Millennials in Manufacturing

IMG_1165Did you know Faith Technologies has integrated custom lean manufacturing processes and concepts into our organization? Our manufacturing group called Excellerate is dedicated to providing manufactured assemblies and “ready to install” components for the job sites. There is a plethora of reasons why we include manufacturing in construction, but most importantly, the controlled manufacturing environment creates a safer workplace. It also allows process standardization, which leads to improved quality and productivity. Finally, almost every leader I speak with, regardless of the industry, is experiencing a skilled labor shortage so the more work we can accomplish offsite in manufacturing, the better.

What are you doing about your skilled labor shortage and aging workforce? It’s likely that you are hiring younger workers, such as Generation Y (those born 1982-2001) or more commonly known as millennials. Millennials are often perceived as not willing to work hard and that they lack commitment like their previous generations. On the other hand, millennials often consider manufacturing jobs to be unglamorous, boring, dirty, and tedious.

Is it true? Are millennials really different than their previous generations? Absolutely! Millennials typically want to integrate work into life and life into work. They have grown up with technology and staying connected 24/7, so when you tell them they cannot have their phone in their work area, many struggle to understand this concept. Here are some tips that employers can do to attract millennials to manufacturing:

  1. Personal Growth: Provide instantaneous feedback. If you are only doing annual reviews, you need to have some mechanism to provide more timely feedback. Remember, this generation has become accustomed to instantaneous and spontaneous feedback.
  2. Time While Working: Offer flexibility. This could include flex scheduling, four-day work weeks, job sharing, or self-managed work teams. Much of this is very difficult in most manufacturing environments; however, through cross-training and process improvements, this can be accomplished. Ask your current employees – what do they value here?
  3. Comradery: Create a team environment and mentor them. Many perceive millennials as “me-focused”; however, that is incorrect. This generation values peer relationships as a means of learning and changing the communities in which they live. Be sure to include them.

By 2025, millennials will account for 40% of the workforce. Like it or not, they are different but we need them. What are you doing in your organization to adapt and attract this talented group of individuals entering the work force? Let us know!