Attracting Millennials to the workplace is a big question for many employers. Millennials are now the bulk of our manufacturing workforce, and they are tomorrow’s leaders. Anyone who discounts the importance of attracting and retaining Millennials will find themselves struggling to build their workforce, particularly in the current skills shortage.
Millennials are fiercely fought over in today’s hiring wars. But once you’ve won them, how do you make sure they stay?
After all, Millennials are well known for job-hopping to find the right opportunity, and 2016 research from Deloitte indicates that around 44% are considering changing employers in the next 1-2 years. From a company perspective, this creates dangerous workforce instability and risks ‘brain drain’ from your company when Millennials move on.
So, how do you create a workplace that Millennials will be happy in?
The Good News
The manufacturing sector has strong appeal for many Millennials as it provides high-tech jobs in diverse fields. At Sigma, we place our candidates in a wide range of roles with a high-tech emphasis, from engineering and technical positions to life science researchers and administrators.
There’s also an incredible amount of innovation and cool tech being utilised in the manufacturing sector—the key is in communicating the exciting possibilities to the Millennial workforce, who may still discount manufacturing careers as ‘old school’.
The Bad News
You’re facing some stiff competition- whether from big tech or your competitors. Everyone wants to secure those high calibre Millennials. So how do you make them choose your company over another?
6 Steps to Winning (and Keeping) Millennial Employees
1. A new management style
The majority of managers admit that they’re finding that the same techniques that worked with baby boomers and Gen X are not working to keep Millennials engaged.
A non-communicative, authoritarian, or ‘top-down’ management style will often immediately deter Millennial candidates, who want to feel that their input is valued and prefer a ‘coach’ to a ‘boss’.
Millennials also respond well to regular positive feedback.
2. Bring them in on the mission
Manufacturing roles build a better future, from the life scientist working on new lifesaving medicines to the factory workers building our cars and planes.
Millennials prize doing meaningful work. Therefore, they can be superbly motivated when their managers make the ‘mission’ very clear, and show how each employee makes a difference.
3. A people-first company culture
A ‘Profits before people’ as your primary ethos does not appeal to the average millennial, and companies that embody this money-driven culture tend to struggle to retain millennial employees.
Millennials tend to respond well to cultures with flexible working options, friendly culture, rewards for good performance, opportunities for travel, and corporate responsibility schemes. In fact, Millennials will often choose to work at companies with a culture they view as positive over businesses with better salary offers.
We’ve written before at length about company culture here.
4. Make sure your recruiting process is streamlined and pleasant
In this competitive hiring environment, it’s a grave error to string candidates along, have complicated or aggressive interview techniques, or fail to keep candidates informed.
This is the first occasion for potential employees to make a value judgement of your company and your people, so make it as easy and pleasant on them as possible.
Be as transparent as you can be in the interview about the role on offer, the company, and the culture.
5. Make sure you have active training and growth schemes.
Millennials care about their career progress deeply and want to be promoted as quickly as possible. Don’t rely on old models of seniority= promotion; make it clear that you promote on merit, and will assist people to climb the ladder as quickly as they are capable.
Where possible, implement a mentorship program for new hires, and ensure that Millennials are kept engaged constantly.