Millennial talent seeks employment opportunities with companies that promote transparency, technology, excellence, and social change.

We write often about the supply chain talent gap and how supply chain companies should be proactively recruiting millennials to join their companies. So a recent Harvard Business Review article, which talks about how companies that “young people find dull” (like electrical distributors and manufacturers) can make their businesses seem “cool,” seemed particularly relevant.

While we adamantly disagree that the supply chain isn’t cool, we do think it’s important that logistics and supply chain companies think strategically about recruiting millennial talent.

Millennial talent and the vision thing

According to a new study by strategy firm Department26, “Transparency is the millennial standard operating procedure in the workplace.” Honesty and security are top of mind for this generation that came of age just as the country plunged into The Great Recession.

Beer kegs and ping pong are nice, but millennials are more impressed with leadership that sets goals and delivers on them. Click To Tweet

Beer kegs and ping pong are nice, but millennials are more impressed with leadership that sets goals and delivers on them. They want to know how their role contributes to the organization’s success, and they want to know the effort they’re putting into a job is worth it.

“Setting them up for success means regular check-ins, both positive and constructive feedback as a rule, and structured mentorship,” write the authors of the Department26 study.

People say millennial talent doesn’t work for money, and it’s true that they’re not motivated by salary alone. Younger employees want meaningful work that enhances their personal growth.

They also want flexible work rules that show an employer respects and trusts them. Sharing details of your strategic plan or examples of how your HR policies reward personal initiative can help millennial talent see your “boring” business in a new way.

“The thought of not being granted flexibility in exchange for hitting performance metrics is absurd to millennials, and it’s a concept that’s diametrically opposed to the freedom they crave,” the study concludes.

Talk tech

Logistics or trucking can sound dull to the iPhone generation — until you paint a picture of forward momentum and innovation that might surprise them.

Automation, robotics, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, drones and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reshaping the industry. Companies like Amazon, Pfizer and Wal-Mart are experimenting with new technologies to reduce costs, boost productivity, and improve handling performance.

“Wearable technology could soon become a standard must-have in the logistics industry,” according to a recent story in The Business Journals. “As these technologies continue to carve out their role in the global logistics industry, we’re likely to see previously unimagined levels of optimization — from manufacturing to warehousing to delivery.”

Find ways to change hearts and minds by exposing young people to the realities of today’s supply chain. If they think it’s boring, it’s because they really don’t know what it is.

Be the best damn supply chain company anywhere

People want to work for “the best” — the most innovative, the most profitable, or the most admired brand — in every industry. Workers are proud to say they work for a company recognized as being the best at what it does because it says they’re the best, too.

Even millennial talent that has never thought about a career in logistics might reconsider if they’re being recruited by an industry leader.

Celebrate excellence at your company. Promote the awards you’ve won. Share customer testimonials, positive media coverage, and community recognition with prospective recruits.

It also helps to do well by doing good. This is a generation that trusts business, not government, to create positive social change. “Millennials are hungry for a work culture that inspires them. At a macro level, companies should communicate clear plans that reflect their core values,” says Department26.

HBR author Bill Taylor summarizes these sentiments well: “What [millennials] value is the chance to join companies that make a difference and where the work brings out the best in them.”

How is your company recruiting millennial talent?

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