Understanding the Elearning Solution to the Skills Gap Crisis

In a business environment with talent scarcity, companies cannot hire their way out of a skills gap. Elearning is the solution to nurture talent from within.

Last year, the Association of Builders and Contractors released an astonishing statistic: based on the inflow of funding for construction projects, the industry would need to attract over half a million workers over their normal pace of hiring in order to meet the demands of burgeoning infrastructure initiatives. The manufacturing industry is facing similar labor shortfalls. A joint 2021 survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute estimated that the United States would have 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by the end of the decade.

In one sense, the skills gap is nothing new. For years, the demographic trends have been clear: while manufacturing and construction jobs were filled by the baby boomer generation, subsequent, smaller generations were more likely to pursue college degrees and careers in high tech fields. Now the baby boomer generation is retiring, taking institutional knowledge with them, and leaving few replacements in their wake.

The Skills Gap Crisis in a Nutshell:

  • There is not enough skilled labor to go around causing businesses to compete for talent.
  • Even skilled workers are falling behind the latest technological advances.
  • As the current workforce retires, they are taking institutional knowledge with them.
  • Businesses are struggling to balance training needs against logistical demands when hands are already in short supply.
  • Workers need continuous and immediately applicable training to improve knowledge retention.
  • The skills gap is not only a problem of training workers, but of attracting and retaining

While the situation is urgent, businesses in the manufacturing and construction industry are not without options. In fact, their best solution may be within their own power to achieve.

Manufacturing and construction must take initiative in resolving the skills gap.

It’s tempting to view the skills gap as one of basic supply and demand. If labor is short, employers simply have to knuckle down and outbid their competition. At first glance, one might assume that this would be good news for the laborers, but the reality is more complex: If a manufacturer needs twenty workers to run a production plant but can only hire ten, then the plant can’t operate and everyone loses. This shortage has a significant impact on the economy as a whole, with the current skill gap in manufacturing alone possibly costing the US economy one trillion USD in lost growth by 2030.

In the absence of a large pool of skilled workers, manufacturing and construction businesses will have to take on the challenges of training themselves. This means recruiting unskilled workers who might not otherwise consider the industry.

A comprehensive and ongoing training program aids recruitment by removing educational burdens from a potential hire. Instead of that worker having to commit to training in a field before finding employment, they can move into the industry directly and get the training they need on the job. Continuous learning is also critical for current workforces, especially in companies who followed a piecemeal approach to their initial training, or who have failed to keep pace with technological change.

Onsite training is one part of a complete solution.

For many employers, “training” still means in-person classroom learning. The greatest benefit of onsite training is that it ensures employees have dedicated time to focus on learning new skills. After all, it’s no use to provide employees with training resources without giving them the time they need to learn them. Moreover, some training benefits from an in-person component, where employees are able to gain hands-on experience and ask questions of their instructor as they go.

But in industries with tight production schedules, finding that dedicated time when employees can step away from a job site in order to take that training poses logistical challenges that are hard for many businesses to overlook. In order for companies to get the most out of their onsite training, they need an accompanying solution that will fit in with worker schedules and be available for support right when they need it. This is where elearning makes all the difference.

Elearning training solutions offer mobile, just-in-time support.

Online learning, whether as a stand-alone solution or used as a supplement to onsite training, is an effective way to help workers retain knowledge. Learners retain information better when they are able to apply their learning immediately to a relevant task. Because elearning solutions can be accessed anywhere, workers can have them at hand while on a job site, on the manufacturing floor, or at their desks, allowing them to access and engage with training materials in the context of their work environment.

Elearning is also easier to scale without burdening onsite instructors, because workers don’t need to rely on their availability to receive the training they need. Instead, they can access materials whenever and wherever they need—and repeat them as many times as they want, thereby freeing onsite instructors to work more effectively with the time they have onsite.

Custom elearning solutions document organizational knowledge before it is lost.

While many businesses may balk at the costs of taking on their own training, there is a significant upside: They can customize their training to match their own processes. Companies that invest in a Learning Management System (LMS) can work with current skilled workers to document processes before those workers retire.

Knowledge sharing through elearning has other benefits, such as breaking down interdepartmental silos and improving cross-skill training among the workforce. After all, retirement isn’t the only threat to organizational knowledge. Workers will also take time off, switch jobs, or simply become too overloaded with work to be able to take additional time to share their knowledge with others. Moving that training into a central location where others in the company can access it mitigates the risks of any one individual being unavailable.

Training doesn’t just narrow the skills gap—it improves job satisfaction and reduces turnover.

Finally, investing in employee development is an important factor in attracting and retaining talent. Workers especially value paid training opportunities that take place during work hours—a recent Gallup study funded by Amazon found that 78% of employees who had recently completed such training said that it had a positive impact on their job satisfaction.

Once again this speaks to the value of an on-demand elearning solution that can be completed during employee downtime or within an existing workflow. Retaining skilled workers is especially important given the high costs of hiring and training their replacements. In fact, the cost of replacing an employee can run from one-half to two times their annual salary. Training can make a difference in keeping that employee from walking out the door.

Pinnacle Series offers an LMS with an elearning feature that increases productivity without adding strain to your production schedule.

At Eagle Point, we’ve taken the challenges faced by the Manufacturing and Construction industries to heart and developed Pinnacle Series as a fully functional LMS platform. Our course creation tools allow businesses to develop their own processes to record and share knowledge within their organizations while our robust content catalog comes complete with all the training materials for the most essential industry software (including Autodesk, SOLIDWORKS, and Procore). In other words, you don’t have to source both an LMS and top-tier, industry-specific content. With Pinnacle, your LMS comes equipped with the elearning essentials your team needs to get started right away.

And, because Pinnacle Series is cloud-based and mobile friendly, it enables continuous learning without disrupting workflows. You don’t have to worry about pulling a key employee off the job site or pausing operations on the manufacturing floor for repeated rounds of onsite training. Instead, they can carry their training with them, or access it from their desktops with just the click of a button.

If you would like to learn more about how Pinnacle Series provides the elearning solution to your skills gap crisis, schedule a demo with us today.

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