For a long time now, millennials have been the topic of conversation, especially for their impact in the workplace. To give you some perspective, the millennial generation is born between 1980 and 2000. If we consider this birth year window, the oldest millennial is turning 37 this year. This generation is also considered to be the largest generation in history since the soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation. In fact, Pcw noted that they form 25% of the workforce.
There is no doubt that millennials are on the rise and moving into upper management positions within corporations. They have particular characteristics that the other generations lack, and their knowledge of technology has put them on the upper hand. Research into the leadership priorities and attitudes of millennial professionals reveals that their rise to executive leaderships may be a very good thing, especially for procurement.
Recently, there was a report published by the Conference Board titled “Divergent Views, Common Ground” that focused on the leadership differences between millennials and other generations in the workplace. Their findings showed three main differences relevant to the procurement and supply chain industry:
Millennials price interpersonal skills and relationships, regardless of their perceived reputation of being glued to their devices. This skill can benefit procurement heavily when it comes to stakeholder and supplier engagement. Stakeholders want procurement to spend more time listening to them, instead of treating them as data points, and suppliers want to have a relationship before investing in innovation on behalf of procurement. Additionally, this skill will be beneficial when millennials find themselves to be the youngest participants in a meeting trying to introduce new ideas to an audience that may or may not be receptive to them. Overall, many of the roadblocks that procurement faces on a daily basis can be overcome with better interpersonal dynamics.
Despite millennials willingness to speak out on issues of importance to them, they are risk averse. We all know risk is unavoidable in supply chain and millennials ability to be risk averse while having strong beliefs is a good sign for risk mitigation planning. In fact, they may be better positioned to raise awareness about risk potential, so that a cooperative solution can be achieved.
Millennials stress outcome-based accountability in their definition of success. This will help procurement, specifically with their battle with the Finance department for claiming projected or estimated savings that are impossible to trace to the bottom line. If millennials are being outcome focused, then they will have a natural drive to see the impact of actual savings reach the bottom line. Additionally, this mindset will help procurement with supplier relationship management. Millennials will want to emphasize supplier impact on the business overtime, resulting in them determining how suppliers will achieve their goals.
It is no surprise that millennials are moving into upper management positions due to their unique characteristics and skill sets. With their interpersonal skills, ability to be risk averse and their focus on outcome-based accountability, they can influence the procurement industry and be the needed extra push procurement needs to get to the next level.