Maintenance Q&As

Should I have a Multi-Craft or Craft-Specific workforce?

Answered July 28 2019

The answer to this question for most companies today is a multi-craft workforce. Technology, advanced tools, and changing markets means that businesses must always be on the lookout for new opportunities. As a result, the workforce must have the flexibility and agility to change along with these business requirements.

Changing Workforce

A generation or two ago, businesses were much more likely to hire a craft-specific workforce. People stayed with the same company longer and perfected their niche in whatever job and industry they selected in the early days of their career.

However, the speed of technology and the advent of artificial intelligence have been changing the American workforce ever since. As a result, one study showed that the half-life of skills is about five years and getting shorter.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 45 percent of all current jobs could be automated, forcing employees to develop new, higher-level skills throughout their careers.

Advantages of Multi-Craft Workforce

For a company that has hired or trained a multi-craft workforce, there are many advantages from an overall business perspective.

First, this company will be extremely flexible as a whole. As certain team members are required for particular tasks or absent for personal reasons, others can easily jump in to keep production and processes running smoothly. In addition, if the business changes direction, employees can adjust their skills accordingly and provide a shorter ramp-up time.

A multi-craft workforce also allows a business to operate leaner and grow in planning efficiency. The flexibility of the workforce allows a company to better meet customer demands by shifting and changing priorities quickly and easily.

In many cases, employees also find multi-craft environments more professionally fulfilling and see their value in the overall company.

Multi-craft workforces can often lead to better employee retention, greater loyalty, and higher employee satisfaction.

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