Many manufacturing companies are in an interesting position where they employ individuals that span multiple generations. As a result, it requires effective management techniques that take the characteristics and working style of each generation into account. Here are some tips for successfully managing a team with millennials, Generation Xers and baby boomers – and how to get the most from your employees.

Utilize Different Educational Strategies

Facilitating learning and development can be done more effectively by understanding that different generations tend to respond to certain educational strategies. For example, baby boomers might prefer more traditional learning materials like handbooks, while millennials will probably thrive with more tech-oriented materials like online training. That’s why it’s smart to offer a variety of instruction formats so employees can choose the one that makes the most sense to them.

Accommodate Individual Preferences

To maximize the productivity of your manufacturing team, it’s important to know the wants and needs of various employees and assign tasks accordingly. For instance, a baby boomer that has decades of experience might thrive in a position where they can be in charge of a project and impart wisdom on younger workers. On the other hand, millennials might function best as part of a team where they can use their creativity to be more productive.

Play to the Strengths of Each Generation and Promote Collaboration

Employees of different ages tend to bring their own unique skill sets and expertise to the table. You can capitalize on this by allowing each generation to contribute in its own special way. This might include having baby boomers share their experience and explain the ins and outs of manufacturing with millennials, and having millennials help baby boomers become more tech-savvy. Remember to focus on the contributions that individuals can make, and strive to ensure that everyone works together to achieve common goals.

Stay Away from Stereotypes

Finally, it’s important to never put someone in a box and stereotype them because of their age. That’s because there are always outliers – and employees may not live up their full potential when there preconceived notions. For example, you may find someone 60 plus who is super tech-savvy and someone in their early 20s who is a natural leader.

Having a diverse manufacturing team can be an asset for your company when you know how to approach managing your employees. By practicing these techniques, you should be able to establish a cohesive unit where everyone plays their own unique role and contributes to create a highly productive workforce.

For more advice on manufacturing management best practices and how to get the most from your team, check out our blog or reach out to our experienced recruiting team today.


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