4 Things to Expect When Hiring Millennial Warehouse Managers

Meagan Douglas
Thu, Apr 7, 2016
Millennial supply chain managers often prioritize data visibility.
Millennial supply chain managers often prioritize data visibility.

Many companies with open warehouse and supply chain positions try to attract millennial hires. When some organizations think of this generation, they picture younger employees shelving items or operating forklifts. Businesses have to recognize that millennials are not only more prevalent in the workforce than some assume, but may offer skills for leadership positions.

The Pew Research Center reported millennials are now more prevalent than Generation X and baby boomer employees. On average and across all industries, more than one-third of applicants for a given position are now millennials. This is a source for talent supply chains can't ignore.

Millennial applicants for inventory management positions may present skills unique to their generation. Here are four ways to capitalize on the workforce:

1. Avoid Stereotypes
Warehouse managers are in great demand. The Ajilon Professional Staffing company saw an 80 percent increase in the need for supply chain professionals between 2013 and 2015, according to Supply Chain Management Review. To find the right person who can pick up the slack, companies may need to expand their scope.

For example, more organizations hire women for managerial positions in industries that are often portrayed as male dominated - including warehouse and distribution. Companies may have a picture in their head of what to expect from managers. Shattering expectations opens a company up to new ideas and pools of talent.

By thinking outside the box, companies can find managers that also prioritize new ideas. Many millennial managers in warehouse settings focus on data collection solutions. Whereas previous generations may have seen information systems as a maintenance issue, leaders who grew up in the information age often recognize the value of real-time data and rapid communication.

2. Look for Soft Skills
Taking charge of rapidly moving inventory as it flows through a distribution center calls for a number of skills. Outside of the typical supply chain logistics management data monitoring, schedule building and resource allocation experience, companies probably want managers with soft skills - especially communication.

As supply chains expand into new territories and work with multiple suppliers and distributors, they need managers with experience utilizing real-time communication platforms. While information backed interactions eliminate miscommunications and interpretation bias, leaders must be able to sit down with employees, company stakeholders and business partners in person to recognize needs and check-in with contentment. Millennials grew up with ever-evolving communication tools and many attended educational facilities that emphasized emotional health.

3. Redefine Experience
To many, young means inexperienced. The thought of placing millennials in charge of successful operations may seem problematic if companies holds a rigid definition of what education and employment is necessary for leadership positions.

The truth is millennials are more likely to be highly educated, according the White House. Even though a potential manager might be younger, modern educational institutions sometimes offer classes or programs designed to prepare students for the modern supply chain.

The next workforce generation might have more practical experience than organization leaders assume. Material Handling & Logistics News shared results from a recent Mindflash survey that found over half of millennials have experience managing other workers or are currently in a management position.

4. Prioritize Technology
Millennial managers may find new ways of using existing supply chain technology. They can also help organizations locate innovative solutions for reaching modern consumers, especially during times of expansion. Business 2 Community said more companies will include e-commerce channels in their supply chain in 2016. As businesses move online, they need managers experienced with social media channels and other platforms critical for effective communication and marketing.

Companies can also use modern communication channels to appeal to potential millennial managers. Professional sites like LinkedIn can connect warehouses to talented supply chain applicants. Utilizing data from daily procedures allows companies to demonstrate an accurate picture of each position on Internet job boards so the right jobseeker will apply.

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