Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tell Me What You Want..What You Really, Really Want…

In case you haven’t noticed there is a shortage of workers. It’s not just truck drivers and mechanics. It’s across the board, especially in those roles where traditionally we’ve seen people in the early to mid stages of their careers. The transportation/logistics industry is facing a huge challenge when it comes to attracting, retaining and developing talent. It’s an industry that demands long hours, often night and weekend hours. The work tends to be stressful, fast paced, unpredictable and people intensive. In other words, something is always going wrong. Most senior managers are still from the old school, even if they are not old guys. Old school says that you do what you have to do. You come in early, you stay until the work is done, you come back if you need to and the job takes priority. Old school guys may say that family comes first. But what they really means is that feeding the family and feeding them well comes first. Which means that work comes first.

Millennials see it differently. But not totally different. A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review reveals what is really important to millennials (

There are some interesting takeaways from this study:

_Millennials want to move up and become leaders . Primarily for financial rewards and influence/power. More so in Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific regions.

_When it comes to the type of manager Millennials want, it’s clear that in North America and Western Europe it’s about employee empowerment. Micro-management is out.

_Regarding Work Life Balance, Millennials in North America and Western Europe overwhelmingly place the priority on having “enough leisure time for my private life”. Flexible working hours comes in a close second.

_Life priorities for Millennials are spending time with family, learning new things and living a long, healthy life. Depending on how the questions are asked, I’m not sure that my generation, or my parents’ generation might not have had similar responses. What is telling is that at the bottom of the priority list for North American and Western Europeans is wealth. Becoming wealthy is a low priority for today’s Millennials. So even though they want to move up and become leaders for reasons of financial reward and influence, when it comes to life’s priorities wealth just isn’t that important.

These results are all part of a larger study ( There is a lot in the study and if you are really into understanding Millennials on a global scale, it’s worth your time. But for me, these four: career objectives, how to manage, work life balance and life priorities are the key issues which must be addressed by our industry. Talented Millennials have choices and they will choose to work in those industries and organizations where they have the best opportunities of achieving their personal and professional objectives. Next time, I’ll talk about where we are missing the mark and what can be done to make this industry more attractive to Millennials.

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