Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Attracting Millennials Workers to Your Modular Home Factory

Let’s face facts. Most companies in the US are currently owned and staffed with Boomers and Generation X’ers. You are now trying to attract Millennials into working for your business and finding they are not what you expected.


They are rapidly becoming the largest group of workers in the US and tapping into how to recruit, train and retain them in your non-Millennial based factory is not a challenge for the weak.

Millennials have grown up on Digital Media, school shootings, terrorist attacks, AIDS, 9/11 and war. They typically grew up as children of divorce and hope to be the next great generation and turn around all the “wrong” they see in the world today.

They grew up more sheltered than any other generation as parents strived to protect them from the evils of the world. They came of age in a period of economic expansion. They were kept busy as kids and are the first generation of children with Schedules.

When it comes to working for your company, especially in key management or sales positions they will test authority but often seek out authority figures when looking for guidance. They are gregarious and effective workers but gone @5PM on dot. They view work as a “gig” or something that fills the time between weekends. They enjoy working in teams and will even pull the team together in after-hours social settings.


Training is important to them and acquiring new skills will ease stressful situations. They are motivated by learning but want to see immediate results. They not only balance with work and life, but balance with work, life and community involvement and self development.

Even though they love to be challenged and want to continually learn new skills the timing couldn’t be worse for the modular housing industry.

Between the negative public perception of manufacturing and production work with increasing retirement rates for baby boomers, we are now experiencing a major workforce gap.

It’s no secret that millennials are a tech-savvy generation, having grown up as ‘digital natives.’ Generating awareness around the state-of-the-art technologies and innovations of many “new” manufacturing companies offers them opportunities that simply can’t be matched by an industry like custom modular home production. Our industry is still very much ‘hands on’ and Millennials simply can’t see themselves working on a production line.

Have you taken a hard look at your current job postings. Do they look the ones you posted 15 years ago? I think we all know the answer to that one.

You need to be aware that a Millennial will look at your help wanted ad for a production line worker and either pass on it or look you up on Google or social media to see what you are all about. If there first impression of your company screams “old people factory” you are sunk before the battle to win them over has even begun.

You must be vocal about debunking myths of the conditions of your factory and its production line as these perceptions are harmful to our entire industry and are preventing qualified people from applying. Include language that indicates an evolving career with plenty of room for growth. A focus on work-life balance can set job listings apart, as millennials often cite this as a top factor when evaluating jobs.

Emphasis training programs that don’t imply a static position with little room for growth. Millennials are in the process of beginning their careers, and are not interested in dead-end jobs but ambitious in their desire for growth. Share advancement possibilities in your help wanted advertising.

Consider adding a lot of excitement about working in modular home production in all of your social media and feature an entire section on your website to showing clean, modern production lines with young people working for you. Show young people standing next to their new Ford F150 Crew Cab in your parking lot. That shows that they can make good money working for you. Stress that you normally don’t work weekends.

Younger generations are interested in developing skills in their jobs. By investing in programs like internships, apprenticeships, and certification programs, companies can begin to recruit and develop employees early in their career.

Consider implementing standard work instruction. Include photos and videos into instructions, allowing for easy communication of complex procedures. There are video training experts ready to help you with this endeavor.

No matter what path you take to attract Millennial workers to your modular home factory remember that you have to begin doing something right now. Today!

One quick observation. The next time you go to a Chick-Fil-A, take a close look at the staff. They are mostly Millennials that have been interviewed many times before they were accepted as employees. They were trained prior to being allowed to talk to customers and that training is continuous. They are told why they must say “Please and Thank You” and they buy into it completely.

I know some young people that work at Chick-Fil-A and they tell me they work together and on their time off they play together. Millennials are tribal and enjoy team building.