A major highlight of ISM2015 was celebrating the brightest young supply chain professionals as part of the “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars” recognition program, sponsored by ISM and ThomasNet.
It was an opportunity to meet many of the “30 Under 30” stars and listen to their insights about the profession. Presented as a roundtable discussion, the dialog was moderated by M.L. Peck, senior vice president, programs and product development, for ISM and Linda Rigano, executive director, media relations, for ThomasNet.
Jami Bliss, CPSM, director, Global Procurement Program Management for Teva Pharmaceuticals, who spoke from a nominator and mentor perspective, says keeping such talented young professionals challenged will be the challenge for companies. “As a mentor, it’s been rewarding to see members of this elite group flourish in their roles and seize new opportunities.”
As more millennials enter the workforce, companies must develop talent strategies that both attract and retain this critical demographic. Bliss believes there’s a misconception about millennials. Such stereotypes can impede attracting valuable talent and integrating them successfully into the enterprise. “First and foremost, millennials are looking for meaningful work,” she says. “Companies must explain why and how the work they’re doing is important.”
Katy Conrad Maynor, category manager, Finished Lubricants/B2B for Shell Oil, who was voted the inaugural “30 Under 30” megawatt winner, agrees. Managers need to view millennials as an investment in their companies. “In some cases, companies may need to move a talented millennial through the organization faster, keeping them motivated and challenged.”
Often it comes back to illustrating how the work millennials are doing contributes to the overall strategy of the company. Wesley Whitney, sourcing specialist, Enterprise Products, says managers must shape the narrative. “Help millennial employees understand how they fit into the overall picture,” he says. “It begins during the hiring process by communicating and describing the company’s culture and making millennials candidates jealous and eager to work there.”
With the average tenure lasting only a few years at any one company, Nicholas Ammaturo, director, Profit Improvement and Procurement, for Hudson’s Bay Company, says organizations must make the work meaningful for millennials while they’re there. “It’s critical to have an enterprise structure that is sustainable so that millennials leave even better than when they arrived,” says Ammaturo. “And as members of the millennial generation, we need to realize that there’s many of us out there. Find each other and leverage our network.”
While he doesn’t put much weight on the term “millennial” and believes it does a disservice by generalizing an entire demographic, Matthew Bauer, procurement administrator for City of Mesa, Arizona, agrees with Ammaturo that networks are important. “As I recognize for myself the opportunities that are available, I also reach out to other Arizona State University graduates encouraging them to enter the government sector. It’s part of our responsibility to echo the opportunities in supply chain and where those opportunities exist.”