Finding, developing and retaining tomorrow's skilled workforce is one of the most significant challenges facing manufacturers today.
According to Rusty McCarty, CEO of CustomEd, a nonprofit organization that provides customized educational programming for cause-based initiatives, there are a number of ways manufacturers can attract qualified employees.
McCarty shared insights during a program presented by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) Thinking Forward initiative, which explores emerging manufacturing technologies and trends, including the changing workforce.
- Provide growth opportunities - Provide more than a job; the workforce of tomorrow also wants a pathway toward professional growth.
- Make direct contact - Invest the necessary time, effort and resources on recruitment efforts to build rapport and lasting relationships with younger generations.
- Provide resources - Tomorrow's workforce is looking for more than a steady paycheck; they also want the resources necessary for sustained professional success, and to work in a safe, positive job environment.
- Time efforts carefully - Connect with potential employees at a young age to highlight the opportunities in manufacturing and your company's workforce.
- Have a plan to build stronger connections - Don't reach out for the sake of reaching out. Manufacturers need an actual workforce development plan to maximize their impact.
- Be authentic and trustworthy - According to McCarty, top concerns among teenagers today are bullying and safety. The workforce of tomorrow wants to be able to trust the people they work for, so it's crucial to allay any concerns during the recruitment process.
- Give tours (and provide a call to action) - Many manufacturers have tremendous facilities: show them off to potential employees with regular tours to local students, community organizations, etc. Young people aren't always aware of where a company's work is done; help them understand what it's actually like to be a company employee.
- Use your sales team - Leverage your salespeople to help sell a manufacturing career and build interest and excitement around potentially becoming an employee of your company.
- All employees are recruiters - Every employee can serve as a brand ambassador for their company and manufacturing. Involve employees in efforts to attract new talent.
- Where did your current team come from? - When filling a job opening, determine how the previous individuals in that position made their way to manufacturing and your company. Then map the journey backwards and attempt to recreate it.
AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers.