Recruiting and Retaining Millennials: It Starts with "Why?"

Originally titled 'Recruiting and Retaining Millennials: It Starts with "Why?"'

MoldMaking Technology editorial advisory board member Ryan Pohl of Praeco Skills LLC says that “why” a professional would choose moldmaking as a career has changed.

MMT editorial advisory board member Ryan Pohl, founder of Praeco Skills LLC, has shared his expertise with MMT readers over the years by contributing editorials about workforce development, and his sound advice and effective strategies have rung true for many. Here, he offers more tips for recruiting and retaining a Millennial workforce.

As author and consultant Simon Sinek says in his 2009 book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” answering the question “Why?” is the number one strategy when it comes to inspiring talent. In this case, I am referring specifically to the next generation of plastic mold manufacturers. This is the critical question that all mold manufacturing companies must answer if we hope to recruit and retain the right Millennials that we need to keep the industry strong.

The challenge for the current leaders of mold manufacturing companies is recognizing that the “why” that motivated them to get into the industry has changed over the years. It is difficult to find a young person that is motivated by the same things, so the message that current leaders use to recruit young people must change. Where members of the older generation likely started out in this industry so that they could provide a good financial living for themselves and their families, buy a nice house, have a nice car and work with their hands, the younger generation is more focused on other benefits that the trade provides. These benefits include being part of a team, giving back to the community and having the opportunity to be creative while solving complex problems. 

The challenge for the current leaders of mold manufacturing companies is recognizing that the “why” that motivated them to get into the industry has changed over the years.

Countless studies have shown that newcomers to the trade are concerned more about the relationships that they will make and what differences they can make in the world. In recruiting efforts, it becomes essential to speak about:

  • the countless people whose lives are positively impacted by manufacturing,
  • the economic importance of having a strong manufacturing base—and how almost every industry is dependent on us creating physical products that have tangible value in the market place and
  • how millions of people are raised out of poverty through the economic engine of manufacturing.

These are proven truths of this trade and fantastic reasons why a person should commit to establishing a career in the trade. 

Countless studies have shown that newcomers to the trade are concerned more about the relationships that they will make and what differences they can make in the world.

The list could go on and on, but the key is that every company that is looking to hire and keep its young people should take the time to answer the question—and then sell it. Sell it at the local schools and to every employee in the shop. If companies create a culture that speaks to the “why,”, they will keep the youngest generation engaged, and we will have the talent that we need to keep the industry moving for years to come.