Policy and a Pint®: May the Workforce Be with You

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Policy and a Pint - May the Workforce Be with You
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Policy and a Pint: May the Workforce Be with You asks, what makes a job attractive to a potential employee? If you asked your parents or your grandparents, the answer might be simple: good pay, excellent benefits, opportunities for advancement. With today's younger generation though, you might hear things like "location in a vibrant or artistic city" to "ethical business practices" or even "yoga over the lunch hour."

Citizens League's Sean kershaw is joined by guest panelists Eric Harkins, Vice President of Nerd Experience at The Nerdery; Ravi Norman, CEO at Thor Construction; and Traci Tapani, Co-President of Wyoming Machine for a lively discussion about attracting the workers Minnesota needs in the 21st century.

Listen to the conversation above, or download the MP3. Find choice quotes from the discussion below.

On aspiration and opportunity:


"In the sports industry, or to pursue being a music artist, I never hear about a shortage of aspiring people on the supply side of either one of those ... you get a lot of people inspired, thinking that's their purpose and their passion, you see a lot of people aspiring to be great, and you'll see people putting in a lot of work. And actually, that's happening across socioeconomic strata and segments. Think about that for a second, because the probability of actual success, on an ongoing basis at a professional level in sports or to be a big musical artist, it's like hitting the lottery .... so that tells me that there's something in this model about how do you inspire people, how do you get them to see aspirational pathways and you tell the story – if you do you do that effectively so there have to be real opportunities, you can create people who will actually work hard, even if the probabilities are low. So that gives us insight into what we need to be doing in all of our industries."

—Ravi Norman, Thor Construction

On effective training:


"There are a lot of training programs that have been created in my industry and they are great programs. But the thing that people still lack that, in order to be successful as a manufacturer you have to know what you do when something goes wrong. Because inevitably something is going to go wrong and you have to fix it. So the older workers that are in my industry, their experience has taught them 'If something goes wrong here's what I could do to fix it.' Younger workers don't know that. And they don't learn that in the tech schools very effectively."
—Traci Tapani, Wyoming Industries

On age differences and engagement in the workplace:


"We have every age group in the Nerdery in software engineering positions, from teens to 50s. And it comes back to the passion. There are certainly generational differences in the workplace, but the leaders who know how to interact at an individual level with each of their employees can keep a 19-year-old and a 49-year-old equally engaged. Or it's certainly our hope and expectation that they do that. And that might be different, but until you get to know what motivates each of them, I think it's less about their age and more about the environment, the culture, the relationship with their leader and the opportunities that we provide on both ends of the spectrum."
—Eric Harkins, The Nerdery

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