In the past two years, I have seen an increase in a younger, more millennial workforce. At 41, I am the old guy on the floor with 75% of the staff between the ages of 18-34. What’s fascinating, ODL is part of the manufacturing sector of the industry, specifically, dental. The lab industry has suffered dramatically in the past 2 decades with lab closures throughout the country and a shortage of those interested in becoming lab techs at an early age. To my surprise, we are more recently experiencing an uptick in the millennial generation interested in working for ODL.

So why the change? I believe it is two-fold. First is offering more technology-based positions, and the other is making sure we are engaging and challenging our employees always to be better. This philosophy is not a generational approach though; it is a “human” approach. When people see companies investing in the future, it brings confidence that the organization is working for more than just profitability, but for sustainability. The younger generation not only recognizes that but values it.

Secondly, if we can bring our people into that effort, through training, an environment of learning, and keeping a focus on accountability, it yields trust and hard work from those within.

I have to boast as I have a great example from a young up and comer in our organization. He started in the digital department, and his drive and dedication to making a better work environment have him nominated as a “Millennial in Manufacturing” here in Buffalo, NY. Check out the video:

I do not want to trivialize the difficulties in finding or maintaining good people. It’s hard work and takes constant effort, but to steal this line from my brother and partner at ODL: “Employees who love what they do and have an awesome atmosphere to do it in = customers who love who they work with. Don’t overcomplicate things”.