The key to engaging with Millennials is to consciously create and acknowledge value. The widely recognized trait of the Millennial generation is optimism, but with a fairly healthy sprinkling of cynicism.
They want to feel that they’re making a difference – they are keen to give, but they want to be able to see the fruits of their labour. So, in terms of the manufacturing trade, where skills are employed to create truly tangible “things”, there’s actually a really natural affinity.
We need to change the image
But, it’s equally clear that manufacturing in North America suffers from an unfashionable, tainted reputation, associated with the dirty and dangerous workplaces, the injuries and the short life expectancies of employees of the past.
Millennials don’t want to work in dingy, badly lit workshops with no Health & Safety precautions – they want to feel that they can do a great day’s work in a safe, clean environment, where they are part of a process that benefits them and the world around them.
Manufacturing is not low skill
There’s also the incorrect perception that manufacturing is low-skill and low-prestige. Education over the past twenty years has largely valued educational aspiration toward continued education and into white collar roles.
But that simply doesn’t fit everyone. Many youngster are more kinesthetic than cognitive – they work with their hands, rather than numbers. And these kinesthetic youths are the ones we should aim our recruitment campaigns towards.
Long term careers
But how do we change the deep-set perceptions that manufacturing isn’t a great trade? Manufacturing offers a great, long-term career.
When the average lifespan of employment for a Millennial stops at 3 years, it presents us with an opportunity to reflect. Why is that?
Perhaps employees of all ages just want to feel that their contribution is valuable. And this opens up a massive opportunity for us to attract new workers by offering a trade that can help a person thrive, rather than chew them up and spit them out.
And this is where FreePoint can come into the equation.
Our technology can help an individual directly observe the impact that their contribution is making to the workplace. By collating statistics, our black box technology can show how much of the day is productive. And how, by using their skills, they are using their time to produce something positive for themselves and for the wider community.
FreePoint has clear gamification and incentive possibilities. Millennials, as we all know, are tech-savvy. They spend a huge amount of their time in front of screens, playing games. They monitor the number of steps they walk in a day, they log their health statistics, they share their day using social networks and they find new ways of meeting each other.
Parents often say that this tech obsession is unhealthy, but it actually makes them great employees – they enjoy monitoring themselves and seeing positive outcomes.
Quality and Production
The data collated through FreePoint can be used to incentivize quality and productivity. But be realistic with your expectations. One of the most unattractive traits of modern employment (and likely the reason for the short lifespan of most employments) are the squeeze on the human resource – the unrealistic targets and the resultant penalizing if targets are not met.
So, if you can create an environment where an employee values quality AND productivity, then you’re heading in the right direction to attract the new generation into manufacturing.
Quality, Value and Contribution
Why should we change? We’re the ones offering the opportunities? They should change to meet what we need of them? Well, that isn’t really working, is it?
If we genuinely want to attract the next generation, replacing the roles made vacant by the retiring Baby Boomers, we need to move to a more holistic outlook on how we run our workplaces.
The keywords, here, are quality, value and contribution. Everyone wants to feel that they can contribute – young or old. But if contribution is gone unrecognized, then value is lost.
FreePoint can help to physically represent an employee’s actual contribution to the workplace and, as long as that contribution is shown appropriate appreciation, you’re onto a winner.
Change how the world see us
Have open days at your workshops and factories. Invite communities in to witness the amazing skills of the talent pool that you already have. Show people that manufacturing is high-tech, high-skill and totally worthwhile.
Show them where your products started – as a pile of things – and how the talents of your workforce forged those into items that add self-esteem to the manufacturing task force and positive contribution to the community.