Millennials have been shaking up the workplace since the mid 90s and are now the largest generation in the American labor force, making up 35%.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that millennials will represent 75% of the workforce by 2030. Yes, you read that correctly.

And while millennials haven’t always been the poster child for manufacturing jobs, they shouldn’t be discounted or forgotten.

In fact, the reality is that the boomer generation is starting to retire and the bridge must be gapped to continue with business as usual.

Millennials have often been misunderstood in the workplace, giving them a bad reputation among employers. And it is true, they do have a vastly different approach to work than the generations before them.

group of 7 diverse millennials at a round table with plants everywhere

However, different doesn’t have to be mean bad. Learning and embracing their motivations sooner than later will help employers, manufacturing especially, gain and keep millennials at their company. The great news is that the perplexity of this generation has made them the most studied in history, providing endless resources on how to help them (and you) thrive together.

Companies must make a dedicated effort to hire and retain great millennial talent. Here are some things you might be forgetting on your quest to grab the attention of this hyper-connected generation.

You’re not emphasizing what is in it for them.

group of 5 diverse millennials outside in a park smiling at the camera

Millennials have remained in the dark about the many benefits the manufacturing industry can provide.

As the college era exploded, manufacturing jobs were labeled as more lower-level than the corporate world. In reality, this isn’t the case at all. It is up to employers to change the perception and get creative about marketing the careers in the industry. Companies must engage millennials and get them excited about what manufacturing jobs can offer.

For starters, manufacturing jobs are in high demand, offer exceptional pay, and require less schooling than a normal white-collar job. Highlighting the ability to join the job market with less school debt can be ideal for a large number of individuals not wanting to go the “regular” route.

In addition, the manufacturing industry offers a level of stability that isn’t always found in the corporate space. As competition soars, the in-demand and stability factors can and will entice this generation to open their eyes to different opportunities. Really drive home the “what is in it for them” selling points when posting jobs and interviewing candidates.

You’re not building trust.

group of three men working inside a manufacturing plant

You must connect with your millennial applicants and employees on a personal and professional level. This means being transparent and building trust with a generation that isn’t always the most trusting. They will not blindly follow and they want to know the “why” behind most initiatives, policies, goals, and procedures.

As an organization, start by setting a clear organizational purpose, mission, and vision.

Make sure that vision is relatable and offering more to employees, clients, and/or the community than just financial gain. Then start collaborating with your employees. Millennials want to be heard. Invite them in on the conversations about where you are going as an organization and really listen to their ideas. They aren’t going to settle with being a cog in the wheel, they want to understand why the wheel exists in the first place and how to make it better. Use this to your advantage as a company and it will benefit both parties in the end.

You’re not making it an experience.

young caucasian women smiling at the camera with long brown hair and a red and black blouse

This social group wants an experience when it comes to their career. This is crucial to hiring millennials and keeping them engaged for the long-haul. Start by creating a rock-solid interview and onboarding process. Interviews should be two-sided in figuring out if the candidate is a good fit while also building excitement around the job and company itself.

Once the millennial is hooked, finish strong with a purpose-driven onboarding plan. This generation cares about culture, work-life balance, diversity, and meaning in the day to day. Find ways to implement this in every facet of onboarding, from conversations with management to individual training. You want to give them confidence that they chose the right spot. And lastly, make sure you’re focused on the person as a whole individual and not just what they can do for the organization. They want to build genuine relationships with people who care about their wellbeing and life outside of the grind.

You’re not giving them growth opportunity.

Growth opportunities can come in many shapes and sizes. Millennials are an achievement-oriented group and care deeply about professional and personal growth. They want to know that they can succeed.

millennial hispanic woman working inside an electronics manufacturing plant

Start by making sure the job ad reflects reality. They shouldn’t be surprised or thrown off on day one. Next, don’t skimp on training. Laying the groundwork will empower your employee to feel comfortable and ready for the role. Once trained, make sure there is a clear career path for where to go and how to get there. Millennial employees want to continue learning and have opportunities to move up. Make sure this is apparent within your organization so they don’t start looking elsewhere.

Finally, provide growth outside of the career trajectory. This can include lunch and learns, the opportunity to join professional organizations, or a mentorship program. And don’t forget to provide feedback and recognition as employees grow.

They can’t stalk you on the internet.

This generation grew up on the internet. If you’re not there, you simply don’t exist. It might sound harsh, but a presence on the internet will build trust and fuel the excitement around your organization.

Social media presence can attract talent, keep them up to date about new opportunities, give them a glimpse of what working for you might look like, and let them see what you value as an organization. Being visible can also help connect you with educational institutions, professional groups, and apprenticeship programs which will ultimately lead to more leads and prospective employees.

close up of a web search

You have the blueprint, time to use it. 

Thankfully, millennials are no longer one big giant puzzle. The answers are out there. Businesses will need to be flexible and shift their culture and marketing to meet the demands of this ever-growing generation. It might seem daunting, but it is necessary and worth it. 

Let someone help.

When employees thrive, businesses thrive. Partner with a staffing agency. Don’t do all the work alone. GTR is ready to help you with your talent management. We are ready to become an extension of your hiring department to help you do all things recruiting, hiring, and retaining so you can Create a Winning Formula to Retain Top Talent. Contact us today.