Did you know that, according to a 2013 industry report, for every four trade positions that workers retire from, the industry is producing only one replacement? That's like putting 4 socks in your dryer … and only getting one back. You may be thinking, how are we facing a labor shortage? There are millions of jobless Millennials, who happen to be facing an unemployment rate that is double the national rate. Why don't we have enough people to fill those vacancies?
Here's the scoop. For the past two generations, young people haven't exactly been leaping at the chance to work in manufacturing. It may not be sexy enough. They may be looking for ways to manufacture higher video game scores. But an actual JOB in manufacturing? Um … No.
Part of the problem is the stigma – you've seen it on any TV show you've ever watched. What do plants look like? They're dirty, grungy, hot and smelly places to work. It's stagnant … a stagnant stigma. The thinking is waaay outdated, and there's no room for growth – unless of course, you aspire to be a shop foreman and you pretty much have to be the foreman's son to get that gig. Nepotism. (As opposed to Nap-otism, which means you can fall asleep on the job without getting into trouble because you 'know someone.') For those who haven't been in a plant, that's pretty much what people think, right?
There's a more significant problem with the perception of manufacturing though. And that's the parents who discourage their kids 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 trades is if you are not "college material." And parents want their kids to be "college material." Sadly, many of these "college material" kids wind up living in their parents' basements … which would be fine if they'd gone to a technical school and could actually fix stuff!
As the United States is now undergoing a "manufacturing renaissance" and looking to produce their goods on American soil again, 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 of 2017, it was estimated that people are uploading 500 hours of video each MINUTE to YouTube. Just in case you're doing the math, that's 65 years of video each day. If you do the math, upload a video on your coffee break, it's ready to retire by quitting time. We're also watching 1 billion hours of video content every day. Yes, that's BILLION with a "B." With that much video being consumed, do you think it's possible that some of your potential hires may be looking for you online?
If they do go online, what do they see? Do they see an old home movie that says, "Welcome to the wonderful world of manufacturing!" or do they see an organization that would be a cool place to work? The best part about using video is unlike the video camera of old – remember those big honking machines that looked like you were carrying an 8-slice toaster on your shoulder – you now carry a video camera in your pocket – your cell phone. These videos do not have to be major 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 lots of different ways. Let your employees share why they like working for you – be sure to run them past HR first – give them a piece of the spotlight. Use a sped-up time-elapsed version to create a "day in the life" video, so potential hires can see what goes on in your plant. Use video to welcome your employees to your company before they even walk in the door. One client uses a "Video handshake" where employees film a short video about themselves – their interests, likes, responsibilities, fun facts- whatever, and they put it in the email signature. Now your new employees will recognize the people they work with – before they ever personally meet. Use them for orientation videos – bring some life to the Rules and Reg's of the employee handbook!
Incorporating video into your hiring and retention strategy is a terrific way to modernize your brand and improve your online image. You'll not only attract new employees, but you'll also give the rest of your team the bragging rights to share about their fantastic job and employer.