consider, as we move into an ever increasing web-based world. One is giving the key administrators access to large databases of information without losing integrity of data. Second is protecting the sheer volume of information created on not only internal business systems, but also by the growing number of employees who access work via mobile devices, social networks and portable platforms.

Methods to Protect Corporate Data

Fortunately, there are some ways that an IT department can use to protect corporate information and identity management.

  • Privileged Account Management – Throughout the course of employment, the IT department can control the actual access rights and activity of users on an individual basis. This helps to lock away certain information that some users are not privileged to see. By using this method, security and compliance is enhanced through access control.
  • User Identity Administration – Automating IT administration and understanding who is using corporate information systems can support a securely managed lifecycle. By identifying individual access and usage data, information is managed in real time and can be archived for future investigations or breeches. UIA can also provide reports of events to aid in prosecution of offenders.
  • Access and Activity Governance – If the corporate IT department needs to, it can limit access by one, some, or all users to stop the spread of computer viruses and retain secure access to protect information from outside sources. Additionally, this governance can be controlled internally by upper management to authorize employee’s use of business-critical files when needed.

While there will never be an end to information theft, companies can take an active approach to prevent and stop the access and destruction of corporate data by using one or all of the above methods. Hiring quality IT staff is also a good approach to maintaining the integrity and safety of your data.

If you are looking for manufacturing and IT industry news, visit the Stark Talent blog each week for more resources. Contact Stark Talent today to land your next top candidate!

Is Your Manufacturing Company Ready for a Mobile World?

April 11th, 2013

In a global business climate, even manufacturing businesses need to make the move to the realm of the mobile web. Many business owners have missed the boat, to some degree when it comes to creating mobile websites or at least making their own business websites “mobile friendly.” You really can’t afford to do that with your business. It’s time to get on board with mobile manufacturing technology and the benefits it provides.

Why You Must Go Mobile

Business today is moving to the smaller screens of mobile devices and tablet PCs. People are taking their business on the road. They’re doing research at kid’s little league games and waiting in the various lines they’re all called upon to wait in from time to time. If your website isn’t ready for them when and how they want to access it, then you’re missing out on business most manufacturing companies can’t afford to lose. These are just a few things you can do to make your business a little friendlier to various mobile devices.

Optimize Critical Website Pages for Mobile Devices

There are a few steps that go into this particular process. However, making the time now to create a site where all the vital pages with information about your business and how to contact you, will get you business your competitors are missing out on if they haven’t taken this necessary step quite yet. More importantly, the sooner you get the job done, the faster your site will begin to trend in mobile circles.

How do you go about optimizing your site (or at least a few pages on your site) for mobile devices? Follow these quick steps for starters.

1)   Eliminate unnecessary text. It’s difficult to read large chunks of content on mobile devices. Keep the information relevant, necessary, and brief on pages you optimize for mobile devices.

2)   Lower load times. There are plenty of people who use mobile devices that are still operating from 3G networks. They don’t all move at the speed of lightning. If your site takes too long to load, people will move on. Eliminate pictures, music, and other items that add to longer load times when optimizing for mobile devices.

3)   Keep it simple. A complex design will make it difficult for people to navigate from one page of your site to others. Make your mobile pages as user friendly as possible—bearing in mind that tiny boxes and closely spaced links will prove tricky to navigate on mobile devices.

Create Mobile-Ready Email Marketing Messages

One of the most common things for people to do is check emails on their mobile devices. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for you to make changes to your email marketing messages that are mobile-friendly. If people can’t easily navigate from email to offer, email to phone call, or both, then you run the risk of missing out on the big sale you’re hoping to land from your email marketing efforts.

You’ve made it to the manufacturing mobile age, whether you’re ready for it or not. However, if you embrace the future of marketing online ahead of your manufacturing competitors, you’ll have a serious advantage (of time and experience in the field of email marketing) over them when they finally take the plunge. Remember to also hire manufacturing employees who are familiar with mobile manufacturing technology, from Stark Talent.

Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal

April 5th, 2013

Drafting a resume for an information technology job can be one thing, however without a great IT cover letter your resume may not even get considered. To write a cover letter for an IT assignment, there are some basic principles that can help you stand out as a top candidate. Remember that the average recruiter will spend approximately 20 seconds looking at your cover letter; after that it’s over. Make your cover letter count with these tips.

Start with a friendly, yet professional greeting

Give the recruiter something positive to read right off the bat with a warm and respectful greeting. If at all possible include the person’s first name (call ahead of time to ask who this is). Thank this person for his or her time and consideration.

Indicate what position you are interested in

As soon as your greeting is created, immediately indicate what assignment you are submitting your resume for. Recruiters are often responsible for placing multiple candidates into a variety of IT assignments, so you can ensure getting into to “maybe” pile simply by adding this one little detail.

Highlight your strengths as they relate to the assignment

Now this is where your cover letter really counts. Write a sentence that indicates your excitement about the possibility of working with the company, followed by a bulleted list of at least 3 reasons why you have the right skills and experience to do the job. Keep this concise and avoid sounding overly boastful. Focus on the keywords used in the actual job description advertisement.

Give a reason for the recruiter to call you

Now, you must end your IT cover letter with a call to action statement. Instead of just saying “looking forward to hearing from you” try something like “I am available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4 pm EST to discuss the needs of your business. Please give me a call at your convenience.” This gives the recruiter an actionable item to follow up with you right away.

Try not to sound desperate in your closing

Some job seekers make the mistake of ending their cover letter with something like “Gratefully Yours” or “Respectfully”; however these can sound too much like you are trying to appeal to the recruiter in a desperate act. Instead, stick with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” for a more positive ending to your cover letter.

Include your contact information

The most important aspect of a great IT cover letter is including your contact information. Do not assume that the recruiter will have your cover letter and resume together. Files can often get displaced or corrupted by an email. Include your full name, a good phone number and email address at the bottom of your cover letter.

Remember, your IT cover letter is your very first impression you will make to a recruiter. Keep it short, to the point, and professional. Write an original one for every job you apply for. You’ll soon be on the way to a great new career in IT at Stark Talent.