Creativity, Innovation, and Education in the Workplace
Workforce trends continue to ebb and flow as we enter the new year. As our office meets with employers, we hear a common theme… business is great, but we are struggling to find workers. Most companies are taking a hard look at their wage and benefits package, culture of the company, employee engagement, and even introducing robotics to fill the worker void. With the baby boomer generation leaving the workforce, it has been challenging to fill their presence and wealth of experience. But what is the answer to the workforce issue? In short, there is no one size fits all solution, but creativity, innovation, and education seem to be high up on the list.
I predict that the workforce will continue to be an employee’s market so companies will need to be creative in the way they recruit and retain employees. The generation of workers now more than ever value flexibility as much as their benefits package. Companies in Ohio are exploring options like flexible hours, additional personal time, and three-day weekends. The topic of flexibility only expanded when speaking of the Covid pandemic. Many people were forced to stay home with their school-aged children or were provided the resources to work from home as they needed. The companies that are willing to find creative ways to show the workforce that they value their time are ahead of the game in terms of retainment.
Innovation is also a focus going into the new year. Businesses throughout the country have been thinking outside the box for many years with the products and services they provide and are now using innovation with the workforce. We are witnessing that here with Defiance County businesses with on site training centers, latest technology, the use of robotics, and more. The economic development also plans to create surveys for the community to determine what is holding an individual back from entering or re-entering the workforce. Perhaps it is childcare costs or a transportation issue preventing them from working or even a lack of knowledge of the amazing resources our partners like OhioMeansJobs have to offer to overcome some of those hurdles. This data has the potential to provide our businesses ways to be innovative on the workforce front like offering a childcare per diem as a benefit.
For long term growth of the workforce, we must also spend time educating our youth about the opportunities out there. Our office is working with the local schools to facilitate high school student tours to visit employers in the manufacturing, healthcare, business, and skilled trade industries. Because research shows that introducing youth to the workforce at a younger age is so important, we also hold a summer manufacturing camp geared towards our junior high aged students. So many students graduate high school unsure of where they want to land, and we want to make sure they know of the great opportunities available in Defiance County.
So, the answer to the workforce issue… we must be able to adapt as a community or as a business as we experience the current and future changes to the workforce. Those that can think outside the box and adapt will have a better chance at success.
Please contact our office to speak with Kortney Williams, Marketing and Workforce Manager, to discuss the Defiance County workforce initiatives: (419) 784-4471 or