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Summer 2013 | Target
facturing industry as the next cool
career to get into. However, talking
about making it cool and sexy is not
enough. We need to show that our
industry is interesting, challenging,
motivating and full of opportunities
for growth. We have to take action.
From my perspective as a woman,
being sexy embodies getting attention,
demonstrating confidence and provid-
ing attraction. There’s absolutely noth-
ing wrong with that. Companies that
are able to discover their own element
of sexiness and can communicate what
they stand for will easily attract talent,
skill and young people.
Instead of complaining about our
unreliable new generation, let’s step
for a moment into their shoes and look
at this challenge from a completely
different angle. Perhaps we can shift
from the blame and get into the game
by addressing these questions:
• How do you develop a better under -
standing for Generation Y to be able to
recognize what’s important for them?
• Why would a young person want to
work for you?
• How do you initiate collaborations
• Have you created an environment of
respect in which people are appreci-
ated and new ideas are encouraged?
• What does the physical work envi-
ronment look like? Is it clean? Is it
organized? Is it safe and healthy?
• How do you encourage great work-
• What minor changes could be made
to make a great first impression when
someone walks through your door?
• How do you inspire young people to
develop a passion for excellence?
• How do you instill a sense of na-
tional pride in being part of design-
ing, developing and producing a
product in our country?
• Is your company website new, in-
novative and appealing?
• Do you think your workforce
promotes its workplace to others?
• Do you showcase people instead
of machinery, tools and equipment
on your website and promotional
• When visitors
your plant, do
they feel the
great energy of
bunch of zombies
• Are you excited
about your orga-
nization and is
• Can you look
beyond a resume
and see more in a young person than
he or she can see in themselves? Can
you see their potential?
• Are you ready and willing to com-
pensate our youth so that they are
able to make a decent living?
• Do you foster an environment of
growth and development?
• Do you allow your employees to
learn from their mistakes?
• What is the tone of communication
within your organization? Is it all
about issues and problems, or is it
To provide an example, an entry-
level position at Volkswagen requires
specific education and training. On
its website, Volkswagen promotes
that it is willing to invest in people
by providing them with the education
and training they need to succeed at
the company. Volkswagen’s prerequi-
site is that it looks for young people
who want to be the best at what they
do and who are able to demonstrate
self-confidence and a team-oriented
attitude. Volkswagen’s unique ap-
proach to attracting and retaining
outstanding employees is a key fac-
tor in its overall success.
Now you may say, “We are not
are right. Volk-
become an over -
night sensation. It
has taken years.
So what is the
lesson? It’s about
ful and willing to
become a little bit
better each and
every day. Rather
the status quo
and settling for
living and breath-
ing a mindset of excellence.
It’s my intent to encourage you to
focus on circumstances that are well
within your control. If we don’t make
manufacturing more attractive to to-
day’s youth, we will lose this potential
labor pool to another sector or, worse,
to another country. •
Karin Lindner is
the founder of
Solutions. She is
also a speaker,
Gen Y, we should look
inside at Gen My
By Karin Lindner
We have to rebrand the
as the next cool career
to get into... We need to
show that our industry is
motivating and full of
opportunities for growth.
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