How can business owners attract qualified workers in a labor-oriented market? There’s no single step or approach that guarantees success, but the best strategy is to create an appealing work environment for the millennial generation. That requires adjusting corporate thinking to embrace the attitudes of millennials and skilled workers, which are often diametrically opposed to traditional workplace practices.
Becoming a desirable workplace for millennials requires having a social conscience according to a report posted at Thebalancesmb.com. Millennials consider other criteria than money – such as time for family, quality of life issues, a team-oriented workplace and job flexibility. Showing millennials that you value their opinions and are willing to work with them on job flexibility are some of the most important steps you can take to attract millennials and skilled workers.
The actual solutions that you choose will depend on your industry, location and other factors, but the following ideas will pay dividends for most companies by attracting more millennial workers:
- Offering cash bonuses or work incentives for job referrals
- Engaging candidates on social media by posting job openings, providing behind-the-scenes looks at the company’s culture and supporting social programs
- Providing alternative recruiting venues such as team interviews, digital recruiting, social media applications, and local recruiting events
- Allowing candidates to shadow real-world employees doing similar jobs to those being filled
- Addressing candidates holistically with behavioral questions and questions about each candidate’s core values
- Emphasizing benefits packages and advancement opportunities over pay rates
Hiring millennials and skilled laborers is increasingly difficult because of the lack of interest in the manual labor of the millennial generation. The following YouTube webinar on attracting millennials can give you some idea of the scope of the problem and some solutions for attracting these workers.
Why hiring has become increasingly difficult for America’s businesses
There are many employment statistics that help to explain the difficulties of hiring qualified labor in today’s market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the market for involuntary part-time workers dropped by 565,000 over the previous 12 months in 2019. This means employer-directed part-time jobs instead of voluntary part-time workers. Employers can actually save money on salary and benefits by creating more part-time jobs for an increasingly flexible workforce.
How to retain millennials and generate loyalty in your workplace
Attracting millennials and skilled workers is just the beginning of the process. If you don’t retain workers, attracting top talent can become a source of frustration, increased training expenses and difficulties for planning succession strategies. According to Bizjournals.com, it’s critical to look beyond recruiting to fostering loyalty. Loyal workers save money on hiring and training costs and make fewer costly mistakes.
The overall unemployment rate was around 3 percent in May 2019, which many experts consider being close to full employment. Under current market conditions, job candidates can practically dictate working terms. Millennials especially demand flexible working conditions, better benefits packages and a company culture that they can support.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, there are 73 million millennials in the United States. Within 2 years of 2019, millennials will make up half of the workplace and 75 percent of it by 2030.
This group remains the least engaged generation of the workforce. About 29 percent are engaged in their jobs, but 55 percent are not. 16 percent of the millennial workforce is actively disengaged. The way to change this dynamic and foster loyalty among millennial employees is to recognize their concerns and address them.
According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, these are some of the major strategies for engaging millennials:
- Demonstrate ethical corporate behavior.
Only 48 percent of survey respondents feel that their companies behave ethically.
- Show strong executive leadership.
Just 47 percent of respondents believe that their executive leaders are trying to improve society.
- Provide opportunities for community engagement.
Most millennials feel that businesses only concentrate on making money instead of improving the world. A greater interest in the local community can challenge this impression.
- Encourage loyalty instead of job hopping.
About 21 percent of millennials reported changing jobs in the past year, and 60 percent state that they’re always looking for new work opportunities. Companies that demonstrate their concern for their employees to get better long-term loyalty.
- Create a diverse work environment.
69 percent of those workers who consider their workplaces diverse find their work environment to be stimulating.
- Optimize for mobile technology.
Shifting to a millennial workforce requires a lot of adjustments, and one of the most important is promoting your company’s brand and building relationships with the help of mobile technology. Young people are glued to their phones, and if you want to reach them, you must develop a mobile marketing campaign. You can display your job shop, post a video on the work environment, take applications digitally and market the high salaries and fringe benefits of skilled labor jobs.
- Talk the talk so that you can walk the walk.
Your job descriptions won’t compel attention unless you spice them up with some pizzazz. Include some special descriptions of duties that would interest young people. Talk about your company’s culture and its commitment to environmental issues. Explore any unusual benefits or perks that other companies don’t offer.
The most forward-thinking companies give millennials the technology tools to succeed and create jobs that allow more personal flexibility. Millennials who work for trusted companies are 22 times more likely to continue working there for a long time.
Attracting labor to manufacturing jobs requires creative recruiting
Labor jobs are unpopular with millennials in general for many reasons. Increasing retirement rates for skilled workers of the baby boomer generation are creating a big skills gap that manufacturing companies are finding difficult to bridge. That hiring shortage is currently estimated to be 2 million skilled workers in the United States. More retirees are expected soon, and the labor force is expected to increase. There could be as many as 8 million jobs unfilled by 2030.
It’s essential to replace retiring workers with skilled labor. Despite today’s emphasis on education, robotics and high-tech jobs, the world’s economy can’t survive without labor. That’s why manufacturers compete at the highest levels to attract and train millennials for labor-intensive jobs.
Hiring skilled workers for manufacturing jobs creates a conundrum for every HR department
The basic problem of hiring millennials and skilled workers is that this group doesn’t value labor-intensive work the same way that people have in the past. In order to challenge this attitude effectively, companies need to dispel common myths and educate millennials about the value and rewards of honest labor.
This represents a major change in the way that millennials have been educated since birth. The millennial generation has been encouraged to get an education – at least a 4-year degree. Millennials routinely learn about the latest technologies, but they’re at a loss when it comes to developing labor-related skills.
The paradox is that manufacturing jobs have the highest average wages in any private-sector industry according to a study conducted by Industryweek.com. The myths and misconceptions about manufacturing jobs include:
- Manufacturing jobs don’t pay well.
This myth is pervasive and completely incorrect. The average salary of manufacturing jobs is $81,289, which is higher than any other major industry average in the private sector.
- Labor jobs are repetitive, boring and physically difficult.
Millennials are “tech-savvy,” and they don’t want to give up their technology and devices. The truth about labor and manufacturing jobs is that state-of-the-art technologies drive every industry in today’s markets. Laborers are more likely to be involved in equipment repair and maintenance, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, cutting-edge warehouse management, and other advanced labor-saving technologies.
- Career development is seldom an option for labor jobs.
Nothing could be further from the truth than a lack of opportunity in labor and manufacturing jobs. There are many opportunities for career development and advancement, and manufacturing processes are constantly evolving. Companies can offer a career-advancement program tailored to each new hire that allows each individual to develop skills, earn certifications and advance his or her career.
- There are few opportunities for continuing education.
Millennials want to advance in the right way with help from their employers. Labor jobs are honest, easy to understand and essential to the world’s economic health. Companies can attract millennials by offering co-mentorships, apprenticeships, internships, and paid certification courses. Skilled workers can receive ongoing education about new technologies and work techniques. Laborers can join company-sponsored cross-training programs to develop new skills.
- It’s impossible to develop physical skills after college.
Companies can make it easy for millennials to learn manufacturing and labor techniques using video instruction, photos, educational modules, and instructional software. Mentors can encourage workers to build physical endurance and reach demanding physical requirements.
The problems of recruiting millennials for labor jobs
The problems of recruiting millennials are aggravated by the constantly evolving work environment in today’s marketplace and continual changes in recruiting technology. Candidates for entry-level labor positions are often uninformed about which keywords to use to tell their stories in ways that computers notice in automated tracking systems. Companies can help to solve this problem by developing a better recruiting system, explaining how to apply for jobs successfully and reaching workers where they live, work and play.
Labor jobs often require specific skills instead of a 4-year degree. About 40 percent of millennial workers earned a bachelor’s degree in 2016 according to a Pew Research study. Unfortunately, employers tend to overlook candidates without a degree even when a college education provides little in the way of job skills.
Another major challenge is finding millennials with 3 to 5 years of experience for entry-level positions. One solution is to offer paid internships to give promising job candidates the opportunity to develop solid skills.
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Changing millennial perceptions with aggressive recruiting and education
Nist.gov reports that it’s important to change millennial perceptions about skilled labor jobs. Some of the most critical ideas that need changing include:
- There’s a lack of technology in labor jobs.
Manufacturing today actually depends on digital technology, social sharing, and creativity. The most competitive companies use technology to innovate, provide easy communication and enable collaboration with experts from anywhere in the world.
- Quality-of-life issues suffer in labor jobs.
Manufacturing companies and businesses with intensive labor needs can offset this concern by offering a nice work-life balance to their skilled laborers. The need for skilled labor is universal, and qualified people enjoy strong job security.
- Labor jobs aren’t available for someone with advanced education.
There are labor jobs for every level of education. Company recruiters must make the effort to inform prospective recruits that they value technology, education, and innovation. A skilled laborer often consults on engineering changes, assembly line issues and even ideas for new products and technology.
- Labor-intensive work is considered a low-class job.
In the early years of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing jobs were considered to be great jobs. They still are, and it’s important to communicate that information to prospective employees. Today, most manufacturing is high-tech and modern. Fostering a worker-friendly culture can go far toward challenging any stigma associated with labor-intensive work. For example, posting YouTube videos about interesting physical challenges can attract competitive-minded millennials.
Using on-demand labor to manage worker shortages
Regardless of your recruiting strategy and efforts to attract millennials, there will be times when your plans to hire labor fall short of your immediate needs. More and more companies are using millennial-friendly technologies to attract temporary, part-time and freelance workers.
A variable workforce can handle shortages using field service organizations, temp agencies, and flexible staff members. On-demand labor is also beneficial for dealing with seasonal increases in business and special projects. It’s important to develop the capabilities of handling a flexible workforce. You should invest in technology and software to assign freelance field service technicians, communicate remotely and manage time clock functions to keep an accurate tally of flexible workers and their hours.
Diversifying your workforce with women and minorities
Diversity is increasingly important in today’s workplace for many reasons. Hiring diverse ethnic candidates, women and telecommuting workers increase the labor pipeline of suitable candidates, which makes hiring easier. Inclusive hiring impresses many groups including millennials and younger generations. Millennials now rank as the largest sector of the labor force according to Bizjournals.com. It’s important to focus on the groups where most of your employees can be found.
These days, 67 percent of job seekers consider diversity in the workplace an important factor when deciding where to work. That’s why it’s so important to develop an inclusive hiring policy. You can’t attract top talent unless you hire workers without discrimination.
Using neutral language to attract different genders
The best strategy for diversifying your workforce is to craft your recruiting language carefully. Gender-neutral terms are helpful and using the generic “their” when referring to singles instead of “his or her” is a serious faux pas. Masculine words such as “dominant” and “ambitious” can deliver subtle implications that you’re looking to hire a man instead of a qualified woman.
Using unusual phrases that apply to diverse groups can increase the number of diverse applicants according to Ideal.com. Some potential ideas to encourage diversity in the workplace might include:
- Referring to sports that are less popular in the United States such as soccer, rugby, cricket, polo, fencing, and motorcycle racing
- Meeting job candidates where they gather such as neighborhood and alumni associations, networking groups and community groups
- Using Google search resources – such as Google AdWords – to research terms that attract key demographic groups
- Develop workplace policies that appeal to a broader range of demographic profiles
Diversity encourages better work performances and drives creative solutions to problems. Diverse groups of problem-solvers can even outperform groups of high-ability people according to a post at the PNAS group reporting on the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Looking at things from a different point-of-view can provide extraordinary insights.
Why diversity begins at the top
It’s difficult to attract a diversified workforce if you continue to staff your inner circle with traditional hires in the upper echelons of society. It’s easy to choose like-minded people for the positions with which you work most closely, but that sends a mixed signal to job candidates. The Huffington Post posted an article that suggests how important it is to diversify your inner circle. When you start diversifying at the top, it’s easier to attract skilled labor from all social groups in an inclusive environment.
HR organizations can start and support the process, but ultimately, business leaders and hiring managers must adopt a forward-looking approach. Hiring minorities for top functions enables your company to send legitimate representatives to customers, recruiting events and speaking engagements.
Apprenticeships, internships and mentoring programs create a platform for successful recruiting
No matter who you hire for a job, he or she will naturally have some insecurities. Offering a program to help new hires adjust to your company is an important step for integrating new staff into your organization and company culture. You can create a more welcoming environment for millennials and skilled laborers by creating an internship or apprenticeship program according to an article posted at Forbes.com.
Hiring millennials and skilled laborers is an investment in your company’s future, and you’ll get the best results if you offer training and acclimatization programs to help them fit into your company. Millennials bring a lot to the table including greater skill with technology, fresh ideas, and higher energy levels.
The necessary technical skills can be learned through a comprehensive cross-training program, internships, apprenticeships and mentoring. Some of the most important programs you can offer millennials include:
- Training millennials
Offering training programs for new hires and existing millennial employees is an excellent strategy. These youthful workers often lack the skills necessary for success -, especially in labor-intensive jobs. Fortunately, these employees haven’t had time to learn bad work habits or develop big egos based on their previous experiences. You can train millennials to suit your needs.
- Managing seamless cultural integration
Engaging millennials in your company’s culture is an excellent way to foster loyalty. Some people won’t fit, but that’s inevitable. If you explain your culture early in the hiring process, you get better results and more employees buying into your core values. If your culture is welcoming and consistent, most new hires will embrace a millennial-friendly culture.
- Offering intern and apprentice programs
Internship programs are a great way to welcome laborers to the workforce. Your most skilled workers can pass on the benefits of their experiences and help to generate excitement about the job. Regardless of your recruiting strategy, internship programs create a pipeline from which to draw talent.
Apprenticeship programs last longer than internships because they are more intensive. These programs are often related to unionized initiatives and vocational trades. After the apprenticeship is over, you can hire successful graduates.
- Mentoring your staff
Mentoring programs can be as informal or formal as you prefer. Your managers can routinely assign mentors to all new team members to get them up to speed. Formal mentoring programs are ideal for developing talent within your organization. It’s important to monitor the progress of those in mentoring programs to provide feedback, develop a personalized plan and make adjustments if necessary.
- Cultivating educational institutes for job referrals
Developing a relationship with local universities, vocational programs, and community groups is a great way to find and attract laborers. These organizations can help to explain the benefits, high earning power and job security that labor-type jobs can produce according to an article posted at Thebalancecareers.com.
Developing an attractive benefits program
Stats show that benefits programs outrank salary and other factors when millennials choose an employer. According to SHRM.org, millennial employees are less engaged with their employers and plan to change jobs in the future. That leads to less interest in their job’s fringe benefits. Healthcare insurance is less important to millennials than other real-world benefits. Millennials typically demand matching contributions to their retirement plans, health insurance, student loan assistance, and other benefits according to a report posted at CNBC.com.
Other popular benefits include more flexible work schedules, paid time off for personal reasons and the ability to work at home some or all of the time. 401(k) matching funds, medical coverage, and flexible working arrangements lead the list of the most popular benefits among millennials.
Lifestyle perks outweigh other types of benefits for millennials
According to Benefitspro.com, some of the most important benefits for millennials involve lifestyle perks such as custom-tailored benefit packages that match each employee’s interests. Some of the popular perks include:
- Flexible schedules
Millennials enjoy telecommuting, working from home and other flexible work arrangements.
- Pet perks
Millennials wait longer to have children, and many invest their love in pets; about two-thirds of millennials own pets. Pet insurance is a popular perk. Some companies allow their workers to bring their poets to work.
- Opportunities for growth
You can foster loyalty by offering training and advancement programs, performance reviews and mentoring programs.
- Childcare perks
Childcare services – either in-house or in the form of reimbursement for childcare expenses – is a popular perk for millennials.
- Performance pay
Pay based on reaching performance benchmarks is a popular way to motivate your staff.
Why companies need to adjust their recruiting efforts
How can business owners attract qualified laborers? The simplest answer for you is to adjust your recruiting efforts to match the mindset of today’s millennial workforce. For the immediate future, millennials will be the largest part of the workforce.
Successful recruiting companies in every industry must look beyond millennial reputations as job hoppers and change the dynamic to develop skilled workers. If you offer meaningful work, flexible schedules, lifestyle perks, competitive pay, opportunities for advancement and cross-training and a team-oriented work environment, you can foster long-term loyalty with millennials.
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