69.9 percent of manufacturers

 “69.9% of manufacturers top business concern is the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce.”

If you’re part of HR or management in a manufacturing company, you’re probably tired of hearing data like this from the National Association of Manufacturers. But it still hurts to read it, right?

Two generational dynamics are keeping jobs unfilled today and into the future.  The first is the exodus of Baby Boomers.  The second is the “non-entrance” of the generation that would have replaced them – Millennials.

Baby Boomers are done.

22-27% of your employees are Baby Boomers, and they’re in their retirement years.  10,000 Boomers retire every day, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the trend will continue, with more than 76 million Baby Boomers retiring in the next 5 – 7 years.  When previous generations retired, they were replaced by an influx of young, eager workers.  But unfortunately, that’s not happening now.

Millennials think you’re not hip enough.

Millennials say manufacturing is the last place they’ll work, according to 2018 skills gap in manufacturing study by Deloitte.  This sentiment, combined with the exodus of the experienced Baby Boomers doesn’t bode well for manufacturing…

What can you do about it?

Clearly, something needs to be done to address the labor shortage in manufacturing, so we shouldn’t let the millennials off so easily.  In fact, there is a way to get the millennials to come to the party.  We need to cause them to perceive manufacturing differently than they do.  We need to show them what they want to see.

Show Millennials your digital side.

Millennials love shiny digital objects.  They’ve grown up in a digital, connected world, and that’s the oxygen they breath.  A 2018 Industry Week article Millennials and Manufacturing: Eight Tips to Attract and Train a 21st Century Workforce recommends highlighting the technologies within manufacturing.

“By bringing the use of tech to the forefront, manufacturers can actively change the inaccurate perception of an outdated and dirty workplace.”

Chances are, you have technology all over your company.  The obvious is the big technology that drives the manufacturing and production processes.  But not every employee will touch that technology.

Another option is the employee portal.  Every manager and employee uses it, and millennials love it because it’s personalized – just like so many of those apps and web sites on their phones.

Make it Personal, Make it Mobile, and Make it Simple.

The employee portal empowers your employees to do more themselves – like finding answers from a knowledge base or checking the status of a request. They can access the portal from their phones, and it’s simple to use.

If you have it, flaunt it.

The Industry Week article tells us that if you promote your organization’s use of technology, you can change the candidates’ perceptions, and make manufacturing a pretty hip place to spend a career.

ResMed, a San Diego-based manufacturer of digital respiratory devices is a great example. 

You’ll find the following post by ResMed on LinkedIn, where they describe their employee portal to candidates:

“Our People team and Neocase have partnered to successfully launch ‘MyConnect’ a global people service delivery platform.   This enables Team Members across the globe to access their people-related information, links, and resources at the touch of a button 24/7”

Show your recruits what they want to see.

Generational dynamics are making it difficult to fill positions in manufacturing.  One way HR can confront the challenge is by emphasizing your digital employee experience during your recruiting process. If you’re lagging behind in this area, make a commitment to learn more – the business value is substantial.  If you’re already digital, shout it out so that your millennial recruits know it!

“To attract talent, it’s become critical to understand what your target talent pool wants most in a job.”

– Gartner Senior Principal Alexia Cambon at Gartner ReimagineHR in London.

ResMed MyConnect

Digital Workplace components like ResMed’s MyConnect engage both current and future employees.

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