Did you know that, according to a 2013 industry report, for every four business positions workers retire from, the industry produces only one replacement? That’s like putting 4 socks in the dryer … and only getting one back. You may be thinking, how do we deal with a labor shortage? There are millions of unemployed millennials, who face an unemployment rate that is twice the national rate. Why don’t we have enough people to fill those vacancies?
Here’s the scoop. Over the past two generations, young people haven’t exactly seized the opportunity to work in manufacturing. It may not be sexy enough. They may be looking for ways to produce higher scores in video games. But a real JOB in the making? Mmm no.
Part of the problem is the stigma – you’ve seen it on any TV show you’ve seen. What do the plants look like? They are dirty, dirty, hot and smelly workplaces. It’s stagnant … a stagnant stigma. The thinking is very outdated and there is no room for growth, unless of course you aspire to be a foreman and have to be the foreman’s son to get that job. Nepotism. (As opposed to nap-otism, which means you can fall asleep at work without getting in trouble because you ‘know someone’). For those who haven’t been to a plant, that’s pretty much what people think, right?
However, there is a more significant problem with manufacturing perception. And those are the parents who discourage their children from attending a trade or technical school because they want them to go to college and get a “real job.” Some parents believe that the only reason to go into the trade is if you don’t have “college supplies.” And parents want their children to be “college supplies.” Sadly, many of these kids with “college supplies” end up living in their parents’ basements … which would be nice if they had gone to technical school and could really fix things!
Now that the United States is experiencing a “manufacturing renaissance” and looking to produce its products again on American soil, there is an urgent and growing need for new talent. Along with that is the need for new ideas and new ways of doing business. It’s time to modernize your brand. If your technology is older than the people you’re trying to recruit, guess what: they’re not joining your company.
How do you modernize your brand? I have three words for you: social media and video. In February 2017, it was estimated that people were uploading 500 hours of video every MINUTE to YouTube. In case you’re doing the math, it’s 65 years of video every day. If you do the math, upload a video on your coffee break, you’re ready to retire by quitting. We are also watching a billion hours of video content every day. Yes, that’s a BILLION with a “B”. With so much video being consumed, do you think it is possible that some of your potential hires are looking for you online?
If they go online, what do they see? See an old home movie that says, “Welcome to the wonderful world of manufacturing!” Or do you see an organization that would be a good place to work? The best part about using video is different from the video camera of yesteryear – remember those big horn honking machines that seemed to carry an 8-slice toaster on your shoulder, now you carry a video camera in your pocket, your cell phone. These videos don’t have to be Hollywood blockbusters! Sometimes the more “perfect” it is, the less effective it is. Make it real and make it count.
You can use video in many different ways. Let your employees share why they like to work for you; make sure you get them through HR first, give them a prominent place. Use an accelerated time-lapse version to create a “day in the life” video so potential employees can see what’s going on at your plant. Use video to welcome your employees to your company before they even walk through the door. One customer uses a “Video Handshake” in which employees shoot a short video about themselves – their interests, likes, responsibilities, fun facts, whatever – and place it in the email signature. Now your new hires will recognize the people they work with, before they meet personally. Use them for orientation videos – bring the Employee Handbook Rules and Regulations to life!
Incorporating video into your recruiting and retention strategy is a great way to modernize your brand and improve your image online. Not only will you attract new hires, but you will also give the rest of your team bragging rights to share about your fantastic job and employer.