NTEA’s Workforce Development Task Force addresses key industry issue

Guest editorial
By Wm. Craig Bonham, Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Reading Truck Group

This article was published in the April 2017 edition of NTEA News.

When it comes to understanding, retaining and training a diversified workforce, there’s often no substitute for experience. In the more than 34 years I have been part of this industry, I’ve come to realize that what drives me day in and day out, may not drive others.

Have you ever asked yourself any of the following questions?

  • I can’t find anyone that seeks out our industry for a long-term career path. How can I change that perception? 
  • Where can I find welders? 
  • Why am I suffering through a high level of employee turnover? 
  • Two employees who have been with the company for more than 20 years are retiring in the spring. How do I replace that knowledge and skillset?
  • The last individual I hired stayed less than 15 months — can I change that going forward?

If you have experienced any of these situations, you’re not alone. Most of us have encountered these issues — even more so today than in the past.

As a Gen Xer, it took me a while to really understand the millennial generation that now comprises the largest generational work force in U.S. history. My latest education came from sessions at NTEA’s 2016 Executive Leadership Summit and The Work Truck Show® 2017. As part of a team that has studied what drives multi-generational workforces, I better understand why their other personal and professional direction are significantly different than mine.

Our long-term employees are retiring, and their rich industry knowledge is following them out the door. This valuable information and tribal wisdom needs to be captured, retained and transferred to those new employees who are essential to the future growth of our industry. Striving to capture work-life balance is of premium importance to this next-generation workforce. They are also extremely inquisitive, socially active and exceptional team players who seek fast growth and recognition for their efforts. 

NTEA formed a Workforce Development Task Force to focus on developing tools and resources for member companies to use when attracting new employees, growing current staff and exploring ways to retain the talent necessary for healthy business model growth. While the task at hand is in a developmental stage, it will be a long-term Association initiative.

As chairman of the Task Force, I invite you to follow our forthcoming reports, editorials and future educational offerings. Focusing on this challenge today will pay dividends for your company for many years to come.

Learn more and look for updates at ntea.com/workforcedevelopment.