There is a skills gap within the manufacturing industry and owners feel it. Experts have said that the gig-economy, skilled industrial freelancers and STEM education could help bridge the gap. Unfortunately, there is no one magical answer, but what might help the manufacturing industry as a whole could be a young workforce comprised of millennials.
The manufacturing industry could benefit from a younger workforce’s knowledge of modern technology. The companies succeeding in this industry are ones that collaborate with millennials. Learning from their methods and taking note of their ideas best utilizes a young workforce.
It is no surprise that millennials have a tight grip on the technology of this generation. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to recruit this next tech generation into the manufacturing industry. We have manufacturers asking how do I hire/retain millennials to my company and what actionable items are there to close the manufacturing skills gap in my company?
Creative Recruiting Methods: Take note of your current methods of recruitment. Odds are those methods are considered to be “traditional” or outdated. Use customized incentives specifically geared toward millennials. Perks like flexible work environment, different compensation packages and remote possibilities.
Work Environment: Many companies do not have the resources for these incentives. Millennials are not as picky with their salary anymore. Many would sacrifice salary to work for a company that offers a more open work environment (no offices), or a corporate message that does “good” for the world and the people within it. Establishing a work environment that feels freeing and comfortable to millennials is key.
Communication Is Key: Millennials want to make the world a better place, but they also want to make themselves better. Offering real-time feedback and in-person evaluations will show that you care for your millennial worker. Make sure the follow up is in person, nothing makes you feel more like a number when a piece of paper with the title “EVALUATION” is shoved in your face and you have to turn it into HR. Your workplace is full of people, so treat them like it.
Embrace Internships: A more creative approach to educating millennials about this industry could be an apprenticeship program/opportunity. Internships are great company investments. Internships allow you to directly groom the next generation for the manufacturing industry. Advertise your internship opportunities in the local University. This shows that your company is actively involved in your local community (a big part of the “doing good” message).
Be Social: Many employers are afraid to interact with social media and its’ various platforms. When millennials are job searching, one of the first things they do when seeing a potential job opportunity is to go look at their social media accounts. By doing so, millennials see a glimpse into your company culture and many decide then and there if they want to apply or not, based on your social media profiles. Upload a picture or two from the company picnic, or a few employees going out to lunch. This reveals a fun and energetic work environment that many millennials look for.
Most importantly, make sure to be authentic. It sounds cheesy, I know, but millennials can see straight through any disguise. With the existence of websites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, millennials will find out exactly what kind of company (and employer) you are. Let them find that out from you, not from a third party. I guarantee they will respect and appreciate the honesty.
Follow these items, and you will be sure to land a solid younger workforce to scale your business and better the world. This list is by no means all encompassing, so don’t just take my word for it. But if you try anyone of these items and they work, feel free to let me know! I am always encouraged to hear about your success with bridging that overwhelming manufacturing skills gap.
Patrick O’Rahilly is Founder and CEO of FactoryFix.com.