As more baby boomers begin retiring, the percentage of millennials working in manufacturing is only going to increase. With unemployment so low, the job market is becoming more competitive, so it’s up to manufacturers to make their shop as appealing as possible, and it will be most helpful to appeal to millennials. While not every millennial is the same, there are several things that most millennials look for in a job, so these will be things you’ll want to advertise about your shop. In general, millennials want to make a difference, use technology, get feedback, and enjoy their work.
Make a Difference
It’s important to millennials to make a difference in the world. However, not everyone can work for a non-profit. What this means for manufacturers is showcasing the important work their shop does. This can be easy if you make things like medical devices. Obviously, those save lives and the tie-in to making a difference is an easy line to draw. The challenge comes when your products are less directly involved. However, even if what your shop makes doesn’t directly save the world, your employees can still feel like they’re making a difference. There are several options. Your shop can periodically do a drive for either money or supplies to help a specific cause, such as hurricane victims or refugees. If you’re able to fit it in, you could take some time and volunteer as a shop. If that isn’t feasible, you could offer some PTO specifically for employees to volunteer on their own.
Most people don’t know how technologically advanced shops are these days. However, having that technology and using it is a great draw for millennials. Many millennials grew up with technology in their lives, so to them it seems like a natural thing to find solutions through technology instead of a manual method. They also tend to be good at intuitively figuring out how technology works and how to use it as effectively as possible. So, you’ll want to be sure to show off the technology in your shop. Manufacturing these days is more of a question of pushing the right buttons rather than manually working on a product. This approach falls directly into millennials’ skillsets. Millennials will appreciate being able to use technology and still being able to create things.
Millennials have been raised with frequent feedback. They are used to knowing if they’re on the right track or if they need to change something. With the improvements made in technology, instant feedback has become more and more possible and even expected in some instances. Millennials want to know that they’re doing things right and uncertainty can be uncomfortable for them. What this means for management is that a yearly review is not enough by itself. Millennials, generally, would also appreciate regular check-ins throughout the year. These don’t have to be formal or intense. They can be as simple as a bit of praise for something they’re doing right or a bit of coaching for something they could be doing better. There just needs to be some time set aside where millennials can talk privately with their manager about how they’re doing and any changes they might need to make.
Millennials are more concerned about how their personal lives and their work lives mesh than previous generations have been. What this means is that when millennials are at work, they want to enjoy their job, their workplace, and their coworkers. One way to make their jobs more interesting is by gamifying certain elements. As a bonus, this can also increase productivity. For example, if you have a system capable of keeping track of pieces good and pieces scrapped after each step in a process, you can use these statistics to gamify their work. You could have employees compete against their personal best percentage, have everyone in the shop compete against each other to get the best percentage, or have everyone in the shop work to get the shop’s total percentage of pieces good to a certain point. Awarding prizes is the icing on the cake for this strategy. Beyond the work itself, millennials also want to be friendly with their coworkers. It can be hard to talk at work, particularly if the shop floor is loud, so you can arrange events outside of work for employees to spend time together. This can be something like a company picnic, a happy hour, or even a volunteering event.
Millennials aren’t going anywhere and as a shop grows and changes, it makes sense to grow in a way that attracts more employees and makes them want to stay. Although this article is about what millennials look for in a job, people outside of that generation will also benefit from these ideas. Employees of any age like to feel like they matter at their job, and that is a large part of what will convince people to work at your shop and to stay there.