The best businesses in the world know when it’s time to be flexible and adapt to changes in the environment.
Since you’re reading this, it’s safe to say that you’re willing to change and learn in order to become a better team member for your business.
So lets focus on the workplace trend everyone is talking about that when leveraged to its true potential, could give your business that edge it needs to thrive.
The trend, of course, is the Millennial generation entering the workforce in massive numbers.
Before you start rolling your eyes about Millennials and listing all the bad things you’ve heard about them as employees, consider this: by 2020 Millennials will make up a whopping 50 percent of the workforce.
What constitutes a Millennial anyway?
Here’s a quote from an Atlantic article that can clear things up:
“…researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss… define the group as “as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter.””
This rising group of talent will soon make up the majority of the U.S. workforce. Arguably the greatest advantage that Millennials can bring to your workplace is their familiarity with technology.
Millennials grew up using computers, the Internet, and smartphones, which have been some of the main drivers of economic growth over the past 20 years.
In addition, Millennials are increasingly infiltrating the consumer space, and companies are scrambling to keep up with their demands that look different from those of previous generations.
They’re a force to be reckoned with, and if you let them, they’ll help you transform your business for the better.
How Millennials Can Add New Life to Your Organization
If you want your business to thrive in the long run, your business has got to keep evolving.
And this isn’t just about making sure your business can keep up either. We’re not talking about being the one forty-year-old who can hang and party with the younger twenty-somethings.
No, we’re talking about transforming your business into the “IT” kid. The one that everyone admires. The kind of business people want to hang out with and look up to. The kind of business talented people trip over themselves for the opportunity to work with and for.
And to do that, you’ve got to have a workforce that can propel you to new heights, compelling you to push the envelope and forcing you to be an innovator.
Millennials can do that for your supply chain organization. How?
1. Millennials will keep you from getting comfortable with the status quo.
“This is how we do things here. This is the way we’ve always done it.”
If this is a common phrase heard within the walls of your company, then you could use some fresh young talent to bust up that stale thinking.
Millennials will come into your business with fresh new eyes. They’re not entrenched into your processes yet, and they can draw from their experiences in technology and digital products to make your business processes as intuitive and innovative was possible.
2. Millennials will propel you to embrace digital technologies to find efficiencies.
Digital technologies and Millennials go hand in hand. And digital innovations are hardly an area that a supply chain department can afford to be on the tail end of.
This definitely doesn’t mean you need to hop on the latest new thing as soon as possible. It does mean however that you should empower your new team members to see what’s out there and find out how and/or why you should consider it as a part of your overall process and workflow.
Simply put, Millennials – and their familiarity with technology – can be your competitive advantage.
4 Ways to Entice Millennials to Your Supply Chain Department
Although generalizations are often dangerous, right now they are necessary. Most Millennials value different things than the generations that came before them, both good and bad.
However, if you want to attract Millennials to your workplace, understanding these values will be key.
Here’s how those values can intersect with your company’s supply chain department.
1. Give Millennials Meaning and Flexibility In Their Work
Millennials want to change the world. They want to make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work.
Don’t get us wrong, Millennials like making money – but they want their job to have an additional purpose beyond a pay check.
So, if you want Millennials to join your supply chain department and stick around, make sure you demonstrate that your organization has a mission they can rally around – one that will make them proud to say they work there.
If your company as a whole doesn’t have a culture that contributes greatly to improving social issues, consider making it a core tenet of what you do within your department.
Community service is a great way to help do-good Millennials feel like they are making a difference while they build their careers.
Another way to create an environment that welcomes a younger generation is to create a culture that rewards the inherent strengths associated with the millennial workforce, rather than one that tries to beat the uniqueness out of them in an effort to force them to conform to the way everyone else works.
That may mean incorporating flexible work hours or not expecting everyone to be chained to their desks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day for purposes of visibility. Additional ways to make the jobs you have irresistibly attractive include perks such as gym memberships, extended time off and leadership opportunities that allow Millennials to show off their talents.
2. Make Mentoring A Core Part of Your Supply Department
“The energy of youth with the experience of age is a lethal combination.”
― Murad S. Shah
Millennials value being mentored more so than previous generations. They like getting face time and feedback with higher ups in their company – it makes Millennials feel like their work is important.
As such, it’s important to create a cross-pollination of experiences. Your older staff have a lot to teach new Millennials starting out their careers in supply chain.
And Millennials new to your department have a lot of knowledge to share with the rest of the team, particularly about embracing and quickly adapting to new digital technologies.
Call it a bit of dual mentoring.
Don’t do what many companies do. They want their young talent to come in, sit down, shut up and fall in line with the status quo so they can “pay their dues.” That’s a recipe for getting your new Millennials to ditch you in a year’s time.
3. Give Millennials Key Roles On Appropriate Projects
While many feel like work is something you do only because you need to eat and fund your lifestyle, Millennials look at their careers in a slightly different way.
They’re not so much about trying to find work-life balance; they are more interested in finding a way for the work they do to integrate well into their life.
And to do that, you’ve got to have jobs available that provide the level of fulfilment that gets your millennial employees excited about coming to work every day.
A simple way to do this is to make sure the younger members of your team feel like they are adding value and making a real difference in the work you’re doing on a regular basis.
So, instead of giving the newbies projects nobody else wants to work on, or that don’t have much impact, bring them in on the juicy, high-impact ones. Let them bring in those fresh eyes and their different approach to work to help you tackle a project.
The challenge will inspire them and make them feel they are part of making a difference. This will help them feel connected to your company and woo them into sticking around for a while.
4. Give Millennials A Diversity of Experience
Because Millennials pour so much of themselves into jobs they love, and they are comfortable integrating their jobs and their life, create an environment that enables them to do just that.
This includes showering them with attractive reasons to want to work and grow in your department. For instance, Millennials love to be continually challenged and to learn. So, incorporating ongoing professional development is a way to continue to invest in your team, but to show them that they are valued.
More specifically, consider putting your hires in this generation through a rotational program that allows them to get experience in various parts of the supply chain. The diversity of experience will help keep them engaged, and it will also help them problem solve and do their jobs better as they learn and grow.
It’s Time to Start Wooing Millennials
Your business can’t afford not to. While the supply chain team you have now may have served you well up to this point, they won’t be working for you forever.
As they move on to the next phase of their lives, you’ve got to prepare to move on to the next phase within your department.
That means attracting and retaining the millennial supply chain professional.
Think about the department you need to achieve the goals you have for your future. And then consider the unique traits the Millennials have, and how they can best be used to help you deliver superior results.
Soon enough, Millennials will be tripping over themselves to show you and the rest of the world what a great asset they are to your supply chain department.