The talent shortage in the supply chain and logistics industry is not NEW news. The multiple factors that have contributed to this steady decline had been expected and have come to fruition over the past few years. As a PDP (Peer Development Program) at Pegasus Logistics Group, I have a different perspective on what has attracted me to the industry, as a whole, and this company, specifically. The factors that have been listed as reasons for the talent shortage include topics like: baby boomers are reaching retiring age, a general shortage in supply chain education, and, lastly, the supply chain industry has the perception of being boring. Of all the factors that make the most sense to me is the image problem supply chain seems to have.
When asked about the largest difficulties in hiring for supply chain in the survey, “The Supply Chain Talent Shortage: From Gap to Crisis,” by Lisa Harrington, nearly 70% of respondents said that the profession lacked status and opportunities for career growth. Supply chain and logistics is clearly not seen as the sexiest profession out there, so the question becomes: what do we need to do to attract and retain tomorrow's talent? Followed by: why should we treat talent as out greatest asset?
We live in a disruptive era were new technology includes electric and self-driving transportation modes, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, among many other technologies. Processes, qualifications, and responsibilities are all evolving. It should go without saying, that with all this change, perhaps the how to “qualify” talent should also evolve. I see a need to stop using the “job specs” as the end all be all for our hiring decisions; we need to open our eyes to how to hire for attributes. Because in the end, technical skills can be studied and learned with time and training, but we need to look at the person and look for those skills that can’t be taught. Yes, years of experience and background are important but in today's world we can’t solely base hiring decisions on that, but instead need look for those unlearnable essential qualities that future leaders possess.
Company Culture & Personal Values
One of the most important things a company needs to do is create its mission statement and vision in accordance to its core values. The core values and company culture will help us realize what type of individual we want to carry our mission and vision. Inversely, it will also attract that same type of individual to our company. Once we align the company’s values and mission to that of the individuals, we are more likely to retain talent while maintaining them happy and effective.
Collaborative & Adaptable
Company growth demands continuous improvement projects, changes in current processes, and implementation of new technology. For all of these to succeed one needs talent that does not only accept change but embraces it. For progress to occur, there needs to be change, it is inevitable. It is also inevitable to have resistance to change but we need to arm ourselves with a workforce that does not see the inconvenience in change but rather the opportunity it provides.
Innovative & Effective Communicator
We need to hire forward thinking talent who does not look at current processes and think, “this works perfectly fine,” and goes along with his/her day, but we instead need someone who will look at current processes/technology and thinks about how it may fail in the future (and what preventive changes we can make) or how can it be improved now. One of the most common causes of stress and conflict is miscommunication, so it is very important to have people who have high communication skills. People that can use their communication skills and emotional intelligence to build relationships and become the voice for continuous improvement and change.
Agile & Hungry
When searching for a candidate we want someone who is hungry and ready to learn. Continuous improvement and change demand the mental agility to adapt and learn at every turn. One might not have the technical abilities to confront the next challenge, but that is why it is important to get talent that is hungry enough to learn and succeed at new tasks. People that embrace adversity and can use analytical skills to solve complex problems.