How digitization can help crafters with the shortage of skilled workers
Digitization – still a foreign word in the skilled crafts sector
Whether it’s making doctor’s appointments, making bank transfers, or buying groceries – what we did in person just a few years ago, we do digitally today. But it’s no longer possible to imagine our private lives without digitization. It has also long been on the rise in the workplace – whether in the automotive industry, the pharmaceutical sector, or in retail. It’s not for nothing that we talk about Industry 4.0, but there is one professional sector that seems to have been left almost untouched – the skilled trades. Only a few craft businesses are thinking digitally. Everything remains the same – too bad. After all, the new digital world is not an enemy, but a friend. It is an opportunity for skilled trades. It can help with the shortage of skilled workers, the industry’s biggest problem.
Crafts 4.0 – finding skilled workers online
Week after week, the job advertisement for a small painting company appears in the regional daily newspaper – but to no avail. There are no applicants. What’s going wrong? The newspaper is probably the wrong medium for finding employees. Young craftsmen in particular hardly ever reach for the daily or weekly newspaper when looking for a job. They search online.
On digital job portals such as LinkedIn, they keep an eye out for their personal desired position. After all, most employers already place vacancies on well-known Internet portals. According to a recent report, almost 78% of all companies now publish their job applications online.
Only the skilled trades continue to lag behind. Traditional businesses in particular are foregoing digital employee searches. They prefer to rely on already outdated media such as radio, newspapers, notices on bulletin boards, or word of mouth. Unfortunately, this does not always lead to success. With young professionals, traditional methods hardly leave an impression. On the contrary, the company makes an old-fashioned and conservative impression on them. They imagine their future employer differently – fresher, more youthful, more modern, and more progressive. It should be able to keep pace with technology. If a company does not even use online job searches, it does not appeal to the young audience.
A convincing online presence to combat the shortage of skilled workers
But online job postings are not enough. A convincing Internet presence is at least as important. An attractive website is worth its weight in gold. After all, only very few interested parties are satisfied with the information in the job posting. If an employer has aroused their interest, they first look for its homepage. If there is no website of their own, interest automatically drops. The prospective customer cannot get a good first impression of his potential new employer. After all, who takes the trouble today to inquire about the company’s history or greatest successes by phone or e-mail? Far too much effort – the job seeker would rather look around for other promising offers.
In another scenario, the interested party comes across the homepage of the craft company during his research. He eagerly scours the website for more information about the employer. Unfortunately, however, there is not much to sift through. The opening hours, prices, and services are the only things he can find out. But that’s of little use to him in his job search. He still doesn’t know whom he’s dealing with. So it’s no use having any website. It must also be meaningful, interesting, and entertaining. The visitor should get a concrete idea of the craft company. At best, he will find a small, friendly welcome on the landing page.
A detailed About Us page with all the important milestones also scores plus points with the applicant. A team page is also welcome. Here, the employees introduce themselves personally. This way, the prospective customer gets to know his potential new colleagues right away. Experts also recommend a separate menu item on the subject of job offers or careers. With one click, the visitor has all current job postings at a glance. Ideally, there should be a prominently placed Apply now button directly below the job offer, which takes the interested party directly to the online application form.
Social media – a magnet for young talent
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not just for fun. They are also indispensable when looking for employees. Craft businesses that post their job advertisements on Facebook, for example, are doing their image some good. It looks modern, fresh, and appealing. Social media engagement is particularly popular with young talents. They can imagine themselves working here.
At the same time, social media reduces the distance between employer and employee. Unlike the ad in the newspaper, the Facebook post comes across as casual and personal. It literally invites people to apply. Why not try your luck as an applicant?
Digital relief for hard physical work
Does a skilled trade equal a back-breaking job? Not necessarily. Sophisticated physical systems such as robotics or exoskeletons support craftsmen during physically demanding work. They reliably relieve the strain on joints, muscles, and tendons.
Planning is made easy with virtual reality and augmented reality
The skilled trades also help their employees with the right software. Especially with virtual reality or augmented reality, the industry is reinventing itself. Tilers, heating and plumbing engineers, carpenters, and construction workers in particular benefit from modern software. One example, kitchen planners give their customers an amazingly realistic idea of their dream kitchen in advance with convincing 3D representations. If there are any rework or change requests, these can be incorporated into the planning without any major problems. The big benefit is that customers are much more satisfied. After all, they know exactly what they can expect from their new kitchen.
Affordable IT solutions from the cloud
The good news for modern craft businesses, expensive IT systems are now a thing of the past. All it takes today for a stable IT structure is the cloud. And all that is needed is a conventional PC with an Internet connection and a web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
All data can be conveniently collected and stored in online cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud, or Microsoft OneDrive. Employees can access the information from any tablet, PC, or smartphone – whether on the road, in the office, or from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to sophisticated online solutions, several employees can also work on the same file at the same time.
This not only saves time but also nerves.