Around two weeks ago I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a LinkedIn live conversation with a few champions of UK Manufacturing. The essence of this discussion was why is British Manufacturing not able to engage meaningfully with the younger generation, and vice versa. My take on the matter involves eight different factors. In no particular order, here are four factors this week.
Factor 1 – Culture: Traditionally our sector has been task driven. This has essentially meant that we tell people, young and old, what to do. However, if we change our mindset slightly to recognize that the younger generation has an abundance of creativity, energy, and enthusiasm, then we go from task driven to results driven. We do not tell them what to do, but tell them the end goal and the rules of play, then ask them how the end goal can be achieved within these rules. Let them loose and see the magic happen!
Factor 2 – Redefine Manufacturing: When I say this, I mean we must redefine the term. Today, the term no longer involves simply putting things together, removing bits of metal, or operating a few machines. Manufacturing today encompasses everything that involves the lifecycle of a product. Concept, design, making, usage, and end of life treatment, and beyond! Doing this will not only open us to new possibilities, but will also help us present our sector as an excellent career.
Factor 3 – A Pitching Competition: Pitching competitions and pitch decks are mainly associated with start-ups, and therefore generate a lot of interest from the younger generation. We have a pressing need to engage meaningfully with the younger generation. However, engagement will only happen when we get their attention. How do we do that? Let us pitch to them. They are our investors, they are investing their future in our sector, so let us treat our initial involvements with them as a pitching competition and see where it takes us!
Factor 4 – Nurturing Growth: I cannot stress the importance of this. Not only must we attract the younger generation, but we must nurture them, and enable them to grow. Growth not only means more money, it also means a greater degree of accountability, a feeling of being valued, a feeling that their say matters in the bigger scheme of things. If we have a fear that they might leave us, then let us create forward looking and forward thinking organisations that retain top talent.
Watch this space next week for four more factors!