Next Practices with “Generation Next”


The “Millennials” or often referred to as “Generation Next” are not only coming, they are already here. With this new generation 80 million strong (born between 1980 and 1995) and rapidly taking over from the baby boomers who are now pushing 60, we are being forced to look at Talent Management in a completely new way.  We must take a Next Practice approach to managing “Generation Next” or lose the war for talent altogether.  60 Minutes’ MorIey Safer did a report a few years ago entitled “The Millennials are Coming” where he discusses some of the challenges being faced in the workplace as we deal with this new generation of workers.  Safer says, “They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds. And if you persist in the belief you can, take your job and shove it”.  Where there are challenges there are also opportunities and Supply Chain leaders have the opportunity to turn these young, multitasking, tech-savvy, “I come first” workers into the most innovative, productive workforce of our time.

I was sitting in a conference yesterday listening to a number of speakers discuss the challenges we will all be facing with “Generation Next” (I have three sons in this category and am quite familiar with both the joys and challenges of this generation).  As I was listening, I was also thinking about all the Next Practices we (The Mpower Group “TMG”) have been trying to drive home to the Supply Chain community.  The thought occurred to me that some of the attributes of “Generation Next” may very well be THE personal attributes of a successful “Next Practice” Supply Chain professional:

  • Well educated
  • Hardworking
  • Self-confident
  • Team players / collaborators
  • Inclusive and diverse
  • Technology / social media savvy
  • Socially responsible
  • Information gatherers
  • Communicators

Would these not be the very attributes that would be required to attack the Supply Chain from a value focus as opposed to the traditional (they are not even familiar with this approach) TCO approach as Dalip Raheja laid out in “Friends, Romans and Countrymen – Lend Me Your Ears!  I Come to Bury TCO . . . . . .”  or tackle the Social Media issues as depicted by Crystal Jones in “Social Media and the Supply Chain”  or  help solve the adoption issues (has this generation not been the faster adopters of new solutions and technology?) as discussed in “Old MacDonald Was Right — It Is About E-I-E-I-O!”

In addition, “Generation Next” has very specific requirements as they are choosing a career. They are looking for the following:

  • Flexibility
  • Work / life balance
  • Direction / roadmap
  • Interesting work
  • Training & development
  • Career advancement
  • Frequent feedback
  • Coaching / mentoring

In other words, they are literally crying out for Competency Based Talent Management (“CBTM”) which is what I was at the conference to present AND TMG has had numerous posts on

In a nutshell, CBTM starts out by defining the demonstrable skills, knowledge and behaviors (competencies) required to be successful within your role to meet and/or exceed the goals and objectives of your organization – direction and roadmap.  It then uses those competencies as the foundation for an integrated talent management program:

  • Recruiting (you must have all the other elements in place or you will be forever recruiting)
  • Performance evaluation (frequent feedback focused on demonstrated competency)
  • Training & development (a MUST – focused on APPLICATION of new competencies)
  • Career Management (coaching / mentoring to advance your career)
  • Succession Planning (identification and movement of high potentials)

Interesting work – I may be a geek but I think Supply Chain is diverse, exciting, challenging and offers a wide range of career opportunities within and across organizations and industries!

As for flexibility, work / life balance and social responsibility – well, maybe we Baby Boomers could learn a few Next Practices from “Generation Next”.

If you don’t have a competency based talent management program in place for your organization you may want to step on the Next Practice bandwagon before “Generation Next” passes you by and goes to the Next company.

Join the conversation . . . . . .



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