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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Williams

Tackling Talent Sustainability Challenges in Manufacturing

In the rapidly evolving world of manufacturing, talent sustainability emerges as a paramount concern for companies striving to navigate the complexities of the 21st century.  


At the forefront of addressing these challenges within the industry is Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC), a global leader renowned for its innovative plumbing solutions and water control systems. With a rich heritage that speaks to a commitment towards excellence, RWC stands as a beacon of adaptability and forward-thinking in an ever-changing landscape. 


At the heart of RWC's strategy to conquer talent sustainability challenges is Sarah Brook, EMEA HR Director, who brings a creative approach to talent and development. Understanding the nuances of the current talent climate, particularly within the manufacturing sector, Sarah has spearheaded a shift towards a skills-focused methodology, diverging from traditional hiring paradigms to embrace a more dynamic and inclusive framework. 


Navigating to a Skills-Focused Approach 

The manufacturing industry, like many others, finds itself at a critical juncture, facing a dual challenge: a rapidly ageing workforce and a digital revolution that demands a new set of skills. Recognising this, RWC is pivoting towards a model that prioritises core behavioural and transferable skillsets in talent attraction.  

Image is a quote from Sarah Brooks, HR Director EMEA from RWC. It reads "At RWC, we've recognised that the landscape of talent in manufacturing is changing. We can no longer rely on the externally taught technical skills that have traditionally powered our industry. Instead, we're focusing on nurturing a workforce that is as adaptable and innovative as the technology we build. This means placing as much value in transferable and behavioural skills as technical know-how."


This strategic shift acknowledges that while technical prowess is indispensable, the adaptability, problem-solving capabilities, and collaborative spirit of its workforce are the true drivers of innovation and growth. 

RWC has engaged in a transformative partnership with Clu, the UK’s leading inclusive recruitment and talent insights platform, over the past 6 months. Under this partnership, RWC's HR team, in collaboration with Clu, has undertaken inclusive hiring risk audits, skills-based hiring training, and collaborative role-creation activities with stakeholders to challenge and address bias.

Central to this collaboration is RWC UK’s commitment to fostering inclusivity in all aspects of the talent lifecycle, aligning seamlessly with its broader talent sustainability strategy.


Academising Core Technical Capabilities 

One of the most innovative aspects of RWC's talent strategy is the plan to "academise" core technical functions. This approach involves developing internal learning and development programmes and training courses tailored to meet the specific needs of the manufacturing domain.  


By institutionalising this knowledge, RWC will ensure that its employees are not just equipped with the technical skills pertinent to their roles but are also adept at navigating the broader challenges of the manufacturing landscape. This initiative is particularly crucial in an era where certain key technical skills are dwindling in the education system, and the reliance on intergenerational hiring is no longer viable. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and development, RWC is effectively future-proofing its workforce, ensuring that its talent pool is resilient, versatile, and prepared to meet the demands of the future. 


Clu has worked closely with Sarah Brook, and the HR teams to highlight and proactively challenge biases to promote fair selection practices, successfully gaining the first level of Clu’d Up Verification last quarter – a significant step forward on this journey. 

Collaborating with Clu  

Understanding that the journey towards talent sustainability is a collaborative endeavour, RWC has partnered with Clu. This partnership is a testament to RWC's commitment to not just addressing the immediate skills gaps within its organisation but also to building a robust, adaptable, and future-ready workforce. 


"The concept of 'academising' our core technical capabilities is about more than just plugging our skills gap; it's about building a foundation for lifelong learning within our teams. By partnering with Clu, we're preparing our organisation for the future challenges we'll face in an unpredictable environment. Focusing on what people do best and preparing them to thrive will empower them to be the problem solvers and innovators who will drive our industry forward." 


The collaboration with Clu allows RWC to leverage external expertise in designing and implementing market-leading skills-based hiring processes. This synergy between RWC's in-depth industry knowledge and Clu's cutting-edge technology exemplifies a strategic approach to talent development that is both holistic and forward-looking. 


A Call to Action for HR Leaders 

For HR leaders navigating the complexities of the modern workplace, RWC's journey offers invaluable insights into the power of a skills-focused approach to talent sustainability.  


By prioritising core behavioural competencies, embracing the academisation of technical skills, and fostering strategic partnerships, organisations can not only overcome the challenges of today but also pave the way for a more resilient and dynamic future. 

The latest exciting initiative underway is the provision of skills-based hiring training to RWC UK's hiring managers and HR teams, facilitated by Clu. This transformative approach challenges traditional hiring norms, equipping hiring managers with tools to assess candidates objectively and fairly, ultimately ensuring the best people get hired, every time.

Clu has also facilitated candid discussions within RWC UK, challenging perceptions of talent and capability. By showcasing the value of diverse skill sets, Clu and HR leadership are working together to foster a culture where every individual feels valued and empowered and not restricted by their background. 


In the face of shifting workforce demographics and technological advancements, the time is now for HR and Talent leaders to re-evaluate their talent strategies. With visionaries like Sarah Brook leading the charge, the path towards a sustainable talent ecosystem within the manufacturing sector, and beyond, is not just a possibility but an achievable reality. 

Eager to tackle Talent Sustainability Challenges in your organisation?

Having a strong employer brand isn’t enough to fix the chronic issue of unsustainable talent pipelines. Embracing a skills-based approach will. Get in contact with our team of skills-based hiring experts today to:

Significantly reduce your cost-per-hire

🤏 Close your skills gap

🌎 Unleash the incomparable value of untapped talent.

Alternatively, click here to visit our website.


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