Millennials in logistics: Attracting new talent.

Logistics is one of the fastest growing industries in the labor market today and tapping the largest pool of labor, millennials, is going to be a crucial way for employers to stay current and fully-staffed in the years to come. Understanding both the needs of the new workforce and how they can coincide with the profession are almost as important as setting truth to the myths of the millennial worker. Upon closer inspection to the generation as a whole, there are a number of seemingly inherent characteristics that mesh well with our industry. Let’s look at the complaints and how they might be a positive for logistics professionals.

Millennials need constant compliments.

Don’t we all? While we don’t necessarily believe it’s true that somehow millennials are more needy for feedback, if they actually are, that may not be a bad thing. In logistics, projects and daily work, especially in the forwarding sector, can be filled with small shipments, orders and tasks that offer an almost immediate pay off. Consider exporting an air freight shipment for a moment: You receive cargo, you check cargo, book space, negotiate a rate, build a pouch and arrange delivery. Within a few hours, the entire process can be finished to perfection and it’s a job well done. Especially in the case of air freight, the moving cargo is so crucial that shippers are thankful and appreciative when everything runs smoothly. It’s a big job and doing it well, especially if you’re helping to fix an issue that caused the freight to move air, can lead to the sense of accomplishment and positive feedback that millennials are rumored to need. Our industry is fast and so are the accomplishments for a job well done.

Millennials are entitled.

Let’s preface this with the fact that entitled is not a synonym for lazy or stupid. Millennials are the most educated workforce to date and gaining that education takes time and dedication that we often neglect to recognize when discussing their performance. Some have said that entitlement isn’t an apt descriptor and believe driven would be closer to the truth. Millennials are dedicated to finding success in careers that make them happy and are less willing to settle for just finding a job as they’d rather hold out for rewarding position. Forbes dedicates a section in their millennial discussion to outlining that entitled workers are in fact more driven towards achieving the successes to which they feel entitled. “Believe it or not, there are actually some benefits to feeling entitled. Entitled people feel a stronger drive for achievement; after all, if you feel like you deserve to be the top salesperson in your organization, you’re going to work harder to make that title a reality. You might also hold out for a job that better suits your talents and expertise, rather than taking one with responsibilities that are beneath you, and you’ll work harder and more productively as a result.”

Millennials lack humility and respect for rules.

Millennials have a special knack for upsetting workplaces by asking for special rules, however, this begets a questioning mentality that fosters creativity and innovation in a way we haven’t really seen before. Are they asking for preferential treatment or are they showing you, admittedly in an abrasive way, an idea that could make your office happier in the long run? It’s important to keep in mind that doing things the way we always have gets us to the same place we’ve always gotten and having someone question the status quo, alter the SOP, and innovate easier and more exciting ways of working can be a boon to any office. We don’t advocate for anyone who disregards the rigorous standards that are necessary for a safe and sound supply chain; but for a moment consider the first person to decide a paperless office was worth attempting. Were they trying to protect the environment or were they just too lazy to walk to the printer for the thirteenth time that day?

We cannot exist as an industry without mining the millennial work force. To disregard a generation because pop-psychology has spent years maligning them would be a great detriment to the talents they have. Regardless of anyone’s perspective, we have a duty to take young workers under our wing and afford them a voice in how business runs. Their creativity and idealism are unbridled and when harnessed, can help drive your business to great new heights.

For further reading about Millennials in the workforce, please check out the PRG/Supply Chain Management study.

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