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Getting to Know Your Designer
In this issue, we examine how fabs work with their design customers, educating them on the critical elements of fabrication needed to be successful, as well as the many tradeoffs involved. How well do you really know your customer? What makes for a closer, more synchronized working relationship?
In this issue, the biggest names in PCB manufacturing share their economic outlook for the upcoming year and beyond. As you will see, they were all bullish on our industry, but there was some apprehension as well. No one wants to get burned by another the supply chain disruption.
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The New Chapter
By Hannah Nelson & Paige Fiet
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The New Chapter: It’s a Brave, New Workforce
What qualities must employers possess to attract and retain some of the brightest talent in today’s ever-changing workforce environment? How can companies reevaluate their hiring processes and offerings to meet those expectations? As the workforce evolves, I believe companies desperately need to change their traditional hiring strategies if they want to attract the next generation, which has different expectations and priorities when it comes to choosing the right career.
As I have closed out my college career and now enter the workforce, I can reflect on the expectations I had for my future employer and what made me choose my new career path. (I’m starting a new job as a validation engineer at Texas Instruments this month.) It is important that employers understand these priorities and adapt their hiring techniques accordingly.
Offer a Work-Life Balance
A priority for the next generation of skilled workers is a work-life balance. As employees, we spend 40+ hours of our week at work. We want to be treated like a valued employee. We are looking for flexible work schedules, possible options to work remotely, and balance between our personal and professional lives. Dolly Parton says, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” That is exactly it: This new generation wants to “make a life.” We want time to travel, see family, and relax when we can. When that work-life balance doesn’t exist in a company, burnout rises and overall job satisfaction quickly declines. As the Harvard Business Review states, “88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.”1
When choosing my first job, I researched and analyzed organizations that had a good reputation for work-life balance. I knew I would need a flexible work schedule in order to see my now long-distance family. To accommodate for a new work-life balance, employers should offer flexible work schedules that allow employees to balance their personal and professional lives.
Make it Meaningful, Not Just Busy
The next generation of workers values meaningful work, not just busy work. We yearn for the opportunity to truly make a difference in our work and contribute to meaningful causes. We want to know there is a sense of purpose that follows the work we are doing every day. As Forbes states, “Younger employees want to believe in the value of their work and their company’s purpose. They’re willing to work very hard to reach meaningful goals and contribute to meaningful achievements.”2
As I looked at potential companies, it was important to me that employees at the company liked their work and found it meaningful. Employers can promote this type of work environment by highlighting the company’s mission, values, and the testimonials their employees make about the work they do.
Remember the Value of Teamwork
The next generation values collaborative work environments. They seek out companies that prioritize organizational teamwork and open communication. Again from Forbes, “Studies have shown that this new generation of employee not only thrives in highly collaborative workplaces, but is now making this a key requirement in selecting where to work.”3 We seek workplaces that foster community and promote collaboration across departments. Employers can promote and encourage collaboration by creating a positive work culture that allows for teamwork and a healthy work-life balance.
Provide Avenues for Growth
Finally, we value lifelong learning as a way to invest in our own career development. This could take several forms, including more technical training, leadership training, pursuing outside interests, etc. This is a way to invest into the company we work for, stay up-to-date with current systems, and invest in our future careers.
Harvard Business Review states, “82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe that workers will need to hone their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year in order to maintain a competitive advantage in a global market.”1 What’s a better way to attract talent than by helping them stay competitive in the ever-changing market?
I remember hearing in my senior design class that to stay competitive as an engineer we must always be learning. When looking for my first job, I asked about the opportunities companies offered to keep their employees competitive in today’s job market. Attracting top talent can be possible by offering opportunities for training and development, which allows us to learn skills and advance in our careers within the company.
Traditional notions of success in the workplace have been linked to financial stability, but the next generation of workers seeks careers that offer work-life balance, personal growth, and purpose. To both draw in talent and allow us to thrive in our new roles, employers should be seeking opportunities for growth. Align to the evolving needs of the workforce and you’ll attract and retain the top talent you seek. You will become a driver for success in the dynamic landscape of the future.
- “What Your Future Employees Want Most,” by Tim Minahan, May 31, 2021, Harvard Business Review.
- “What Do New Generations Of Employees Want, And Can Your Business Adjust?” by Liz Kislik, Jan. 28, 2022, Forbes.com.
- “Gen Y and the Collaborative Workplace,” by Bill Patterson, May 29, 2012, Forbes.com.
This column originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine.
More Columns from The New ChapterThe New Chapter: Easing the Learning Curve for Young Professionals
The New Chapter: My Review of Happy Holden’s ‘24 Essential Skills for Engineers’
The New Chapter: Teach the Terminology
The New Chapter: Reimagining PCB Design in Education
The New Chapter: The Pros and Cons of Tribal Knowledge
The New Chapter: Smoothing the Rocky Road of Onboarding
The New Chapter: Four Steps to Developing an Improvement Process
The New Chapter: A Mini Manufacturing Ecosystem