Is Your Business Millennial Ready?

What would happen if, during the next few years, half of your workforce retired? Could you find the people you need to sustain your business?

In the manufacturing industry, there is cause for concern. A recent Industry Market Barometer report about the future of manufacturing showed that nearly half of the manufacturing workforce was aged 55 or older. Many of those plan to retire soon.

How are we going to fill those jobs? More precisely, how are we going to fill those jobs with the next generation of workers—the Millennials—who are looking for more than just a paycheck.

Read these statistics about the Millennial generation:

  • By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.
  • Millennials want greater flexibility, a sense of purpose, and hope for meaningful impact in their work. Over 50% of millennials would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values.
  • Friendship at work holds more meaning for Millennials. 57% say friendships at work make them feel happy, 50% say friendships are motivating, 39% said friendships make them more productive.

In essence, they want to know that somebody cares about them and that what they are doing makes a difference to someone else.

This is a desire that crosses international boundaries and

generations; it’s something we need as people. Unfortunately, though it flies in the face of common sense and human nature, in most companies, it is something that is often ignored. But as we start to see generational turnover in our workplaces, the desire to have meaningful, fulfilling work is more of an expectation than a vague notion or a dream Companies that don’t have cultures in which their team members can thrive will themselves struggle to thrive. Millennials expect it; all of us deserve it.

Our Paper Converting Machine Company in Wisconsin recently produced a great video illustrating just how we can give that sense of value to not just Millennials, but all people, when we embrace Truly Human Leadership.

The video features 17 year-old Madeline Vandenack who is currently a welding intern at PCMC. “I’m excited to go to school and tell everybody what I did and what I accomplished,” she says of her work days there.

Do your people feel like they matter? Are they excited to talk about their jobs to their friends and families?

Watch this video for a sense of how your leadership could affect the next generation of worker.

Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $2+ billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting firm, Barry-Wehmiller’s 11,000 team members are united around a common belief: we can use the power of business to build a better world. Chapman explores that idea in his Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family, available from Penguin Random House.

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1 Comment on "Is Your Business Millennial Ready?"


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Joel Ek C/O Accraply
2 years 1 month ago

What you described in the video was the “norm” 36 years ago when I graduated from high school. The junior and senior high schools (no middle school yet) offered various shop classes. This allowed both male and female students to learn the trades if they so desired. Some of the schools also offered on the job training programs. The students went to an internship at a business for a couple hours during the day. They made up their classwork later on during the day or on weekends.

This is what many kids did instead of participating in sporting events after school. The net result was kids graduating from high school already knew what the liked. They received a bit of on the job training and then went to tech/trade school to get more experience and formal training. Finding a job they liked was easy after that!