The Asia Pacific (APAC) has long been a manufacturing powerhouse. Then, the world stopped.
As waves of COVID-19 swept the region over the past 24 months, it crippled manufacturers, robbing them of employees due to lockdowns and illness. Today the industry is regaining its momentum as labour shortages gradually ease and manufacturers pivot toward digitised decision-making processes, all of which means its workforce will be more important than ever before.
Here we explore the fast-changing employment landscape in manufacturing and share three smart ways background checks can help manufacturers return to normal, faster.
Investing in a quality workforce
The employment stats are stark. Nearly one in three global manufacturing supply chain jobs has been negatively impacted by the pandemic—either due to termination, reductions in hours or pay, or other worsened conditions—with APAC, specifically, suffering the largest pandemic-induced decline in manufacturing employment, according to the World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2022 Report.1
In response, manufacturers are increasingly moving to “smart manufacturing” practises that augment their operations with automation and digitisation to help mitigate labour-related issues and optimise overall productivity and performance. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2024, 40 percent of organisations in the region will use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and improve the accuracy of supply chain forecasts and 25 percent will use vision analytics in operations (in place of human eyes) to assist with quality inspection, security, performance, safety and more.2
However, instead of reducing the need for workers, this merely increases demand for skilled employees. A 2022 KPMG global manufacturing survey underscores the need, with 84 percent of CEOs saying they plan to increase headcount in the next three years.3
Knowing that APAC manufacturers are emerging from the pandemic leaner, smarter and far more tech-forward, hiring decisions in this industry are a more important investment than ever before. Below are three ideas to help organisations better compete for the top talent, hire smarter and put people to work faster.
Background checks can help
As a critical step in the hiring process, background checks give employers the essential insights they need to make smarter hiring decisions. Conducting common-sense candidate research during the hiring process helps employers determine if candidates are: 1) who they say they are; 2) capable and qualified to perform the job; 3) worthy of a more competitive offer; and 4) a “good fit” for the organisation.
In addition, background checks can also help organisations:
- Reduce employee-related risk of workplace violence, accidents and other threats
- Cut costs associated with churn and turnover, which can be a problem in manufacturing
- Enhance performance, productivity and innovation by placing the right skilled workers in the right positions
Here are three ways manufacturers can use background checks to make smarter hiring decisions that help them return to normal, faster.
- Just do it—make the decision to screen workers, before hiring them. Unlike the rest of the world where background screening is an accepted best practice, APAC manufacturers have yet to fully embrace background checks.
First, candidates sometimes push back, saying it questions their integrity. Yet, throughout Asia, integrity means everything in business. Knowing this, employers must take extra steps to ensure the ethics of their workforce align with their organisational culture. This is particularly important for high-profile leadership positions, yet it’s also a “top-down” mindset that should be modeled throughout the business by performing at least a baseline background check on all workers.
Second, some believe background checks slow down hiring by adding an extra step or hurdle candidates must pass. However, instead of slowing down hiring, background checks can help streamline hiring. For example, establishing a baseline background check for all candidates—think: identity validation, right-to-work check, etc.—can help employers build a pool of “pre-qualified” candidates they can work with and instantly advance through the hiring process, as needed. While more in-depth checks may require extra time, they can also cut hiring costs in the long run by helping employers quickly identify and hire the “best fit” candidates who are less likely to quit or be terminated.
- Integrate and automate background checks within the hiring process. Just as APAC manufacturers are streamlining and digitising supply chain tasks, HR teams can apply the same principles to their hiring and background screening processes.
Integrating background check technology into an existing HR system optimises the hiring workflow, while putting important decision-making insights at the employer’s fingertips. For example, instead of using separate systems for online applications and background checks, organisations can integrate the two technologies to automate much of the hiring process and access everything—including their background check statuses and results—via a single, consolidated interface. This can help speed up hiring, while easing the administrative burden of using two separate websites.
- Develop tailored background check packages. Manufacturing is a widely varied workplace, with some jobs such as data scientists requiring advanced degrees, and others, such as assembly line workers, only requiring basic identity validation. In any case, it’s important to confirm those requirements, no matter how complex or basic, prior to employment.
Instead of performing individualised background checks on every candidate, create automated background check packages based on job categories or the level of access the employee will have to sensitive information or populations. For example, this might involve creating three levels of background checks. Level 1 could be a basic package for entry-level workers that includes identity verification and a right to work check, while a Level 2 package for supervisors and management adds additional checks for criminal, education and employment and a Level 3 package for executives includes global sanctions, media checks and more.
This speeds up hiring by automatically assigning the right, risk-appropriate background check to every employee. Additionally, it can enhance productivity and performance by ensuring that candidates meet all job requirements, are qualified for the job, and capable of producing in the position, sooner.
As the world looks to APAC manufacturers to lead the industry into the next generation of manufacturing, these regional employers should rely on smart background check strategies to help them quickly identify, hire and invest in the right skilled workers to advance their business. At First Advantage, we’re here to help.
Check out our Screening Solutions for Manufacturing Tip Sheet for exclusive details on who to screen and how to create the right background check packages for your manufacturing organisation.