Not Your Grandfather's Factory: Modernizing Manufacturing to Attract Millennials
Make manufacturing jobs more appealing to prospective employees
According to an industry report, for every four trade positions from which workers retire, the industry is producing only one replacement. Worse yet, it’s predicted that in the next decade, that 2 million out of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs available will go unfilled because of the lack of available talent.
As the United States is now undergoing a “manufacturing renaissance” and looking to produce their goods on American soil again, there is an urgent and growing need for new talent. So, how do you make manufacturing jobs more attractive and appealing to prospective employees? Here are three ideas to help you get started.
- Modernize your brand. Today’s workers are digital natives. They are "wired" for technology in a way unlike any previous generations, and they expect to access it in the workplace. That’s why it’s critical for manufacturers to not only have cutting edge Industry 4.0 technology available, companies need to promote the technology used in their production process. Millennials will be pleased, if not surprised, to know that more than two-thirds of U.S. manufacturing companies are adopting 3D printing and more than half use robots.
- Utilize technology. Look for ways to better utilize mobile devices, videos and virtual reality in your hiring process as well as throughout the plant. Millennials are used to watching videos to learn about new things, so why not use YouTube or another video website to give potential hires a realistic view of “a day in the life” of a worker at your facility. Keep the videos to 2-3 minutes of less and capitalize on the “wow” factors of the job.
- Give regular feedback. Your Millennial and Gen Z workers are looking for one-on-one communication and immediate feedback. They consider their managers and leaders their peers and want to have access to them. If the only time you’re giving feedback is during the annual review process, you’re going to lose. There are lots of online tools, pulse-type surveys, and artificial intelligence programs that can help give feedback on demand. Communicating frequently and keeping employees in the loop will do wonders for engagement and performance development.
The digital nature of today’s manufacturing is opening up many opportunities for skilled positions, transforming the manual nature of a factory job to the high-tech environment it is today.
“Digital manufacturing is revitalizing our industry and is igniting new opportunities," said Vicki Holt, president and CEO for Protolabs. "The skills gap presents a critical roadblock for all of us. But it’s encouraging to see a renewed optimism from a new generation of workers, and to hear that they understand this isn’t their grandparents’ manufacturing industry. Much work remains ahead of us, but this is a good start.”
About the author:
Lisa Ryan helps organizations who want to keep their top talent from becoming someone else’s. She is the founder of Grategy and is an award-winning speaker and best-selling author of ten books, including Manufacturing Engagement: 98 Proven Strategies to Attract and Retain Your Industry’s Top Talent. Learn more at www.LisaRyanSpeaks.com