CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
February 22, 2020
Forward Thinking

Tapping into young talent

Being honest about expectations and building a culture of trust are key ways to attract and retain millennial workers.

Panel on young talent at CSCMP EDGEHarnessing the talent of the millennial generation is no easy task, but it's increasingly important at a time when the largest generation of youth in history makes up nearly 50% of the global workforce. In that spirit, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) assembled a panel of millennial entrepreneurs to discuss their views on attracting young talent and integrating them into a larger workforce during today's opening session of EDGE 2019, which runs through Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif.

Moderated by Professor Felisa Higgins of Penn State University, the panel featured Seema Bansal, co-founder of Venus ET Fleur, a niche rose flower preservation arrangement company; Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed, an online and mobile wholesale retailer offering direct delivery of packaged, bulk items; and Eric Termuende, co-founder NoW Innovations and author of the bestselling book Rethink Work. The group addressed a range of questions about the "Gig Economy" and millennials' "journey to change the world," all through the lens of attracting and retaining talent in today's supply chain environment.

The high-energy panel offered tips on what makes millennials tick and what they have to offer today's employers; here are a few: 

  • Transparency and trust are key factors in attracting and retaining millennial workers. Companies must be honest about employment expectations and clearly articulate the culture of their company--and, even more importantly, the cultures of the various teams within their companies.
  • Focus on who people are not what they are, advised Termuende. Rather than paint all millennials with a broad brush, try focusing on matching the right individual to the right position, regardless of what generation they were born into. People don't change as much as the world changes, he said, pointing to technology as a driving influence of social behavior on a larger scale.
  • Build a collaborative environment where "people are heard," advised Bansal, noting that this is an important way to tap the creativity of the millennial generation.
  • As managers, understand that you will spend considerable time "keeping the peace" between millennials and other generations in your workforce, added Huang. Leaders should try approaching this as if they were tackling a supply chain problem: by removing the friction to create a smoother running operation.

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