TIA Industry Survey: New Vulnerabilities of Employees and Businesses

The TIA Industry Transformation Survey is open and we want you to share your challenges and opportunities that come with transformation and adapting business operations during the pandemic. 

Our TIA industry survey is showing that Covid-19 has shifted our focus to employees like never before. In 2019, before Covid, most companies’ focus was firmly on the customer. In the times of Covid, enabling and supporting employees was by far the greatest challenge. And in 2022, as Covid restrictions and safety guidelines are relaxed, the focus seems to shift to value creation and innovation. This evolution highlights several impacts from one of our survey respondents.

The big challenge for us was to maintain social distancing and other COVID requirements in remote, outdoor locations where troops of workers and cabling supervisors worked side-by-side over long distances. Without access to hardware sites it is not possible to manage performance – We had to reorganize the schedule of shifts and send enough people home to keep everyone safe.”

From an employer perspective, our employees are not only vulnerable and needed to be protected, they were already one of our higher cost areas.

“Because our customers were impacted, they reduced their orders and we lost sales. But there is a limit to how much a company can afford to lose. As a result, we unfortunately were forced to lay off many of our employees.”

The cost reduction provided an initial level of relief but it also became a source of new challenges as the conditions changed.

“As work picked up again very quickly, it got to the point where we had to hire new employees again. But it’s harder to find ways to find and train the new people. In addition, it takes longer to find new qualified employees, which makes it even more difficult for us to ramp up the growing workload. And, even when we were able to find and hire qualified staff, we suddenly had too many new people with too little knowledge of the way we work.”

This is a new challenge for many like this organization, but not all businesses follow the same path.

“Because we weren’t able to recruit, we had to rebuild the knowledge base with the remaining team.”

But challenges don’t stop there. In China, there is “a new and growing challenge to find talent because the younger generation in China does not want to work in the manufacturing industry.”

For this reason, Chinese members are building production facilities in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. This solution to a talent problem is a good example of how overcoming one challenge can create an unexpected new one. “We cannot copy the operation and the process flow (from China) to these new locations. These new locations operate according to different regulations, and internal communication alone costs us a lot.”

After all, employees and employers are a lot like the nodes of an economic network. The resilience of these network relationships – as our survey demonstrates – is, as the last comment shows, a first-class security measure against the vulnerability of everyone.

“Our customer trusted us, kept ordering and let us produce the solutions. And even though we couldn’t deliver as contracted, they still order and continue to do business with us. This also made it possible for us to document our knowledge base from experienced employees over the course of the pandemic crisis.”

Take our online survey before it closes on June 11!  It only takes 15-20 minutes and stories can be provided through voice recording or typed text.

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