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A lot has been written about millennials, the generation born between the 1980s and the turn of the new millenium, in terms of their personality traits, interests and how they will change the workplace. Some of that has stated to mix messages, but they are the incoming generation and will therefore be key to the success of your function and organisation. Mismanagement or poor recruitment may cause you to fall behind – by 2020, 50% of the global workforce will comprise millennials, according to research by PwC.
Some people label millennials lazy and believe that they are self-entitled and unable to concentrate because they are forever glued to their phones. Instead of believing that, perhaps the fact young people use their phones so much speaks volumes.
Millennials grew up during the technology boom so are very tech-savvy and happily adapt to new innovations.
What you need to know about millenials?
Young people want to be challenged, they want to travel and they want to collaborate with other stakeholders. As such, it is important to offer them opportunities to work in other functions, different countries and on different projects.
They also want to share their opinions; are used to open and collaborative discussions and have innovative ideas that may help to push the function forward.
Technology has aided progress in procurement in many ways, with big data bolt-on tools as well as the development of robotic technology and artificial intelligence.
These trends pose questions as to the possible automation of different aspects of the supply chain. Millennials understand these trends and possess a vast range of soft skills that are essential when it comes to developing relationships with other functions and suppliers – which are a vital aid to making best use of these technologies helping the function exert influence throughout the business.
The need to shape them
Millennials may understand these trends and posses a vast range of soft skills but, as they come into the function, there is a need to mould them into the buying executives procurement requires. Reverse mentoring – a process that involves junior and senior staff swapping roles for the day and both shadowing each other in order to learn and share value-adding experiences – is being explored by a number of functions.
The hiring, induction and retention of millennials is an important challenge CPOs, although debate continues as to the best way to accomplish these aims. What is clear, however, is that if you get it wrong you will hinder your function – perhaps for a whole generation.
Procurement Leaders will be talking all things technology at this year’s DITX summit on the 20-21 September in the Crystal London. For more information about this year’s agenda please click here.