“Today’s young people love luxury. They have bad manners, disrespect their elders and prefer to chat rather than exercise.” Who do you think said this?
This quote is attributed to Socrates in approximately 432 BC. Yes, we have been complaining about the younger generations almost since the beginning of time. However, it is different today. So unless you’re ready to adapt your business strategies to the younger generations in the workplace and soon to enter the workplace, your company could be in big trouble.
Let’s start with a brief review of the generations and some characteristics of each:
Traditionalists (Silent Generation, Older Generation): Born before 1945, this group was bred to “pay their fair share” and work their way through an organization. They were a hard-working authority, fiercely loyal and trustworthy. They didn’t expect to be recognized for doing their job, after all, that’s what they were paid for.
Those born in the postwar period: Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomers are the generation for which the term “workaholic” was coined. They lived to work and put in the “contact time” necessary to climb the corporate ladder. His extreme dedication to his career caused an imbalance in his personal life, leading to a high divorce rate and an increase in single-parent households.
Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers were the first generation of latchkey children who were raised to be independent. They saw the cost of spending too many hours in the workplace for their parents and therefore wanted to spend more time with their families. This is the generation that introduced the concept of work/life balance. Not only is it the youngest generation, but their parents also took them away from manufacturing/trading occupations, causing the current large age gap in many plants.
Millennials (Generation Y): Born between 1981 and 2000, Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workplace. Similar in size to Boomers (75 million Millennials vs. 80 million Boomers), just like Boomers, this group is poised to change business as we know it. They grew up embracing technology, recycling and initiatives to take care of the planet. They are the most educated of the generations and have to deal with paying off large student loans. Because they are used to receiving continuous feedback, they expect the same level of recognition, respect, and relevance that has been instilled in them since childhood. Serving a mission bigger than themselves and making a difference is an important personal initiative for them and they seek to join organizations that make the world a better place.
Generation Z (iGen): Born after 1996-2000 (the years get confusing when defining both Millennial and Next Generation), this group has seen the struggles Millennials face: “helicopter” parents, high student loan debt, and the negative perception and a reputation for being “lazy and entitled”. This generation is distancing itself from Millennials as much as possible. Now that there’s an app for everything, Gen Z is used to being part of a “gig” economy. Because they value flexibility, they are much more likely to consider contract work and entrepreneurship.
So how does knowing this information about the five different generations in the workplace affect you and your manufacturing business? By understanding the general traits of each generation, you can learn to accept and appreciate differences and create a more harmonious workplace.
Here are ten strategies to help you attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z workers:
1. Develop a career plan. During the first ten years of their career, Millennials, on average, will change jobs four times. They will either switch to different positions within your company, or take their skills elsewhere. By creating a personalized career development plan for all new hires, you can give your people the opportunity to experience different jobs within the company to see which best suits their skills. Hear what employees want in their career and help them achieve their goals.
two. start early. Because Gen Z isn’t seeing the value of higher education, they may go straight into the workforce. Tapping into this pool of candidates as early as possible can give your organization an advantage over those companies that are waiting for potential employees to graduate from high school or college. Promoting your business through “Make Day” activities (first Friday in October) is a great way to connect with elementary and middle school kids and their parents.
3. Be flexible. Offering flexible hours, cross-training opportunities, and time off to work on charity projects are benefits that resonate with both groups. Younger generations thrive on lifelong learning, professional growth, and having a mission, rather than just a job.
Four. Keep clean. Unfortunately, the manufacture has an image problem. Many younger workers see manufacturing companies as dirty, boring, smoky and depressing workplaces. Providing a clean and safe environment with good air quality not only improves worker productivity, morale and retention, it also plays a critical role in recruiting manufacturing employees who want to stay with you.
5. Listen. Millennials and Gen Z’ers aren’t necessarily workers who want to sign in, sign in, go home, not think about work once they leave. They have a lot of energy and want to contribute their ideas. Embrace their unique perspectives, harness their ideas, and recognize their involvement in achieving company goals.
6. Respond fast. Multitasking is a way of life for these generations. They are used to watching videos, hanging out with friends, and texting at the same time. Because of this constant connection, they also expect to be able to communicate immediately with their boss and expect a quick response.
7. promote safety. Because both millennials and Gen Z were used to being buckled into a car seat, wearing a safety helmet, and always being protected, they expect the same in the workplace. Convey everything you’re doing, and how you’re going above and beyond, to provide a safe workplace that protects them.
8. instill confidence. Millennials don’t appreciate feeling like newbies. As the most educated of the generations, they already believe they are leaders. For that reason, they want to be recognized for what they contribute and have a desire to contribute with confidence from day one. This group likes to learn new skills and technology; encourages them to do so.
9. go on excursions. Expose your employees to industry trends and best practices by taking them or allowing them to attend trade shows, vendor open houses, and demo days. Let your team see the new technology for themselves so they can see where the industry is headed.
10. Offer to be a mentor. Establish mentoring, not reporting, relationships between your employees and their managers or other regular employees who can show them the ropes. Set expectations so both mentor and mentee know what is expected of them. Schedule frequent check-ins to see how the relationship is working and have a defined period with the option to continue if needed and desired.
When it comes down to it, Millennial and Gen Z workers want the same standards that all of their employees want: to be treated with respect, recognized for their efforts, and feel valued by the organization. However, the rapidly changing workplace means that leadership teams must look at all aspects of their business and make the necessary changes to keep up with the technically savvy, always-multitasking, time-valued workforce. future.