Millennials: Burden, Blessing, or Both?
How important are they?
The importance of this group of workers cannot be underestimated or misjudged. There are over 83 Millennials in the U.S., and the sheer volume of youth entering the labor force is changing the face of every industry, especially manufacturing.
Millennials currently make up about 50% of the U.S. workforce and will account for over 75% of all employees globally by 2025. And just like Baby Boomers disrupted the lifestyle and culture of the American workforce after the great depression, Millennials are creating a major disruption right now!
Who are they?
The Pew Research Center defines Millennials as people who were born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials are now the largest segment in the workforce; they are better educated and have brought more racial and ethnic diversity to the workforce than ever before.
Millennials are first-generation digital natives who feel at home on the Internet
How are they different?
Technology is part of Millennial's everyday lives. They connect with the world using smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and have revolutionized the way people connect. While most Americans surf the web from a desktop or laptop, Millennials access the Internet from their phones far more than any other generation.
What do they want?
Millennials as a group are unattached, connected, unconstrained, idealistic, and want to know how they fit in with their jobs, their team, and their company. Millennials approach the workplace with a 'what's in it for me mentality.
Millennials want their work to fuel their sense of purpose and make them feel important. And they genuinely care about what their organization stands for and does for the community.
Don't believe the stereotypes
But don't believe the negative stereotypes regarding this generation. They may be called the "me" generation, but they are the future, and you need to understand they are tech-savvy hard workers that will help take your company through this technology revolution! You just have to know how to manage them!
Millennials and their disinterest in manufacturing
The manufacturing industry has a perception problem with Millennials.
It is no secret that this generation is moving away from blue-collar jobs and are leaning towards technology, engineering, science, and math. Millennials lack the desire for manufacturing due to the misunderstanding they have of what the industry does and can offer them.
You have an opportunity to change that!
The digital and technology transformation within manufacturing can be a boom for hiring Millinealls if handled correctly!
What can SMB manufacturers do?
Most manufacturers understand that Millennials are a critical part of their future, but less than 40% have a solid understanding of the group and what makes them tick.
Manufacturers must forget about all of the myths and stereotypes around this group and create strategies that will attract this generation.
Things you can do include …
- Create a technology culture
- Make it easy to apply and connect online
- Stay current with technology
- Provide work-life balance
- Offer opportunity for learning
- Make a difference in the world
- Offer mobility & flexibility
Millennials say that workforce technology will be the
#1 influence in the jobs they take and want to keep!
Managing Millennials in the workforce
It's no secret that Millennials have rapidly transformed the work culture in manufacturing. And as we explained, Millennials exhibit unique characteristics and habits that are different from their Baby Boomer predecessors. As a group that has lived both with and without the Internet, this group is tech-savvy and unique.
Millennials have a stigma attached to them that you need to get past!
They are mistakenly looked at as being selfish, egocentric, and care about themselves over the company. Millennials are often considered the entitled generation, that gets what they want, and can do what they please!
Nothing could be further from the truth, and embracing this generation using technology can be a game-changer for your company.
And because these stereotypes are mostly wrong, but are honestly rooted in the Millennial's unique view of the world, companies struggle with how to best handle and manage this generation.
Here are a few things to consider …
- Create a strong company culture - They want their work to have meaning and purpose
- Offer a work-life balance - Millennials expect to have time for family and friends
- They are looking for mentors not bosses - Engage with them to be a part of the solution
- Enable their Tech abilities - Encourage use of personal tech devices
- Recognize their contribution - They want validation and recognition, not trophies
- Encourage collaboration - Amongst themselves and management.