Executive Briefings

Generation X in the Supply Chain

The Baby Boomers are making way for a new generation of workers, says Chris Ticknor, corporate marketing manager with Aspen Logistics Inc. But how can companies balance their needs and skills with those of older employees?

The Baby Boomers are approaching retirement age, and will soon be exiting the employment marketplace in large numbers. They will be replaced by members of the so-called Generations "X" and "Y," creating the prospect of an "employment tsunami" as the economy recovers, says Ticknor.

For employers, the challenge lies in figuring out how to communicate with those individuals. As Ticknor puts it: "How do we get their ear, so that we can fulfill their needs?"

He likens the coming employment situation to the necessity of rebooting a computer - "control plus alt plus delete your old ways." Companies must find new management approaches that meet the characteristics of this younger workforce. At the same time, they will need to preserve the hard-won expertise of the previous generation.

The trick lies in embracing new technology, especially the social media, without allowing new hires to become overly reliant on it. "As managers," Ticknor says, "we have to coax them into using some of the tried and tested ways that the Baby Boom generation has [practiced]. There's nothing more instant than picking up your phone and talking to somebody."

Younger workers have much to teach the corporate world as well. Companies are only just beginning to realize the benefits of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Better communication among all employees ensures that "everybody has an input, has something vested in the company," Ticknor says.

To ensure a steady flow of new talent, companies must convince college graduates that the field of supply-chain and logistics management is a promising and exciting career. The generation that grew up on MTV generally isn't aware of the discipline, says Ticknor, himself a Gen-Xer. Only recently have colleges and universities been increasing their offerings in that area. "When I started out in college," he says, "we didn't have anything that went into that field. I see a lot more of that now."

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.

The Baby Boomers are approaching retirement age, and will soon be exiting the employment marketplace in large numbers. They will be replaced by members of the so-called Generations "X" and "Y," creating the prospect of an "employment tsunami" as the economy recovers, says Ticknor.

For employers, the challenge lies in figuring out how to communicate with those individuals. As Ticknor puts it: "How do we get their ear, so that we can fulfill their needs?"

He likens the coming employment situation to the necessity of rebooting a computer - "control plus alt plus delete your old ways." Companies must find new management approaches that meet the characteristics of this younger workforce. At the same time, they will need to preserve the hard-won expertise of the previous generation.

The trick lies in embracing new technology, especially the social media, without allowing new hires to become overly reliant on it. "As managers," Ticknor says, "we have to coax them into using some of the tried and tested ways that the Baby Boom generation has [practiced]. There's nothing more instant than picking up your phone and talking to somebody."

Younger workers have much to teach the corporate world as well. Companies are only just beginning to realize the benefits of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Better communication among all employees ensures that "everybody has an input, has something vested in the company," Ticknor says.

To ensure a steady flow of new talent, companies must convince college graduates that the field of supply-chain and logistics management is a promising and exciting career. The generation that grew up on MTV generally isn't aware of the discipline, says Ticknor, himself a Gen-Xer. Only recently have colleges and universities been increasing their offerings in that area. "When I started out in college," he says, "we didn't have anything that went into that field. I see a lot more of that now."

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.