As ‘baby boomer’ supply chain leaders begin to reach the age of retirement, the rise of an emerging generation of millennial executives begins to flourish.
A recent US survey of the industry by Gartner found that a mere three per cent of the population of manufacturing professionals are in their 20s. In order for the supply chain sector to ensure its long-term health, it needs to look to the brightest talent for effective succession planning.
There are many misconceptions about millennials, but one of the consistent traits is that they are a generation of ambitious employees that want to perform at a high level and achieve results fast.
The supply chain sector may not seem like a natural choice of the brand-conscious aspirational millennial, but if the industry positions the opportunity correctly, they will see that there is huge scope for innovation. Areas such as self-driving cars, augmented reality, AI and robotics are all emerging as transformers for the supply chain sector. Millennials are the perfect fit to be at the forefront of this next level of disruption for an industry undergoing a revolution.
Gartner detected four key areas that supply chain leaders can target to attract and retain the best emerging talent.
Start engaging with Gen Y early. Establish a supply chain internship program in collaboration with universities and ensure that this includes meaningful work experience, understanding of company culture and senior executive exposure.
Establishing a collaborative work environment that empowers staff to be innovative is crucial. Starting mentoring programs and informal catch-ups or lunch briefings will help millennials adapt to industry and company values.
Career development from the get-go
The ambitious nature of millennials can be leveraged by showing them how they can fast-track their career development. By helping them build on their core strengths, setting goals and providing frequent feedback, the emerging recruit can be shaped into a supply chain executive armed with all the right development tools. Millennials need to see short-term success to ensure engagement.
Cross-functional program access
Millennials are a generation born with a smartphone in their hand. They are fast learners, adaptive and need to learn multiple aspects of a business to stay engaged. Top graduates are more likely to accept offers from companies that have formal supply chain rotational programs.
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