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Dear Grocery Industry,
The reason for this letter – my revelation – came while I was listening to a panel session at a national grocery conference where the topic was “Millennials in the Work Force.” I was sitting in the third row, growing agitated to the point of grinding my teeth while the panelists spoke about creating employee YouTube videos. I asked the question, “How do you feed the hunger of my generation to create and innovate for your own employees?” The room was silent; I swear I could hear crickets. None of the speakers or attendees had an answer for me.
Now I sit at yet another event listening to non-Millennial speakers sharing their expert-researched advice on the new generation of shoppers. As I look around the room, I’m again disappointed that very few people under the age of 30 attend industry events.
So as a Millennial who has grown up in the industry, I feel it’s my duty to tell you why it’s important that Millennials have a stronger presence in this industry, and are probably in a better position to share what resonates with Millennials.
Millennials want to feel a purpose and be a part of something that is evolving and making the industry a better place. We want change and we want to implement quickly. If we feel under utilized or that we are not growing, we will leave. Don’t take my word for it: According to the 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, two out of three Millennials plan to leave their current jobs by 2020. The survey mentioned the top reason young people leave is because their leadership skills are not being developed.
Retailers are going to have to change to create a desirable environment for Millennials. There are many reasons why it’s important to recruit motivated individuals of my generation to your team. One of the biggest reasons is that they will help you best communicate and reach your new generation of shoppers.
So naturally your next question may be, “how do you hire young, motivated and loyal employees?” There’s a lot of great ways to create a desired work place for Millennials, but I’ll start you off with just a couple tips that you can begin activating immediately. First, embrace ideas and creativity and then reward individuals by providing the tools and resources to help them execute their ideas. Then, those who inspire their peers should be promoted to leadership positions. Just these few simple things can have a huge effect on your company.
I could go on and on with ways to adapt to working with Millennials but I’ll leave you with this for now, from Louise Penny (a Baby Boomer!): “Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead.”
An Industry Millennial
Angela Flatland is the Business Development Executive at SwiftIQ. Her retail industry career kicked off at the age of 15 at Interstate Promotions Inc.; she's worked with buyers and category managers of some of the largest retail chains in North America.