Procurement and Supply Chain is inherently multidisciplinary, which makes it a great option for Gen Z. Gen Z as a cohort will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025 and 30% by 2030, you are likely to already have many “zoomers” already in your organisation. Recruitment and retention of this cohort will be essential to the life blood of any organisation. So, who are Gen Z and what makes them standout from previous generations, and how can we use this?
Gen Z, as the initial generation born into a digital era, are considered digital natives. They have grown up with constant access to tablets or phones, and their lives revolve around online activities such as gaming and social media. The rapid growth of technology has brought about significant advancements like automated intelligence, online auctions, and data analytics, which continue to gain importance each year. Gen Z are adept at embracing new technologies which is highly beneficial in rapidly evolving purchasing and supply chain operations.
Collaboration & inclusivity
Generation Z, who are at the forefront of social change, are more socially conscious than previous generations. As Supply Chain and Procurement professionals, they can contribute to your organisation by engaging with suppliers that perhaps weren’t on the radar of Boomers and Gen X, including those from diverse populations and minorities. This could develop the supplier base and provide opportunities in whole new way.
Gen Z use their influence in an organisation to develop conversations and efforts around environmental and social impact by promoting sustainability and responsibility. In Supply Chain and Purchasing this could guide purchases towards sustainable resources, increase the use of renewable energy, develop efficiencies in technology reducing energy and cost, or improving decision making and support the company's mission simultaneously.
Gen Z’ers have distinct communication preferences compared to older generations. They favour concise and direct memos over lengthy boardroom meetings. Phone calls are less preferred, with instant messaging services being the preferred mode of communication. They value brief, face-to-face conversations and find short, daily catch-ups ideal for providing feedback and progress reports. When resorting to written communication, such as email, it should be concise and include clear expectations. For fostering two-way conversation, instant messaging is the most effective option.
Hiring Gen Z talent
Procurement and Supply Chain Managers are embracing Gen Z. They possess remarkable technological expertise, although their CVs may not align with traditional expectations. Their priorities differ from previous generations, and as such career advancement may not be their primary focus. Additionally, they harbour a deep scepticism towards the status quo, making typical corporate rituals seem awkward.
Here are essential factors for adding Gen Z energy to your supply chain team:
Like many modern workers, Gen Z highly values flexibility and autonomy in their careers. They are often attracted to opportunities that offer remote work options or a healthy balance between remote and on-site work. Gen Z employees thrive in environments that provide variety in their tasks and assignments, where they can actively contribute to special projects and could shadow and learn from more experienced colleagues. By embracing these preferences, organisations can create an appealing work culture that attracts and retains the talent of the Gen Z workforce.
Foster an inclusive work environment that embraces diverse work styles while prioritizing results and efficiency over mere hours spent seated at the office. Place a strong emphasis on driving impactful outcomes and maximizing productivity rather than fixating on traditional notions of time spent at one's desk.
Focus on recruiting candidates based on desired traits and qualities, while providing training to develop their technical skills. Consider seeking individuals who possess the characteristics you value, such as strong communication, adaptability, and problem-solving abilities.
Not only do they strive for personal success, but they also have a strong desire to make a positive impact on the world. By emphasizing the importance their role is in shaping an organisation's social and environmental mission, you can offer fulfilment to potential candidates.
As a hiring manager embracing what the Gen Z brings to the table can help you attract exceptional talent and establish a diverse, motivated, and efficient team. Keep in mind that managing Gen Z may require a different approach, which can contribute to your personal growth as well.