How to train different generations working in procurement

procurement department
April 30th, 2020
Share :
{{totalComments}} comments

With the digital revolution underway, developing professional skills is now essential for all professions. Because of this, almost 42% of the core skills required to perform a job will shift significantly between 2018 and 2022 [1]. However, these numbers are open to interpretation. In its report entitled "Procurement 2025: Equipping a multigenerational workforce with the skills for success in a digital environment", The Hackett Group takes a look at training in a multigenerational context.

Five generations brought together by procurement

For the first time ever, five different generations are working together, not only in procurement departments, but across entire companies as well.

We have:

  • The traditionalists (1928–1945 [2]): Although few in number, traditionalists are loyal to their company and appreciate being respected for this.
  • Baby boomers (1946–1964 [2]): With their careers well underway, baby boomers often hold executive positions. They are loyal, ambitious and results-oriented.
  • Generation X (1965–1980 [2]): This generation came up with the idea of a work/life balance. They also have an independent, even entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Generation Y (1981–1996 [2]): Also known as Millennials, growing numbers of this age group can be found within companies. Less loyal than previous generations, continuous learning, corporate culture and collaboration are important to them.
  • Generation Z (1997–2012 [2]): This generation is just beginning to enter into the labour market and are following in the footsteps of Generation Y. They are conscious of the meaning behind their work and want to have responsibilities.

Each generation has its own talents, but also its own concerns, such as being overwhelmed by technology, a lack of experience or being able to make a difference in the labour market. In such an uncertain environment, absolutely everybody wants to improve their skills and better equip themselves to advance their professional career.

Different training types and for different requirements

Various learning methods are available, depending on the employee's career level and the type of skill in question.

While individuals in the early stages of their career are more comfortable with online training, mentoring or changing job, those in the middle or towards the end of their career prefer face-to-face or on-the-job training.

However, certain methods are more appropriate depending on the type of skills to be developed:

  • For technical skills (analytical, data management skills etc.), face-to-face or online training is recommended.
  • For interpersonal and business skills (influence, leadership, critical thinking skills etc.), it is better to rely on a change of position or an observational approach.

Finally, on-the-job learning and mentoring are good techniques for developing any type of skill.

Depending on the different generations that you have in your team and your training priorities, you can now take an informed approach to your training plan.


[1] World Economic Forum

[2] These dates may vary significantly between different studies

Livre blanc
white paper
Indirect purchases: six levers that will improve your strategy