As manufacturing specialists visits facilities throughout the U.S. each week, one consistent theme continues to come into focus: the knowledge and skill-level that is exiting organizations through retirement is becoming increasingly difficult to replace with today’s applicant pool. In fact, it’s the buzz in manufacturing media almost daily now.

Want to make someone fresh out of college cry? Welcome them aboard, show them to their Unix box in the corner and show them an app being served up by terminal emulation . . . NO cut/paste, NO multiple windows, NO mouse — need I say more? They’d run away. Reminds me of when my kid saw grandma’s rotary phone last year and asked, “what is that?”

In most of our customer visits, decisive action is being taken, evident through the fact that they are deploying (or have deployed) modern, state-of-the-art, mobile enabled ERP technology and process improvement. In some prospect visits, that’s not always the case. In order to kick start your organization toward the goal of attracting the next generation, I’d like to offer five steps to get you on the path:

1. Inexpensive Perks, BIG Impact

Get the creative juices flowing in HR. Many companies gain tremendous reputations for having great benefits when in reality, it adds minimal cost to their bottom line. How about a $50 gym membership allowance for your employees to promote your commitment to health & wellness? It may seem nominal, but try it and see. Healthy employees tend to be happier as well.

Another idea is to show how the company cares by offering travel incentives. It could be as simple as offering $10 cash for overnight trips. Employees can go to the movies or have a Frappuccino and not bother with a receipt — because they’re on the road, away from their routine or family.

These small perks can have a big impact.

2. Technology Choice Matters

As long as there are clear organizational parameters in place, some level of employee choice over their work technology, catered to individual working styles, can create efficiency gains and optimize results. There is a lot of buzz right now about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and this is a consideration that shouldn’t be taken lightly when thinking about field, shop floor and warehouse employees. With smartphones, tablets and phablets (it’s a real thing) to consider, be sure your ERP, EAM and other systems are HTML5, mobile-web ready so they can be OS agnostic across all devices.

3. Get Mobile Ready
The convergence of applications across devices will foster an even more mobile-dependent workforce in the future. Businesses that want to be more productive must urgently address legacy concerns across all of their software platforms in order to be mobile-ready. On the bright side, this mobile revolution is making business communication faster and in many cases more efficient. For example, “Infor Ming.le” is a social workflow tool designed for business providing a centralized platform for collaboration, business process improvement, and contextual analytics. You’ll enable your organization to host virtual meetings from anywhere and enable your people to work efficiently regardless of where they physically are, potentially saving on costs like travel.

4. Strengthen the HR/IT Relationship
Technology provision has the potential to become a key differentiating factor in choosing where to work. Strong relationships between HR departments and IT divisions will become more important in both attracting and retaining quality employees. Be sure ideas and implemented programs are being communicated both ways and use this information in all recruiting efforts.

5. Market Your Company Better
Even if you operate in the B2B stratosphere high above consumer visibility, be purposeful in marketing your company to the consumer level. How about your green efforts, your community giving and volunteer programs, your commitment to employee quality of life? Use these alluring messages to get people interested in your forward moving enterprise.

About the author: Bobby Rudder is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Godlan, Inc., an Infor SyteLine ERP Gold Partner. Follow Godlan on Twitter @Godlan_Inc

About Infor SyteLine ERP:
Infor SyteLine’s proven power to streamline every aspect of your manufacturing operation draws on 25 years of refinement by Infor’s manufacturing experts. You don’t need to roll the dice on untested, cloud-based ERP solutions—now you can access SyteLine from any computer and any Internet connection in the world. You can move seamlessly between the on-premises and cloud-based versions any time—or a combination of the two. You can also expand, relocate, and collaborate with suppliers worldwide, and respond to new opportunities at a moment’s notice.