How to online network in additive manufacturing

networking additive manufacturing

The additive manufacturing industry is normally full of networking events, trade shows and meet-ups. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a lot of these events have moved online. While it’s easy to attend an online webinar or talk, how do you make the most out of general online networking and actually interact?

We share some of our advice, to get you on track for online networking in additive manufacturing:

1. Make a good impression

A good impression is as important online as offline.

Make sure you present yourself in the most professional manner; if you are using LinkedIn to network and connect with people, make sure your profile and photo are up to date. 

If you attend virtual networking events, dress professionally even though you are sitting at home. Virtual networking events can be tricky if you wish to make conversation and actively participate. Lagging connections or multiple people attempting to speak at the same time can come across as interruptive and rude. Make it known that you wish to interact and let the moderator steer you into the conversation.

2. Keep in touch

Success in online networking isn’t about having a large number of connections that you will never speak to. Being selective with who you connect and taking the time to find the right people and strike up a conversation can yield more successful long-term connections.

3. It’s a two-way street

Don’t just turn to your network when YOU need them. Give something back; share interesting news, comments and posts and ask how you can help. You want to be seen as a resource to others. When you then eventually ask for help, be specific and not pushy.

4. Choose the right channel

LinkedIn is the natural choice for a lot of people when it comes to networking. But keep your eyes out for other channels like online communities, LinkedIn Groups, forums and joining virtual conferences and events. Building a digital presence across several platforms may help you build your ‘personal brand’ and increase the chances of people recognising you, digitally.

 

Check out some forums and groups listed here: https://all3dp.com/2/best-3d-printing-forums-boards-and-groups/

5. When you can, take it offline

We will meet again, after Covid-19. There will be conferences, networking events and meetups – eventually. When it is possible, take your networking offline to strengthen your relationships. It may be as simple as chatting over a coffee or taking a break at an event you’re both attending.

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What does good employee management look like in a time of crisis?

How to manage employees coronavirus crisis (2)

How you manage your employees now, in the Coronavirus crisis, will leave a mark on your business long term. It will affect your employer branding, employee engagement and your reputation in the rather small additive manufacturing industry. So, what does good employee management look like in a crisis? Here are some tips and advice.

1. Create trust by transparency

Trust in leadership additive manufacturing

Trust is an important factor in any good employee management. According to Deloitte, trust starts with transparency.

It is an uncertain time for everyone, and whilst there may be some details that you cannot share with your employees, it is highly advised that you keep your employees in the loop as much as possible. Brief them on your organisation’s Coronavirus response and how the business is going, to the extent it is possible.

Relationship is about ‘knowing’ your employees, so make sure to engage in their situations. Lastly, experience is about whether you reliably do what you say. In uncertain times, trust is increasingly reliant on your demonstrated ability to act on and address unprecedented situations.

2. Answer your employee’s questions

Stakeholder management is a natural part of any crisis management. But the employees are often overlooked. According to Deloitte, nearly 30% of crisis professionals believe that employees are the most overlooked stakeholders when their organization is dealing with a crisis.

Though there may be questions you cannot answer, it is important to show that you try. As an example, you could create a publicly available Q&A section on your website or host virtual ‘office hour’ where employees can dial in and ask questions.

3. Understand that your employees deal differently

Some people thrive in a flexible environment and being able to work from home, and some people struggle to not have a fixed schedule, a fixed place to be, and to not be surrounded by colleagues. It is a weird time, so help your employees understand that it is normal if they are not at their maximum productivity level right now.

Have open chats with your employees to try and find out how they are dealing and what issues that may cause a low productivity or demotivation and try to help them.

Empathy in leadership additive manufacturing

4. Layoff with compassion

Sometimes firing is a necessary evil. For many companies, both in- and outside of the additive manufacturing industry, this is the case now due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis that follows. While there is no right way to fire someone, it is important to do it with compassion. Here are some simple principles to make the uncomfortable situation more graceful and humane

1. Have the conversation in person (or in a virtual meeting)

Take your time to have the conversation with the affected employee in person or in a virtual call. Do not simply leave them with a redundancy email. You want to split with your employee on as good terms as possible. This is especially true if you are letting your employee go as a direct consequence of the economic crisis – because it may turn out, that you will be able to hire back that person as we come out of the crisis.

2. Keep it short and to the point

3. Be helpful

Empathize with your employee and offer them all the help you can give them – offer to write a reference letter and offer offboarding using an outplacement service. We can help you with outplacement services, read more here.

5. being a good virtual manager

Leading a virtual team comes with many challenges. Here are a few simple tips on how to be a good virtual manager:

Communicate regularly

– both on a one-to-one basis and as a collective team, and encourage your team to communicate with each other

Create routines

Schedule regular meetings and agendas and keep the line of communication open

Use video

Now that we are not physically meeting each other, it is important to use video as a tool of communication. Being able to actually see people gives you insight into how the other person is feeling, making it easier to manage them

Talk about something other than work

Make sure your meetings are not all about work – after all, the watercooler moments now have to happen online

The additive manufacturing industry is still rather small, and the pool of talent is scarce, making it ever more important that your organization maintains and manages your employer branding by, first and foremost, treating your employees right. How you behave now may affect your ability to retain your best talent, and recruit great talent, when prospects start to improve.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

Interim: a solution to crisis management

interim management additive manufacturing

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”

Winston Churchill

While this quote may sound cynical, it could be the turning point for a business. The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis, and while many companies are downsizing, this may be a great opportunity to implement a low risk, low cost form of hiring, and hiring for skills critical in a time of crisis.

In times of crisis, what were previously ‘non-issues’ or ‘minor weaknesses’ suddenly become clearer and more threatening than ever. In times of crisis, businesses must review strategies, client terms, essential tasks, and so on. In times of crisis, leadership requires different skills than leadership in good times. Skills that may not be found in current management.

This is where the interim management solution comes into play. Interim employees are professionals working in a company on a temporary basis, often to fill a skills gap or to tackle a specific project or task.

Interim managers with a different skill set

In challenging times, interim managers can be ‘injected’ into a business to deal with with controversial and sensitive problems, and take an (often much needed) objective review of the business – a review which is necessary for a business to come out of the crisis in the best possible way. Interim managers are often characterized by a high level of independence, problem-solving competences and a strong will to succeed. Companies benefit from the flexibility and specialized knowledge of the interim manager, as well as being able to temporarily hire to bridge a skills-gap that fits that situation.

Janina Kugel, former Chief HR Officer at Siemens, says in an open video at Forbes, “Usually topics like empathy, agility, resilience and network are dismissed as ‘nice to have’. But exactly these skills are vital in a crisis”. If these skills are not found in current management, hiring an interim manager to help deal with the crisis could be a vital turning point for the business.

Flexibility and uncertainty drive the need for interim solutions

The interim employee solution to help deal with crisis, does not only apply to management, but could reach much further. For the additive manufacturing industry, the current coronavirus pandemic has prompted temporary and permanent layoffs. Moreover, the crisis creates uncertainty about the stability of future economies, making it difficult for companies to predict future revenue and therefore future hiring needs. Uncertainty and a need for flexibility is a driving factor for interim amongst businesses, where they may have permanent hiring freezes in place. The layoffs in the AM industry has created a pool of experienced additive manufacturing professionals, who may be available for interim assignments. This is a unique opportunity for businesses to ‘not let the crisis go to waste’ and hire talented professionals on an interim basis.

Examples of interim

Examples of what interim projects are focused on are

  • Change Management
  • Process Optimization
  • Project Management
  • Cost Reduction
  • Business Management.

According to the ddim.de (Dachgesellschaft Deutsches Interim Management e.V.), 77% of organisations taking on interim employees say that the project could not have been solved internally, underlining the importance of a fresh perspective. In Germany, the average daily fee for an interim manager is €1200 and interim contracts last on average 160 days (ddim.de).

Besides the immediate benefits of interim hiring, there are also long-term benefits of the interim hiring for organisation. Particularly, knowledge transfer. The knowledge and expertise the interim hire comes in with will be transferred to your team and remain long after the interim has left.

Tell us your experiences 

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are working on interim projects in the AM industry, and they would like to invite AM businesses to share their approach, thoughts or questions regarding working with interim talent. As a thank you for completing this 2-5 min survey, you will receive a free version of our Additive Manufacturing Talent Market Whitepaper.

Hiring in a crisis: what, how and why

Hiring in a crisis; what, how and why do it?

The Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the world and impacts economies, businesses and personal life. Increasing measures of isolation sees companies halting certain activities, including hiring. Employers are struggling to continue the hiring processes they started before the pandemic. This is because travel restrictions, quarantine, and other safety precautions are hindering face-to-face interviews. The following is our advice to companies in additive manufacturing on how to deal with hiring in a pandemic.

Hiring in a crisis - what, how and why

Why companies should not stop their hiring processes

As a reaction to the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation, companies are putting some things on pause. This includes their hiring processes. However, as it is uncertain how long this crisis is likely to last, postponing hiring for an indefinite amount of time can have significant impact on the business and its efficacy during the crisis. As the coronavirus isn’t a systematic impact on the market, but rather a shock-effect, there will likely be a sharp downturn in markets across the world, followed by a sharp upturn. By putting off hiring until the crisis is over, companies might lose the advantage to benefit from the upturn; companies may find themselves in a rather difficult situation if the market rebounds and they are then embroiled in hiring, as opposed to focusing on taking advantage of a recovering and fast growing market.

Why companies should hire and onboard Sales and Application Engineers – now

Firstly, as some companies are currently laying staff off or cutting commissions and bonuses, candidates who would have never previously moved jobs, may now be more open to moving, as they are not tied to future commissions, or may even be at risk in their current companies.

Secondly, onboarding in this period, where the markets are slow and most people have been instructed to work from home, the newly hired employees will have more time to onboard. They will have more time to understand the company, speak to colleagues, learn about the products/services and understand the way the company works. Colleagues will have more time available to invest in supporting their onboarding as well. It will mean that somebody could more seamlessly integrate into the business and can hit the ground running once the crisis is over. This is crucial for both sales and application engineers as they need to understand the products and services thoroughly before getting in contact with clients.

Lastly, if companies have hired and onboarded good sales people or application engineers during the crisis, they will be well positioned to help you take advantage of the growth opportunities when the sharp upturn comes.

HOW TO HIRE DURING A CRISIS

Hiring in a crisis

1. Replace face-to-face interviews with online video interviews

With travel restrictions in place all over the world, it is increasingly difficult for people to meet face-to-face. Moreover, many will not want to meet face-to-face in fear of contamination. Video interviewing and video conferencing are great alternatives. We live in a digital age where there is an array of video conferencing tools, the most popular being Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype.

Nick Pearce, Director and Founder of Alexander Daniels Global, says video conferencing can yield just as great results as face-to-face interviews;

“As an example, I have placed a Senior VP of Sales into an organization, who had five interviews, all of which were conducted by video conferencing. People from all over the world, from different parts of the business were connected. The decision to hire this very senior person was made, without any one of the people inside the organisation meeting the candidate physically,” says Nick Pearce.

“Another example is of a person who was required to relocate to another country for a job. Seven video interviews were held, and the person was hired without having physically met the people in the company that they were now moving countries for.” Nick continues.

 

2. Structured Process

Key to making video interviewing work is to adopt a structured hiring approach. It is vital to a successful video interview, that the company takes the time to get to know the candidate; establish rapport, ask questions about their background and experience, and do some competency-based assessment during the interviews.

 

3. Clear Communication

Having a clear communication and clear course of action is crucial to making remote hiring work.

  • Make sure all of the decision makers within the business have contact with the intended candidate
  • Agree on a clear process and set deadlines for everyone to follow structure
  • Be in consistent contact with the candidates to ensure their engagement and limit their fears during this turbulent time

As long as these initiatives are taken, decisions can and should still be made using video conferencing and remote hiring.

 

What about the fear of downsizing?

Another important consideration from companies during this crisis is the need for downsizing; one reaction to a crisis, and turndown in revenue or cashflow issues, would be to cut the headcount.

The same consequence as above applies; if this sharp downturn is followed by a sharp upturn, downsizing could see businesses lose knowledge and resources that are instrumental in taking advantage of the upturn and growth in the market coming out of the crisis. Cutting back on personnel is a short-term fix, that could ultimately impact the business more in the long term.

“Realistically, businesses are going to cut back on costs, but there is only so much fat to trim off a business. If a company starts cutting into the muscle of the business, they are effectively cutting into the strength that is going to help the business get through this crisis and succeed after the crisis”, says Nick Pearce.

Looking at the ‘fat’ of a business, means looking at where you could cut costs, and what roles or people that don’t create value to your business.

“Off the back of the financial crisis of 2008, business have been and continue to be quite lean. This means that there is a genuine risk of business cutting away muscle. I think it is important for businesses to look more long term in making any decisions around downsizing,” Nick continues.

 

What are the alternatives to downsizing?

There are a number of ways companies can reduce employee costs without cutting headcount. This way, they are less likely to suffer the above-mentioned consequences of losing muscle, knowledge and resources.

Reducing bonus payments. As a means to cut costs, companies could look at reducing bonus payments or cutting bonus payments for a period of time.

Reduce salaries temporarily. To ensure your employees’ keep their jobs, you can choose to reduce salaries across the board, for a limited period of time.

Enforce holidays. For European businesses, it may be possible to enforce holidays. What companies don’t want is to see people being unproductive for the next month or so, and then taking a month off in August, like many Europeans do. Enforcing people to take two to three weeks of their holiday now, may be another way to get through this low productivity period that we will see as a result of the crisis.

As recruiters, Alexander Daniels Global advice both companies and candidates to be patient with one another in these testing times. Although video interviews will speed up the process, candidates must be patient, as companies are setting up contingency plans and try to deal with the dynamic situation at hand. Likewise, companies must be patient with candidates and understand the raised level of fear and precautions.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

4 reasons why you could be losing your talented additive manufacturing workforce

4 reasons why you could be losing your talented additive manufacturing workforce

Do you think you are losing your additive manufacturing workforce? Your workforce is one of your greatest assets in your business so it is important to understand their key motivators and also drivers that cause them to leave. Here are 4 key reasons why you could be loosing your most talented Additive Manufacturing workforce.

1. A Lack Of Understanding Of Your Employees’ Career Aspirations

In today’s fast-paced and competitive employment landscape, beyond just the Advanced Manufacturing industry, all professionals have their own personal goals and ambitions. These maybe small-scale such as simply becoming even more competent in a skill that an employee already has, or on a larger scale such as wishing to acquire more responsibility and stepping into a management position. Whatever an employee’s professional objectives are, you should be aware of it, since this insight can add value to your business.

How? Employees don’t want to feel like their job is just their job- something they do everyday. The thought of going to work should fill them with enthusiasm, their work should stem from their passion and interests aligned to the tasks of their position. Therefore having an understanding of how you can assist them in ensuring that they remain motivated to achieve more and succeed within their position will be greatly appreciated by any employee.  This also adds to fostering an open and collaborative culture, where employees feel that they can openly speak about any issues, concerns, or thoughts with their seniors.  Additionally, it will give you an overview of factors, even trending and common aspects amongst your work force that points towards areas of improvements to be made in your employee retention strategy. For example, it  could be the case that a few of your employees mention that they don’t feel challenged enough in their position- something which they include in their professional goals to achieve, or maybe  an individual feels that their responsibilities are expanding yet not in the direction in which they wish to take within the company. Therefore again, having an understanding of and taking action on your employees aspirations will demonstrate they you value their work.

2. Not empowered to innovate

Every employee who is truly invested in their position and the company they work for often feels empowered.  Empowerment is giving your employees the power to do something, the level of control they desire within their position and the confidence to suggest things. Of course there are structures and boundaries but giving the opportunity for employees to have a say in a decision that affects their work environment is really valued by the work force. Furthermore, taking the time out of your schedule to sit down and conduct an appraisal with each employee allows them to not only speak about what they desire but also enable you to  gain valuable suggestions on areas to improve the efficiency or operation of your business. After all, suggestion to change is never a bad thing

3. Routine Jobs

Every employee appreciates the responsibilities of their position, yet working on a relatively narrow-set of repeated tasks everyday can become boring. It is therefore important to understand how you as an employer can keep your employees motivated and engaged in their position: enabling them to conduct their daily tasks but also add a level of spontaneity or change every now and then to their job. For example, this might be giving an opportunity for an employee to work on a project of a slightly different nature to what they are used to, which would still require their skills set, or taking into consideration and giving the autonomy to an  employee to try and approach a particular project in a different way.

4. Focus on specialization and not cross functionality in a position

Organizations are too focused on specialization and not enough attention is on cross-functional roles that enable professionals within a company to have a general overview of the projects they are working on. This lack of understanding can affect the inter-team dynamics and ability to see how the work that your employee does adds value to the business. The limited transfer of knowledge between employees can therefore reduce the ability of the business to grow. Additionally, there is an element of risk for the business when an employee with very specific expertise leaves the business and takes that knowledge with them, leaving a knowledge gap in the workforce.

The four points highlighted above are limiting AM companies’ capability of keeping the AM knowledge in-house and hence affecting the medium/long term success potential of the business.

Alexander Daniels Global are specialists in the arena of Talent in Advanced Manufacturing and 3D Printing, if you would like to learn and understand more about how the industry, and more specifically our business can overcome the challenges of identifying, engaging, and retaining AM talent  then get in touch with us.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

5 questions to ask before engaging with a recruiter

5 questions to ask yourself before engaging with a recruiter

The talent shortage in the 3d printing and advanced manufacturing industry leads companies to collaborate with recruitment partners in order to secure the right talent. But how do you know you’re choosing the right recruitment partner to work with?

These are 5 factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right recruitment partner for you.

1. WHAT EXPERTISE DO YOU HAVE IN MY INDUSTRY?

This is most likely the most important qualification for a recruitment company.

Today’s workplace demands specialist skills, and recruitment companies that focus on particular skills have access to a vast pool of candidates with the most in-demand skills. The specialised recruitment firms understand your hiring needs which allows you to be confident that the candidates they present meet or exceed the requirements of the role

2. WHO HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH?

You can tell a lot about a recruitment partner from which companies they have worked with previously; it will help you get an idea whether the company has experience with clients of your size, type and hiring need.

3. WHAT IS THE HIRING PROCESS?

A good recruiter will add value to your hiring process and handle the heavy lifting for you, while continuously keeping you up to date so they only present candidates who meet your unique needs. Take time to understand their process, and ask questions like how long it will take to have a shortlist; how many professionals will be included; and what evaluations will be performed by the recruiter.

4. WHAT WAS YOUR TURNOVER RATE FOR INTERNAL STAFF LAST YEAR?

A low internal turnover is a strong signal that the recruiters in the company are in it for the long run, and has earned a deep knowledge of the industry and the trends – crucial for being able to recruit top professionals.

5. CAN THEY BE A STRATEGIC ADVISOR?

You will want to partner with a recruitment company that knows the trends and recruiting issues in the industry. They should be enlightened in all aspects of the industry to be able to provide you with the best possible candidates and address the issues at hand, while guiding your HR in strategic hiring.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

Closing the 3D printing talent gap? Here's why we need a revolution

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

closing the 3d printing additive manufacturing talent gap why we need a revolution

In an industry with severe skill shortage, as the 3D printing / Additive Manufacturing industry, does the HR organisation need a revolution?

Let’s first break down how traditional HR departments work when recruiting:

  • First, HR is approached by a department looking to open and fill a new position.
  • Secondly, HR creates a job posting online and/or hires a recruitment company to assist them.
  • Thirdly, HR waits for the talent to come to them.

Now this approach is good in industries with high unemployment rates and where companies can pick talent as easily as picking food off the shelves in the supermarket. But for the additive manufacturing industry, there is a significant problem with this model; in particular with point number three. Because what if that talent does not exist? What if that talent is not available at that specific moment? What if the available talent does not meet the often very strict requirements? Therefore HR and recruitment need a revolution.

Instead of this company-centered approach, where the objective is to fill some holes (employed in the traditional HR model), HR departments should strive towards a more talent-centered model, where the company adapts to the talent. This model focuses on continuously identifying and introducing talent to the clients, on a regular basis. And based on this talent, the company develop its organisation, opening jobs that are perfect for specific candidates. This is opposed to fluctuated work with the client, where talent is only searched for and identified when the client has a position to fill. The new model means that the client will be fed with top tier talent even if they are not currently scouting for it. This makes for a much higher degree of flexibility and success rate, as the client can choose to open a job for that specific person, to avoid the talent winding up in the tight grasp of the competitor. This is absolute key in this industry, because of the severe skill shortage.

Now you might think ‘but no matter the model, there is still a talent and experience shortage – how does any new model deal with that?’.  This new model deals with that issue as it provides an opportunity for recruiters to identify and transform talent from industries with synergies to additive manufacturing. Take for example a candidate that has years of experience with engineering and industrial manufacturing, to be discarded by a company because they absolutely need a person with additive manufacturing experience. This is a clear-cut waste of talent, that can be avoided if the clients agree to this more flexible recruitment and organisation model, and in addition provide a bit of additive manufacturing training to that candidate.

Alexander Daniels Global has invented and implemented this talent-centered model in our partnership model, because we believe this is the way to close the talent gap and to enable the fourth industrial revolution through talent.

alexander daniels global is a recruitment company specialized in additive manufacturing

At Alexander Daniels Global, we have a simple vision:
‘To enable the Industrial Revolution in Additive Manufacturing through talent.’  We support organisations in the additive manufacturing industry to achieve their strategic objectives by partnering with them to identify, attract, engage and recruit high calibre professionals globally. We also work with talented individuals to source opportunities which will add value to their career.