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Prepare your industry for the next generation

Wearable AI and VR devices, automation and advanced robots continuously make its way into workplaces and industries across the globe. Once those technologies are in place, the employees’ ability to think about the next step of innovation becomes more important.
The future workplace of the industry will demand much higher competence and the employee will become hard currency. Therefore, those who succeed in attracting the most competent employees will also be able to create the best industry and the most lucrative business. In order to attract, engage and keep them in your workplace, you need to first understand their motivations, needs and expectations. In this case, that target audience are millennials born between 1981 and 1996, and generation Z born from 1997 onward.


Millennials are considered to be a digital generation. They also exercise more, eat smarter and smoke less than previous generations. Professional growth and development opportunities are all top priorities when looking for a new job. So is the need for flexibility and the possibility of working anywhere, anytime. A workplace that supports diversity is important to them.

Generation Z

This is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation. Stress prevents them from taking on leadership responsibilities, and companies should therefore consider putting more recourses into wellness and health programs. Overly protected parents have affected their emotional, social and intellectual development making it more challenging for them to be autonomous as an adult. Managers should trust them in making decisions and being in charge of projects while giving them plenty of support. A job that fulfills a purpose is more important than money, and they want to work for a socially or environmentally responsible company.

The most important thing to remember here is that Millennials tend to be more optimistic and idealistic whereas Generation Z leans toward being more pragmatic and pessimistic. Based on these generations of employees, managers should focus on the five following areas in order to create a more attractive workplace. 

1. More freedom and flexibility

Success is no longer defined by salary, promotion or working overtime. Employees of today, and in the future, want time to make a difference, both at work and outside of work. The work/life balance is even a top factor for these generations when evaluating jobs. Manufacturers should therefore offer paid time off, and if you are a daredevil you might even consider implementinga 4-day workweek.

2. Empowerment

Employees want to make a difference in life, which also includes their job. Managers need to empower them to do so by involving them in processes, asking them for feedback, and giving them responsibility as well as tools that will help them succeed.

3. Growth and development

There are many opportunities for career growth within manufacturing. Perhaps consider calling out potential advancement opportunities in job ads and create a career roadmap you can show during interviews. The more you can share the easier it becomes to recruit. Manufacturers then need to provide mentorship programs and training tools to support this.

4. Technology

It’s no secret that these two generations are digital natives. Managers should therefore highlight the advanced technologies that drive modern manufacturing. By doing so, manufacturers can change the inaccurate perception of a dirty and outdated factory and instead generate awareness towards a leaner production, an ergonomic and clean working environment and a greener way of doing business.

5. Lean, clean and green

Gen Z has grown up observing the devastation of climate change brought on by humans.

No wonder they are practicing an eco-conscious lifestyle and list the environment, human rights, equality and CSR as top causes for them. In order to attract this sustainable employee, companies should take a stand for a cause that makes sense to them and also communicate honest company values and transparency. Something that is more challenging for large corporations, since the perception is that they are less ethical than small ones. Modern industry must also be driven by an overall concern for sustainability as well as balancing energy and resources in order not to adversely affect the environment. Only then can you earn the best employees and create the most lucrative industry.

Christer Lundgren, sales manager at OCS – specialists in smart overhead conveyor systems – emphasizes another important part for future industries to include when preparing for the next generation of coworkers, namely safety.

– We have invested in a patented technology that enables us to offer modern industry solutions that are clean, oil-free, ergonomic and quiet. But above all, the system is also driven by friction and is therefore safe for employees as it would stop if there is something in the way that obstructs the carrier. In the future, the safety of an industry will be a hygiene factor. Our systems and machines will be a contributing part to this as they provide a safe workplace.