June 2016 | Commentary | Smart Moves

Is Your Company Millennial Friendly?

Tags: Education & Careers, Logistics, Education, Supply Chain

ML Peck is Senior Vice President, Programs and Product Development, Institute for Supply Management, 480-752-6276

When it comes to attracting millennial job candidates, the supply management sector has a decided advantage. College students say they're attracted to our profession because of the number of different disciplines within it, the breadth of responsibility, and its impact on sustainability and the global footprint.

We may have an easier time drawing in millennials, but can we retain them? Here are three actions I recommend to keep millennials in your workforce.

  1. Assign meaningful projects that have a direct impact on your bottom line. This particular generation craves responsibility for projects and decisions that make a difference. Consider Leah Elders, team leader inventory analysis, ConAgra Foods in St. Louis, and a ThomasNet.com and ISM 2015 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star.

    Only four years into her supply chain career, Elders has tackled increasingly challenging roles. Currently, she's responsible for executing a new process of inventory obsolescence management, handling millions of dollars of at-risk inventory and working with a cross-functional team to find the root cause. She directly saved $1.4 million of inventory in her year on the team.

  2. Give millennials the opportunity to learn, improve, and grow. Whether it's a lateral move to a new department, rotations from the headquarters office to a warehouse or a call center, or a transfer to a different geographic location, millennials are eager for the "opportunity to move around under the same roof," says Grayson Mitchell, area sales manager, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and a 2012 recipient of the prestigious R. Gene Richter Scholarship.

    Danielle Amico, a contract administrator at Princeton University, N.J., and 30 Under 30 Supply Chain Star embraced procurement after starting her career in human resources and has never looked back. Recently, Amico played a key role in developing Princeton's first design-build construction template that was used on a $6.7-million renovation project, a contract she negotiated and administered.

  3. Maintain a millennial-friendly environment. Baby boomers may think millennials don't share their work ethic, but nothing could be further from the truth. Millennials are effective; they just work much differently than the previous generation.

    Fluke Electronics discovered that truth about Amy Georgi, their program manager of supply chain acquisition and integrations and the 2015 30 Under 30 Megawatt Star.

    After joining Fluke right out of college, Georgi was assigned to a six-month-old factory and quickly organized its supply base into a highly effective operation. Impressed, management asked her to lead a complex, three-phase move of a plant being divided into two facilities, a job she skillfully handled.

    In the midst of another plant move, Georgi had to relocate for her husband's education. Fluke did not have any remote employees but Georgi was so valuable to corporate procurement it lobbied for a policy change. She has worked remotely for the past four years.

    Millennials want to work for authentic and trustworthy companies. They're looking for companies that make a positive difference in the world, protect the environment, and treat people as individuals, not tools to accomplish a task.

    "We take pride in new challenges, but if we are not being challenged, we tend to look elsewhere," says Mitchell. "As we get five, 10, and 15 years into the future, millennials will represent a large portion of the workplace. If companies have not been preparing for this, they should start today."

    Editor's Note: Click here for more coverage of the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars program.






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