One in four manufacturing workers is 55 or older. As these 4+ million Baby Boomers near retirement and take key skills with them, many companies are trying to close the skills gap by recruiting younger and less-experienced workers to take their place. Investing in the younger generation is critical, but there is an additional solution you can tap into immediately:
Reduce turnover among Baby Boomers by making your working environment more supportive of their health, safety, and productivity.
How reliant are manufacturing companies on Baby Boomers?
According to the Manufacturing Institute, more than 90% of 2,800 surveyed manufacturing companies say they benefit from the skills of their 55 and older employees. Nearly 50% say they benefit “to a great extent.”
Baby boomers bring valuable skills and experience, high character and work ethic, and leadership qualities to an industry that relies on all five traits to succeed. They also play an important role in succession planning – the training and growth of younger/newer manufacturing workers.
With more than 4 million Baby Boomers in the 16-million-and-growing manufacturing workforce, their role in the success of your company’s past, present, and future can’t be overstated.
Why are Baby Boomers leaving the manufacturing workforce?
Health is the number one reason for early retirement, reports the Center for Retirement Research. This is especially true in a field like manufacturing where employees work long hours, stand for extended periods of time, and often operate heavy equipment and products.
Other reasons Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce include wages, benefits, and a mismatch between personal and organizational values. The latter can also be tied to employee health, as a main frustration is workplace culture/work environment. Company X may have a mission and product dedicated to building a better world, but if their workplace doesn’t match the messaging it rings hollow.
Take the below working area for example, from a leading and multi-national brewing company. Visible in this warehouse are worn out and broken floor mats which are tripping hazards. There is also exposed metal, which is another tripping hazard and hard on a worker’s feet, knees, back, and neck.
How can you reduce turnover among your older workers?
Prioritize the health, safety, and productivity of the Baby Boomers in your workforce. Entice them to stick around by proving that their well-being matters to you. Here are three ways you can do this:
1. Create a workplace that improves worker safety
The floor mats shown in the photo above are torn, uneven, stacked, and long past their useful life. The ripped mat parts create a tripping hazard. The stacking also creates a tripping hazard. The uneven layers and transitions from mat to metal create a tripping hazard and wear on the feet, knees, backs, and necks of the workers who spend 8-12 hours a day in this area.
If you were a Baby Boomer with concerns about your health as retirement nears, would you choose to work several more years in this type of environment?
If you were a young manufacturer new to the field, would you feel motivated to join a company with working areas like this?
In a candidate-driven market where people have significantly more options and choices than in years past, the answer is likely no thank you.
Here is a glimpse of the anti-fatigue mat we designed for the multinational brewing company. The custom mat, from AcroMat’s 100-1 Series Premium Anti-Fatigue mat line, features various angles and extended edges to cover exposed metal flooring. The peninsula travels down a connected hallway, removing the need for stacked mat pieces to create a cushioned walkway. The yellow borders clearly highlight the entry and exit points for the work cell to reduce trip hazards.
2. Create a workplace that improves worker health
Premium anti-fatigue mats reduce employee fatigue and joint impact by 30-50%. They provide a balance of comfort and support that stimulates blood flow. The ergonomic qualities can help reduce chronic neck, back, and lower extremity issues that come with standing for long periods of time and working extended hours.
The 100-1 Series mat above was designed to last 3-8 years and comes with a 2-year full replacement warranty for material and workmanship. The 100% nitrile rubber doesn’t break down over time, meaning workers experience the anti-fatigue qualities for the entire lifespan of the mat.
Here are 4 additional ways anti-fatigue mats like the 100-1 Series contribute to improved worker health:
I. Antimicrobial – Kills microorganisms like bacteria and mold; prevents them from ever growing.
II. Latex free – Stops workers from developing serious allergies with repeat exposure.
III. Silicon free – Less taxing on the environment; silicon also more easily tears/breaks down.
IV. Chemical resistant – Harmful chemicals don’t soak into the mat fabric; can be easily cleaned.
3. Create a workplace that elevates worker productivity
Anti-fatigue mats like the 100-1 Series above can help keep your 55+ workers productive in a variety of ways:
I. Beveled edges that make it easier to move on/off the mat without slipping, tripping, or falling.
II. Customizable mats and properties that make workers aware of their surroundings.
III. Reduces absenteeism by eliminating preventable injury risks.
IV. Reduces fatigue, creating more engaged and impactful working hours.
Overcome Turnover Concerns by Looking Inward
Manufacturing companies are bringing jobs and production back to the U.S. in record numbers to reduce reliance on vulnerable global supply chains. With production demands soaring and 2+ million jobs predicted to be unfilled by 2030, more than 80% of manufacturing leaders say recruitment and retention are their biggest challenges in the years ahead.
As you make plans to combat the growing labor shortage, make sure you have a workplace that prioritizes health, safety, and productivity. This will help you keep the valuable workers you have while supporting recruitment of the ones you need.
Design the custom anti-fatigue mat you need in minutes with AcroSketch – the first and only tool of its kind. Any length, shape, or size. Zero added costs for customization. Receive an immediate quote. Your order ships in 10 days or shipping is free!
Book a brief consultation with our team to learn more.