“An unprecedented turnover in the labor market is coming,” futurist and author Roger Herman told the stunned group of operations professionals during his keynote presentation “The 21st Century Workforce: Trends and Truths” at last month’s National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (NCOF).
Here’s a much abbreviated version of Herman’s argument: Gen Xers, those born between 1965 and 1985, are the first generation of latchkey kids. As such, they learned from an early age to be independent. And sure enough, they tend — as a group — to jump jobs more readily than their baby boomer predecessors.
Couple that culture with studies recently done by The Herman Group revealing that 30 to 40 percent of employees currently are actively looking for a new job, and 85 percent of surveyed employees expect to be in a different job in 12 to 15 months (either in their current or another company). Add to the mix an improving economy, and you can see what Herman envisions for your future operations.
Why is this issue of employee turnover important to address within your own organization? Because several catalogers recently have told me they’re already having trouble finding employees, particularly qualified managers. Rather than stealing employees from other catalogers, here are three suggestions for finding and training talented individuals:
Recruit promising college graduates. Talk with local colleges to determine which majors produce good candidates for your business (e.g., business administration, retail merchandising, marketing), and ask to speak to seniors in those programs. The goal is to expose promising young minds to the world of multichannel commerce. After all, how many college graduates say, “I want to run a contact center for a toy catalog?” The trick is to get qualified candidates interested in pursuing catalog management careers.
Invest in current employees who exhibit management abilities. At Norm Thompson Outfitters, associates are given tuition reimbursement for college classes and sent to industry conferences to learn more about cataloging, noted Corrine Valcourt, director of call center operations, who spoke at NCOF.