The Importance of a Manufacturer’s Involvement in Local Community

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In 2019, it is certainly no secret that the dark cloud of a skilled labor shortage looms over the manufacturing industry. In fact, according to research conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, over the next ten years, manufacturers will likely need to add 4.6 million manufacturing jobs — 2.4 million of which may go unfilled. Furthermore, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey of HR professionals at manufacturing companies, more than one out of four (27%) members of their workforce are age 55 or older, which means that those companies stand to lose 27% of their workforce to retirement and 27% of their knowledge base. These are staggering numbers, but the situation is not hopeless! There is much that can be done from an employer point of view to ensure that they are attracting the Millennials and Gen Z generations to their community.

Research from Deloitte indicates that of the nearly 8,000 Millennials it surveyed, 75 percent believed that businesses are too focused on their own agendas rather than striving to make an impact on society. Additionally, Great Place to Work reported that over 50 percent of Millennials were influenced to accept a job based on a company’s involvement with a cause. These are important factors to consider when gearing up to attract and, more importantly, retain the next generation of employees.

Not all manufacturers have a clear impact on society through their products, however, they can have a clear impact on the community where their employees live and work. Northwire is a good example of this phenomenon. Our technical custom cable can be found in a variety of integral applications from electrosurgical devices to industrial automation and even unmanned drones to help keep soldiers safe. However, if you think about an electrical cable by itself, it might not seem so exciting at first glance. So, how do we entice Millennials and Gen Z to join a rural manufacturing company? One avenue is through a focus on employee and community engagement.

Northwire Volunteers to clean up in the community

Northwire is proudly being named the 2019 Osceola Community Partner of the Year, which comes as a result of a committed focus to embedding itself into the local community in a variety of ways, including:

  • Employee-led Volunteer Committee
  • Offering two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from local high schools
  • Active participation in the Osceola Career Academy Program
  • Summer internships
  • Osceola Community Champion through sponsorships and employee volunteers who help at various community events

 “As a manufacturer in a rural industrial park, we put an emphasis on employee and local community engagement because we want to stand out as an employer of choice to those that live and work here. We want to remove the perception that when you graduate, you have to move into the city to find work. Reputation is so important, and the next generation of employees care about company values, but they don’t just want to see a value poster on the wall, they want to see those values in action,” Lynda Flores HR Manager for Northwire.

As you think about your workforce and their yearning to do more, consider forming a Volunteer Committee that can come together and strategize on how to contribute to local events, fundraisers, and non-profits. This type of program helps in two ways, it improves the company culture by promoting teamwork and philanthropy while also enhancing the company’s image in the community as one that cares about more than profit. These are all important factors on the road to being recognized as a Community Champion and Employer of Choice.