September 6, 2023

Workforce Agility: A Competitive Advantage for Mid-Sized Industrial Companies

5 Minutes

The industrial sector is changing. As technology accelerates and barriers to entry drop, industrial companies are searching for ways to reshape strategy and cement their market position.

Approaches to Innovation in Industrials

Innovative companies are approaching their adaptation in different ways, largely centered on the competitive advantage that their size enables. The largest players are doubling down on their size, leaning on volume and economies of scale to maintain growth. On the opposite side of the spectrum, small manufacturers are doubling down on high-risk high-reward R&D, hoping that innovation will allow them to capture revenue.

But where does that leave mid-market industrial companies? These firms are too large to take on major R&D risk, yet too small to compete on scale alone.

The answer: the winners in mid-market industrials are competing with an agile workforce, and the data to back it.

Workforce Agility

Workforce agility is the ability of a team to quickly and effectively respond to change. It requires employees who are able to learn new skills, work in new ways, and take on new challenges. It benefits from typical mid-sized company traits: a pool of workers big enough to tackle a broad range of ever-changing customer needs and a company culture that encourages speed and adaptability over the sluggish bureaucracy employed by huge corporations.

The result? A company that can match customer demand in real time, hitting sales goals in a way that stands out from the competition. 

There are many benefits to having an agile workforce. For example, agile workforces can:

  • Respond more quickly to changes in the market
  • Innovate more easily, without major risk
  • Overcome challenges more effectively
  • Attract and retain top talent

Making Agility a Reality

There are a number of things that mid-sized industrial companies can do to build an agile workforce. One important step is to collect and use competency data.

Competency data is information about the skills, knowledge, and abilities that employees need to do their jobs. By collecting competency data, companies can identify the skills gaps that exist in their workforce and develop training programs to fill those gaps. Platforms like Claira help companies centralize and leverage this data.

Companies can also use competency data to match employees with the right jobs in real time, as changes happen internally. This can help to ensure that employees are challenged and engaged in their work, which can lead to increased productivity.

In addition to collecting competency data, mid-sized industrial companies can also build an agile workforce by:

  • Creating a culture of continuous learning
  • Encouraging employees to take on new challenges
  • Providing opportunities for cross-training
  • Investing in technology that can help employees to be more productive

By taking these steps, mid-sized industrial companies can build an agile workforce that will help them to succeed in the ever-changing business environment.

Here are some additional tips for using competency data to build an agile workforce:

  • Make sure that the competency data is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Use the data to identify the skills that are most important for success in your industry.
  • Develop training programs to fill the skills gaps that you identify.
  • Make sure that employees have opportunities to use their skills and knowledge on the job.
  • Reward employees for their willingness to learn and grow.

By following these tips, you can use competency data to build an agile workforce that will help your company to succeed.

Elan Kawesch

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