MHI Solutions

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Attracting, Training and Retaining the NextGen Workforce

Understanding NextGen’s expectations and what motivates them is helpful when brainstorming on ways to attract, train and retain them, and figuring out where their skills might best be utilized in your company.

* By Mike Ogle *

Next generation workforce. What do those words mean to you? The first thought is usually young people about to graduate from college or technical school and entering the supply chain workforce. It is, but if you are brainstorming on ways to attract, train and retain the next generation workforce, your planning needs to include ideas pertinent to both management jobs as well as front-line needs.

“Many people focus on the next generation of supply chain jobs in the office, while not understanding the huge opportunity for applications like labor management systems to engage the many people working on the front line,” explained Peter Schnorbach, senior director, product management at MHI member Manhattan Associates.

In order to cast a wider net—one that is more inclusive and covers future needs in every department—it helps to first understand the expectations of the next generation (we’ll call them NextGens) before figuring out where their skills might best be utilized in your company.

When looking to get in front of NextGens, online job sites and university career fairs are two top spots. Online is here to stay, but face-to-face has value to both employer and job seeker, too, especially when it comes to first impressions.

Whether online or in person, the first impression needs to sell aspects of technology and company culture. NextGens have grown up with tech in their daily lives, expect it everywhere, at home, where they shop and at work. They are attracted to apps that instantly provide information and feedback, plus interactive options and customization of experiences. They are attracted to high levels of automation in operations.

A booth at a career fair should reflect this with significant amount of graphics and video on mobile devices, messages about a culture of collaboration and flexibility, plus the company’s vision and level of technology implementation. Testimonials from peer or near-peer workers are highly valuable, but don’t forget to include tech savvy, experienced leaders who have shown a genuine passion for bringing in new ideas and younger workers.

A second impression is when students see the offices and operations. Do they look fresh or do they look dated? Is there an atmosphere that appears to be inviting and collaborative? Does the factory or warehouse floor appear clean, modern and higher tech or does it appear stagnant?

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This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on sustainability and its progression in the supply chain. Consumers are becoming more interested in making environmentally friendly decisions when it comes to their buying habits and the brands to which they are loyal. Studies have found anywhere from 80-85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company with a reputation for sustainability than from a neutral company, if their prices are equal.

Leading firms are tapping into this mindset by building more sustainability, and transparency, into their supply chains. They know that more sustainable operations will drive long-term brand loyalty and competitive advantage while having bottom line impacts on efficiency and profitability.

This issue of MHI Solutions will help provide you with the information and resources you need to address sustainability across your supply chain to improve your overall business performance.

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