How to Attract the Next Generation of Supply Chain Managers

Published : April 25, 2015

attracting-young-professionalsAny company with an eye towards the future has already accepted the inevitability of omni channel distribution. While the "old ways" will remain viable for a while longer, the face of business is changing whether companies are on board or not. Omni-channel is, undeniably, a consumer-driven innovation, and, ultimately, consumers will have even greater control of the market in the future.

While there have been great strides in streamlining real-time technology that supports the transitioning market, there has also been one particularly troubling trend: stagnant hiring practices. Too many companies are focusing on the tech and forgetting the human beings needed to keep it running and evolving. Ideally, supply chain teams should be supplemented—and, perhaps, even eventually replaced—by that holy grail of employee demographics, the millennial.

Here's how you can make it happen.

Approach Target-Rich Environments

Millennials aren't snapping open the Sunday Times' classified ads over a cup of coffee when they seek out new job opportunities. They're talking to friends and family, putting out feelers, searching the tweets and status updates of their ideal employers and, in general, are looking for an "in" for their resume. Froenetics' Jennifer Hart Yim emphasizes that social media is an excellent place to find candidates—the proactive nature and tech savvy of any catches here already puts these individuals a few quality steps ahead of the traditional resume cattle calls. Universities offering supply chain programs are another ideal place to seek out new hires—not only are these potentials highly trained in their future job duties, they're more likely to be up-to-date on newer technologies than job-seekers a few years removed from classes.

Make Your Positions Attractive

As writer Kate Lee points out in another article for Froenetics, there isn't a lot of inherent wow factor in supply chain industry jobs.

Where a benefits package and competitive salary used to be sufficient lure for highly qualified professionals in the operations and fulfillment industry, the modern supply chain team member wants more personal satisfaction at the end of the day. Emphasizing aspects such as the volume of products moved, the breadth of customers served or exciting expansion plans for the future will add vital prestige to your job offerings. Brand loyalty, workplace camaraderie, goal incentives and other "brag worthy" factors can also contribute to the beneficial working image you're trying to convey to your candidates. 

Another aspect of making your workplace needs a little more alluring is in providing a tough, yet solvable, challenge. No one wants to watch widgets stream by on an assembly line all day, they want problems to solve and efficiency goals to hit. Providing a real, open-ended quandary and asking potential job candidates how they would tackle it will tell you a great deal about the interviewee.

In the past, unique hypothetical scenarios were used to determine though processes, such as the infamous Google interview questions, but most millennials are already familiar with these tactics, and will head straight for the "right" answer instead of the instinctual one. Instead, present a unique, straightforward yet troublesome issue that has popped up in your supply chain in the past and has since been solved. The challenge of a job-specific problem will definitely pique their interest—at least if they're the type of employee you'd like to bring in.

Make no mistake—an infusion of new, forward-facing millennial talent is going to be an efficiency must-have in the near future. If you aren't already putting these motivated professionals on the rungs of your hierarchy ladder, there's never been a better time to start. In some cases, even a single diversely-qualified hire can be enough to help move your omni-channel distribution forward.

Business is moving inexorably towards omni-channel. Who do you want at your helm?

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Topics: Supply Chain Workforce Management

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