The supply chain industry is currently facing a labor shortage as people retire or quit, training budgets are reduced, and laid-off workers never return. More than 70 percent of 400 high-level executives have had trouble recruiting the senior supply chain leaders necessary for keeping up with the competition in today’s rapidly changing world. This is an employment problem, but it is also a supply chain sustainability issue. Instead of seeing supply chain sustainability as simply a means to create more environmentally friendly freight transportation processes and reduce greenhouse gas output from logistics, companies should think of sustainability in a more holistic sense.
To combat the difficulty in attracting and retaining high-quality supply chain leaders, and to ensure the sustained growth of current employees, companies need to nurture a strong internal culture of continual learning, collaboration and innovation.
Supply chain sustainability isn’t limited to the environment?
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain is one of the industry’s greatest issues, but so also is sustaining and nurturing top logistics talent. After the ports unclog from the current unprecedented congestion and freight capacity becomes more available, the next supply chain challenge is creating a sustainable workforce culture during, and after, the Great Resignation.
Why? Supply chains aren’t just about getting goods from one place to another as efficiently as possible, so we shouldn’t treat them as chains. Rather, supply chains are ecosystems, and factors like changing consumer behavior, digital disruption, the rise of new business models and big data capabilities, and increased competition are forcing these ecosystems to evolve quickly.
Companies must cultivate an organizational culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, growth and learning to respond to these changes. When employees aren’t afraid of new technologies, exploring new ideas, or learning and applying new skills in the workplace, companies will be in a prime position to adapt to disruptive technologies and changing environments, resulting in more efficient day-to-day operations both now and in the future. Corporate staying power and adaptability is part of supply chain sustainability.
Logistics leaders can encourage such cultures by leading by example and looking for future leaders in-house. Leaders can ensure those under them continue to learn and stay fulfilled — or even prepare to be leaders themselves — by taking a holistic view of employees and their job functions when performing evaluations. They can also allow younger employees and middle managers to move around the company to diversify their experience.
Having a company culture that encourages employees to learn, collaborate and try new things is also essential to attracting and retaining top talent. Candidates are drawn to these collaborative and learning-driven environments with opportunities for learning and professional advancements. Plus, existing employees are less likely to leave when they feel personally fulfilled and more likely to tell their peers at other organizations about your company.