Capturing Talent: The Millennial Disconnect

My friend and colleague Paul Teague recently penned a curious column at Procurement Leaders showing a surprising disconnect in perception between the millennial workforce and those managing it (not necessarily procurement specific). Referencing a SAP survey titled Workforce 2020, Paul observes some statistics that caught me off guard (based on what I’ve seen working with the millennial generation):

  • “Millennials in all countries studied are no more concerned with making a positive difference in the world than non-millennials are. Only 20% of each group said that was important to them.”
  • “Millennials are only slightly more concerned with compensation (68% to 64%). They are slightly less concerned with work-life balance (29% to 31%).”
  • “As for their feelings about the quality of management, there is a gap, at least in the US, between what managers assume millennials think and what they actually think. Sixty percent of American executives in the study think millennials are frustrated with manager quality, but only 18% of American millennials expressed frustration. Sixty-two percent of American executives think millennials would consider leaving their jobs due to lack of learning and development, but only 31% of American millennials say they have considered that option.”

FREE Research: The 4 Faces of Procurement

Effectively managing millennial talent in the procurement workforce is still more art than science. As he wraps up his observations, Paul references a conversation with an expert author that covers the area, noting that, “among things important to millennials is real-time feedback on their performance. Annual or even semi-annual appraisals won’t do.”

There are, of course, corollaries with effective supplier performance management in this regard as well! But specific to the task at hand, regular feedback (good and bad) is essential. I’ve also observed that socially-oriented feedback systems (which include the community) that leverage such tools as gamification to both keep score and motivate can also go a long way to keeping this generation engaged.

But ultimately, one item speaks above all: $$$. Underpay top performers of any generation in procurement and they will leave.

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First Voice

  1. Barb Ardell:

    Many avoid giving feedback because they don’t feel skilled to do so and worry about the reaction/consequences. I recommend the following two books/training courses to help develop the necessary skills:

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