How HR technology is helping to grow the manufacturing industry

man pointing at spreadsheet

The pioneering nature of the manufacturing industry requires continuous innovation and effective marketing.

However, the complex nature of people management means that HR is often diverted away to more routine tasks. The answer? Implementing specially-designed HR technologies, so that manufacturers can divert HR towards growing the company.

Here’s how.


According to Engineering UK 2016, engineering in the UK accounts for approximately 25% of UK turnover, with around 5.4 million employed. By 2022, more than 250,000 new recruits are needed to meet demand. However, the number of graduates is currently about half this amount.

This means competition for candidates is tough. What’s more, it’s not just about attracting the right talent – it’s about retaining the right workers as well.  That’s where HR technology can serve several benefits in manufacturing recruitment. For example, more precise and skill-based candidate selection, and retention. 

Safety and compliance

The manufacturing industry is subject to strict health and safety legislation. There are many technologies that can help with legal requirements, and ensure that all safety precautions are being followed, and from a HR perspective, that adequate training is being given, recorded as completed and refreshed with regularity.

Company-wide networking

Large companies spread across a number of premises or offices can be difficult to keep organised and consistent. A solution lies with cloud-based servers, where employees can access resources like timetables, holiday and absence records, anytime and anywhere. 

Simplifying payroll

Manufacturing projects present a number of additional challenges. For example, they are more likely to manage multiple projects or jobs, work on government contracts, manage variable hours, involve overtime. Naturally, contract work can mean high employee turnover, adding to the complexity.

In response, there are technologies that combine rostering and payroll services, and individual recording of overtime or holiday requests – all in real-time. Of course, this level of speed and accuracy means employees are happier to do overtime, knowing it will be recorded and paid promptly. Plus there’s less need for HR teams to spend time on lengthy administration tasks.

Accuracy and affordability

Another key advantage is around automation. Compared to paper-and-pen, setting up workflows (for example automatically sending out payslips) is a ‘set it and forget’ it approach.  Affordable to set up, cost-effective to maintain, and reducing the risk of human error. This approach keeps the system reliable, timely, and gathers data for insight.

However, technology isn’t just about saving money. As Danielle Harmer, chief people officer at Metro Bank, says in a recent article for HR Magazine: ‘Be careful about implementing technology just to save yourself money. You need to think about using it to impact positively…whether that’s through greater choice, better information for them, or a nicer experience.’

Accessibility and security

Self-service is another transformative element.

Enabling employees to manage some of their own admin saves HR time and money, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks. It also promotes empowerment and imparts trust to employees. In a modern, technologically-centred business industry, new solutions and innovations are continually being adopted to help make the workplace a more efficient place to be.

As HR technologies continue to expand and offer more services, they are likely to make companies more efficient, more functional and better places to be a part of. As Alexandra Bode-Tunji, programme lead for skills and capabilities at Transport for London (TfL), explains, “Technology provided a huge opportunity around how to do things differently, to concentrate on the people element.”