All posts by Charlotte de Brabandt

Millennials in Procurement: Immediate – Flexible – Precise

The leadership of tomorrow will need to consider a number of different factors creating the Millennials mindset and be an inspiration in order for them to become fully integrated.

Writer’s Note: These opinions are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.

Did you know that 70 per cent of adults, in all generations, want purpose from their work as Jeff Barrett CEO from Barrett Digital points out in his recent study?

We have been talking about Gen Y and the different stereotypes since 1987. It is a cycle which we are going through describing people which were born around 1982 and 1995. Gen Y, also known as Millennials are often accused of being difficult to manage, unfocused with a short attention span, lazy and entitled. What matters the most for them is constant immediate happiness, instant gratitude, creating impact and working in a place with purpose. Millennials face many challenges, especially in their workplace. When they start working, leadership gets confused why Millennials confound leadership so much.  What happened to a full 9am – 5pm honest day’s work? They have their mindset living in an ecosystem of instant gratification, purpose and clear direction and guidance. That’s why the leadership becomes so important and is crucial to create an environment of creating impact and enjoyment. It’s been three decades since the Millennials entered the stage of wanting to work with a purpose, creating impact, get free food, a flexible workspace and flexible working hours. Millennials are still seen as giving up too easily and not happy. As Simon Sinek says this may be due to Parenting, Technology, Patience and the Environment they live in. Immediate feedback and gratification may not always be on the priority list.  Millennials have different expectations and work in a different sort of ecosystem with collaboration, flexibility and having a mindset of sharing. `We` and `Co` become the new I. The leadership of tomorrow will need to consider all these different factors creating the Millennials mindset and be an inspiration for them to become fully integrated.

Mindset 1: Immediate

The work -life-balance has clearly shifted to work-life-integration. Millennials want to work in an environment looking after their personal needs in the company. Through immediate feedback and gratitude, Millennials flourish and get motivated working in this environment.  Some Millennials immediately want to take charge, work immediately for a purpose and create impact. This takes us to the second factor of flexibility.

Mindset 2: Flexibility

Millennials like to be flexible in their work environment. They grow up in a world with new technologies and business models, making their life more self-determining. Millennials want to keep life flexible and are ready to fully embrace the sharing economy. Leadership needs to create an environment and work environment which allows for a high degree of flexibility in terms of work place, work hours and work content. Gen X, which were born around 1965-1982 (the previous generation), were striving for a well-rounded work-life-balance before, but this Gen Y cycle has clearly shifted the mindset. Through simple flexibility and variety leaders can avoid boredom and increase creativity. It is important to have “can do principles” in place. For that, the management need to be open for digitalization, instant communication and the sharing lifestyle. It is a new style of interaction, which is shaped by instant feedback, precision and clear messages. This brings us to the next point.

Mindset 3: Precision

The world is overloaded with big data, information and offerings; therefore, Millennials seek precision and clarity. Everything must be instant, at your fingertips and always prepared. Changes happen a lot quicker, therefore leadership need to as a result dig through that heavy noise and make sure, their goals, feedback and information reach their team clearly. Modern leaders compete against the Millennials’ smartphones and social media, while being at work. With this factor leaders struggle to sustain the attention and motivation of Millennials. Feedback and instructions should be provided as quickly and precise as possible. Annual feedback becomes outdated, rather have regular alignments. If you want to provide precise feedback towards their working style, be clear and make sure you adjust their work methods and coach them on a regular basis. Through clear communication you can create a productive work environment. Proactive and precise communication is essential for good leadership, bringing us to the next point.

Millennials in Procurement

The role of procurement is changing, as more autonomous technologies will influence procurement of the future, leadership will also need to adapt to more communicative and direct negotiation strategies. Communication will become a virtue. Creating a work environment for Millennials in which they can succeed, receive frequent and immediate feedback. Millennials seek leadership from managers or co-workers but expect gratitude for their ideas. They like to get challenged in a variety of competencies to avoid repetition and boredom. At the same time, instead of micromanagement they expect inspirational leaders. They need a precise structure to understand the purpose. Seeing a career path to achieve their goals. Having a perspective on your journey opens your mind for greater challenges. It`s not an unknown fact, that Millennials are all very much interlinked and connected. Communication is accelerating and becoming more powerful as ever. Alexander Konovalov, CEO Technologies Improving the World (TIW) stated: Within the next decade, it is expected that more than a trillion sensors will be connected to the internet. This will increase global complex communication. Millennials embrace a flat structure, social workplace and flexible work-life integration.

Charlotte is a former ISM/THOMAS 30 Under 30 winner –nominations for 2018 are now open.