Training the Manufacturing Leaders of Tomorrow

When looking at the current state of the manufacturing industry one topic cannot be ignored, the skills gap. There are nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day according to the Washington Post and it has had a monumental impact on manufacturing in particular. The next generation in-line to take on their roles and responsibilities, the millennials, are not prepared or aren’t being groomed to step up to the plate. Here, we will be discussing 3 training practices that can help ensure millennials are ready to take on their role as the future industry leaders.

Born in an age where communication, entertainment and education is instant and limitless, millennials have a different approach when it comes to training. This driven generation often puts down the negative stigmas that have followed the age group throughout their lives. Hard working and striving for better, they look to their employers to provide training to enhance their leadership abilities.

1) Brief and Concise

As information continues to be consumed in shorter, more digestible bits, the average millennial is comfortable with this form of learning. Small snippets of information are how they’re used to deciphering information. This should transition over to manufacturers training programs as well. Keeping things brief and cutting straight to the point can go a long way when tailoring training programs to the younger demographic. Ensuring that redundant information is cut out and only the valuable ‘big picture’ ideas and concepts are included can dramatically improve the performance of the program and employees willingness to get involved.

2) Relevant and Useful

A trait that isn’t isolated to the millennial generation is the need for relevant and actionable information when it comes to training. It may be time to take out some of the ‘fluff’ that may be associated with work training and programs. Trust falls and employee team building practices may have their place in certain workplace events, but when it comes to training keep it relevant and on topic.Staying focused on what the individuals are there to learn is absolutely vital. Any deviation from the training materials can lead a workforce to lose faith in the program. Offering information that can be put into practice the second they step out of the training program will greatly increase the chances of an individual practicing their leadership skills in the workplace. If they start to see how this information can be put to work soon after their training, they will be much more likely to participate in other training events and continue working on becoming the manufacturing leader of tomorrow. For some team building ideas click here to learn more.

3) Collaborative

Millennials are extremely outspoken about their willingness to work as a team. The idea of a ‘hive mind’ has been ingrained in them from birth, surrounded by resources like Google and Wikipedia. Millennials do well in a group and insist businesses will thrive if the information silos are broken down. Training should take this approach as well. Focusing on working together to ensure everyone working for a manufacturer can grow professionally can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a business’s training program. At its core, leadership is the ability to work well with others. Ensuring that the future manufacturing leaders have this important trait is absolutely vital.

As a manufacturer uses these tips above to create training programs aimed at millennials, businesses will have an easier time choosing their middle managers and successors. Training programs aren’t just a way to improve the ability of the workforce, business leaders can get a feel for the individuals working on the ground floor. Those that show extraordinary progress and leadership skills within these training programs should be examined more closely. Manufacturers may be struggling with a skills and leadership gap, but offering the right kind of training can help bridge both barriers.


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