Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - 11

IVAN SESELJ | COLUMN BY

To address both of those needs, the
first step is to prepare for the inevitable - despite your best efforts, some
employees will move on. To mitigate
any potential damage that could occur with the departure of key employees, it is essential to identify and document vital institutional knowledge,
including key policies and practices,
historical knowledge and processes
for everything from strategic management to accounting, recruitment
and technical support. Fortunately,
today's technology makes it easy to

want to tackle new challenges and
new opportunities. As a result, the
leadership team must be prepared to
give employees increasing responsibilities that they will regard as meaningful and contributing to their own
personal growth. Create assignments
that will challenge them and play to
their individual strengths and areas of
interest. Seek their opinions as to how
to improve the way a specific job or
process is completed and show a willingness to actually make the changes
they recommend. Above all, emphasize how their contribution is making
a difference.
Manufacturers
should
build
cross-generational teams to identify areas of improvement whenever
possible. This will benefit both millennials (who can build their skills by
learning from more experienced team
members) and more senior team
members (who should be encouraged
to leverage the energy, creativity and
tech know-how millennials display).
It's essential to recognize that millennials want a mentor, not a boss. They
want to feel supported and valued by
leaders. Responding positively to that
desire for mentorship will not only
increase productivity, but create a
stronger tie to the company.
Bottom line: Enabling millennials and encouraging them to identify
and drive business improvements
and innovation will make them more
productive. Just as important, it will
create a relationship that can take advantage of their capacity for change
while building a level of loyalty that
will have a significant impact on employee growth and retention. mt

Ivan Seselj is CEO of Promapp Solutions, an industry leading
provider of cloud-based process management (BPM) software for
creating and managing business processes online. You can contact
him at ivan.seselj@promapp.com or follow him at @Ivanseselj. You
can visit Promapp at www.promapp.com.

AUGUST 2017 manufacturing-today.com

11

E MPLOYEES

Energy and Instincts

create, access, navigate and manage
those processes that are critical to the
business, enabling quality assurance,
risk management and continuity.
It is equally important to set expectations from the top with respect
to retaining this institutional knowledge. Regularly communicating them
to employees demonstrates that the
manufacturer is serious about capturing and retaining critical process information and places a high value on
its preservation.
The use of technology is key to the
manufacturer's ability to engage with
millennials. Millennials hate to waste
their time doing the little things that
more senior employees sometimes
take for granted - filling out expense
reimbursement forms, attending
training sessions, etc. Investing in
technology that more effectively accomplishes these tasks will drastically reduce the administrative time and
potential for human error these activities require, while simultaneously
appealing to tech-savvy millennials.
Technology, however, is only the tip
of the iceberg. Smart manufacturers
also need to understand that millennials aren't content to simply come to
work and do their jobs. They want to
have a say in what's happening on the
job. Inevitably, they will ask questions
and challenge the status quo.
By not only recognizing this tendency but embracing it, manufacturers can take advantage of the energy
and innovative instincts millennials
routinely display to make the business more productive, particularly in
problem areas. This can go a long way
in connecting with millennial employees, engaging them in efforts big
and small to improve the business.
But manufacturers can't stop there.
They must also recognize that millennials want to constantly grow. They

B UY AMERICAN

positions. They also have the tech
know-how to understand and readily adapt to the new trends that are
changing the face of manufacturing,
from the application of 3-D printing
and nanotechnology to big data and
predictive maintenance.
So what's not to like? While millennials represent a large, technologically adept, and readily available
workforce, the downside is that millennials are sometimes characterized as lazy, entitled and high maintenance. Older workers complain
that millennials whine about doing
more menial work, refuse to comply
with authority, and are too focused
on salary and career advancement.
That last characteristic should be
of particular concern to manufacturers. Data compiled by numerous organizations and think tanks indicate
that younger workers are significantly
more likely to jump from one job to
the next than any previous generation.
For manufacturers, the tendency to
job hop translates into a need to retain
institutional knowledge in the event
key employees quit, and perhaps more
importantly, a need to better understand what makes millennials tick so
that they can be better leveraged.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - August 2017

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Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - 1
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Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - Cover4
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