Our holiday editorial finds us considering how we can better get along. Just today, I am reminded of the hatred in the world as a gunman opened fire in a California nightclub. And this tragedy of hate comes hot on the heels of a hate-filled rampage in a synagogue across town from our office here in Pittsburgh. The recent election is another reminder that hate fills even our political process. Why can’t we all get along?

At this special season of the year, many of our holiday songs may provide an answer. Songs like “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” and even favorites such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” communicate love. A 1969 favorite by Jackie DeShannon encourages us to “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” because the world will be a better place. How would our workplaces be different/better if we tried to do just that?

I was struck by a couple of recent articles discussing employee loyalty. Loyalty in employees is a particularly valuable commodity these days when it is becoming so difficult to hire good people. We want our employees to stay, and loyal employees want to stay.

Attracting good people is about having a great place to work. Corporate culture that values these employees and their contributions is one of the things that makes your business a great place to work. How can we value our employees? Different corporate cultures reflect this differently, but compensation is definitely part of the discussion.

A recent news story about a company in our industry enforces this, but it also reflects their unique corporate culture. A write-up in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier about Advanced Heat Treat Corporation (AHT) talks with employees who say, “AHT truly cares about employee quality of life.”

Compensation and benefits are clearly part of the value proposition for these employees. Three-year employee Jennifer Lassen said, “Many benefits are provided, such as competitive wages, extremely lucrative (paid) time-off structure, ongoing professional training and tuition reimbursement.”

Adam Dehl, a 22-year veteran at AHT adds, “(AHT) consistently practices our ‘core values’ of service, integrity, loyalty, teamwork, passion and professionalism.” He added that these values are a way of life at AHT. Congratulations, AHT! Keep up the good work.

What can you do to make your company a place where people want to work? What changes can be made to corporate culture to help employees realize they are valued? The challenge is that people in our workforce are the same but different. Everyone wants to feel valued (i.e., loved), but that may look different for the range of people in the workforce – Baby Boomers to Millennials.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are recognized as people born in the years ranging from 1983-2001. With a current age ranging from 35 down to 17, these folks are moving into the workforce in large numbers. Companies have found that keeping these new employees happy at work requires a paradigm shift to address different expectations. 

How do we successfully incorporate (recruit and train) Millennials into our manufacturing companies? Here are some ideas.

  • Highlight advanced technologies
  • Focus on work-life balance
  • Focus on career development
  • Open the communication lines
  • Provide frequent recognition
  • Provide opportunities for learning (e.g., mentoring program)
  • Manage cultural clashes
  • Let them make their mark
  • Offer international experiences
  • Allow remote collaboration – flexibility

We began this discussion with how we can all get along and how to help our employees feel valued (loved). At Industrial Heating, we want everyone reading these words to know that they are valued by us, and we hope this holiday season and the coming new year bring you peace, joy and love.