Daily Archives: May 5, 2016

Economic Sustentation 04: Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z

Talent is supposed to be Procurement’s salvation, so why are:

  • Generation X, born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s,
  • Generation Y, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, and the
  • Generation Z, born between the early 2000s and the present day

an economic damnation? As was discussed in societal damnation 50 on talent, talent is required to keep your supply chains moving. People are required to enter the data to keep the information chain moving, to move the money to keep the financial chain moving, and to move the goods that keep the physical chain moving. And the majority of this talent is a workforce between the ages of 20 and 55, who will have been born between 1960 and 1995, and thus will primarily be composed of Generation X and the Generation Y Millennials, and, as Generation X begins to retire en-masse, Generation Z will begin to enter the workforce. So, not only is talent a damnation, its a damnation that comes in three different flavours.

Generation X

Generation X wants stability, fair pay, a great pension plan, flexible hours, time-off to help good causes, good healthcare, and career development.

It’s a tall order if you’re working for a multi-national organization with fixed benefit programs defined in the 1990s — focussed primarily on privately managed pensions, healthcare, and ten year old pay-scales. This is good for a small percentage of the workforce — but if they have kids or grand-kids, fixed 9 to 5 hours every day, no exception, doesn’t work. If the organization believes the best way to help the community is to just donate cash, and the workforce can’t volunteer their time as well, they’re out. And so on. And some of these requirements are at odds with:

Generation Y

Generation Y wants unique opportunities, work-life balance (and more vacation than the mandatory 2 weeks), social responsibility, and mentoring.

The organization probably has decent unique opportunities for those it feels can handle them, as well as some mentoring for people on the fast-track, but that’s it. Generation Y wants responsibility and trust, and wants the mentoring and education so that it will be worth of the responsibility and trust.

Generation Z

The beginnings of generation Z are just beginning high-school. And whereas Generation Y grew up in the information age, Generation Z is growing up in the communication age where not only is technology ubiquitous, but communication technology is ubiquitous and just about every Generation Z is growing up with a smartphone were they can call, text, and e-mail 24/7. And while we don’t know what they will want from a job perspective, we do know that they will want to be connected to their friends and colleagues 24/7 — just not necessarily for work purposes.

So how do you balance all of these competing requirements? You adapt. And you focus on commitment, not fixed hours. Results, not process. Team, not silos.

And then understand the costs of what your employees are asking for vs. the opportunity costs of not offering a few extra benefits to your employees. For example, how much does an extra week of vacation cost versus the results a top Procurement Pro can bring through additional organization cost savings. Does it really matter if the employee works 9 to 5, especially if they need to negotiate with a supplier half a world away at 11 pm. How much does better healthcare really cost? And what about an extra week to allow your employees to volunteer for good causes? The energy and pride could inspire them to work even harder and achieve even more lofty goals when they return to work.

The reality is, most of what talent will ask for costs very little relative to the value that talent can bring your organization. Especially when a top employee can push a hard 3% savings straight to the bottom line on 10M, 100M, or even 1B of spend. And if we didn’t have the situation where only 1 in 7 American adults were competent in math (as per societal damnation 45 on lack of math competency), the math would be obvious. Give in to every reasonable request, make them happy, and realize savings of 3X to 30X their total fully burdened cost.