There is a ton of research on millennials in the workforce just hovering by our fingertips, ready for us to hit “enter” and display almost innumerable stats, facts, and ideologies about this generation.
One thing stands out: this is a discerning bunch. They know exactly what they want in the workplace — the Center of Creative Leadership notes that it includes: evolving technology, career advancement, the opportunity to have a marked positive impact, collaboration, and workplace flexibility.
And with the impending migration of older skilled workers leaving the industry for the retired life, roughly 2.4 million job positions will be open, so it’s in the industry’s favor to align themselves with a millennial mindset to make themselves more attractive. Below are three ways to do so.
Manufacturing workplaces have long been considered behind the times — but this is a major misconception. A recent survey by Protolabs revealed that 37% of millennials view manufacturing as a high-tech career choice, which is markedly higher than 23% of baby boomers.
Today’s manufacturing landscape features robots, electronics, and even virtual reality devices in place of older mechanical systems, rather than solely a human-behind-the-machine setup.
One new digitized product, the Alchemy Playbook app, is a revolutionary mobile solution to create, deliver, and validate job-specific training right on the production floor. Managers and supervisors can record detailed work instructions and create training courses using a phone or tablet. Leaders can also deliver training at the spot the task is performed — with or without an internet connection — and quickly fill any employee gap on the production line, eliminating the brutal cost of unplanned downtime.
The manufacturing industry needs the full support and dedication that millennials give to technology, as their seamless adaptation of it in all aspects of their everyday lives drives momentum forward. They’re often the ones bringing awareness to opportunities for higher efficiency and higher quality through a fresh perspective.
Leading with tech-forward features is the key to bringing awareness that manufacturing relies on both innovation and leading-edge technology and also provides an opening to bump up against the shiny allure of other jobs.
Focus on the impact.
It’s essential to outline the connection between workers’ daily tasks and the impact it has on the company. Encouraged employees become engaged employees. Engagement leads to the feeling that the work being done has value. When workers are inspired, the culture attracts others to seek employment there as well. And when they are well aware of the impact they are having, they will stay longer. So it behooves companies to communicate with their employees often as well as broadcast their mission externally.
It will also do well for the industry in general to broadcast their transformational shift in the last two decades. Industry Week notes that manufacturers should be “proudly taking credit for: the sea change in safety results over the last two decades; working to change factory cultures to be much more inclusive and collaborative with all employees (hourly folks no longer have to check their brains at the time clock and pick them up when they leave); marked improvements in customer service; increasing use of state-of-the-art technology; jobs that pay great wages and benefits, etc.”
Emphasize career advancement opportunities.
Longevity isn’t exactly the first quality to pop into mind when thinking of ways to describe the current employment realm. However, the opportunities that manufacturing provides for rising in the ranks to hold powerful leadership positions are ripe. Earned wisdom through experience on the production floor is valuable in managerial and supervisory positions, so facilities will do well by encouraging employees and reminding them of this fact. Furthermore, on-the-job training tools make it easier to cross-train workers on a wider array of positions and gives line of sight to all involved to a career progression path.