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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Managing A Procurement Team – Definitive Guide

Key takeaways

  • Real-time systems in procurement improve accuracy and speed.
  • Companies are focusing more on eco-friendly practices and fair supplier relationships.
  • T-shaped procurement professionals, who have both deep and broad skills, are becoming essential.

Managing a procurement team is difficult. You have this new wave of procurement professionals coming your way with different ideals and perspectives due to the generation gap. With all the social, political, and environmental movements that millennials are starting, how can you manage them without conflicting perspectives?

For this article, I will show you the stereotypes about millennials that I want to debunk. I will show the traits that make millennials a  perfect fit in procurement. Additionally, I will share with you some of my working experience with millennials and how to effectively collaborate with them.  

This article will let you understand more about the ideals and perspectives of millennials that will make you appreciate them more in your procurement team. Additionally, this will allow you to create a good collaboration with millennials that will be beneficial in your relationship with them. So without further ado, let’s start uncovering the perspective of a millennial in procurement.

    Millennial Stereotypes Debunked

    Experts estimated that millennials will comprise the procurement workforce in 2020. It has been a terrifying prospect for hiring managers who have heard all the stereotypes about millennials. 

    However, 2 years have passed and the procurement industry is as strong as ever. Thus, the stereotypes about them are not holding true to most of them. 

    The following are the stereotypes that are usually thrown at millennials:

    1. Millennials are lazy

    The most popular stereotype of all that is thrown at millennials is that they are lazy. Millennials are usually seen as lazy due to the fact that they see things differently. 

    Most millennials think that it does not make sense to be anchored to your work when you can work on the move by replying to emails or writing drafts during your commute to work. 

    Millennials are masters of digital communication which is why they are good at creating and doing things much faster. Thus, it is not laziness but working smarter.

    2. They are job-hoppers

    Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping which is why many hiring managers are doubtful of employing them. Typically, millennials will try to find other jobs if they feel that there is no growth anymore. 79% of millennials who are planning to leave their company in the years to come said it was because their leadership skills are not developing anymore..

    Although they are frequent job-hoppers, it does not mean that they have issues with loyalty. Millennials are impatient and continuously seek ways to innovate and grow.

    Typically, millennials will try to find other jobs if they feel that there is no growth anymore. 79% of millennials who are planning to leave their company in the years to come said it was because their leadership skills are not developing anymore.

    3. Millennials are entitled

    Almost all generations before millennials label them as entitled in work. However, millennials are not behaving this way because they deserve more. Their behavior is a valid reaction to today’s labor market that no longer values labor. 

    Gone are the days when you would walk into your manager’s office and have a heart-to-heart talk about how they can be compensated more in the same role. 

    Millennials know that nowadays, a good salary can only come in only two options: change in job titles or job-hopping. 

    The perspective of millennials is that they are much better off somewhere else if they cannot swing to a new title and get a much higher salary. This is not magic nor entitlement, this is a quest for better pay to survive the increasing cost of living. 

    However, you cannot deny the paradox of the way work is seen by many in this generation. Many do not want to settle for unsatisfying jobs and salaries. Yet, many people have no choice but to take it so they can afford to survive and pursue what they want.

      Traits That Make Millennials Excel in Procurement

      Millennials have their own known traits as does every generation but these traits specifically can be very good for procurement. Here are a few of those traits and what they could mean for the world of procurement.

      1. Innovative

      Millennials are not afraid to think outside the box which makes them highly creative and data does not scare them. If you give them a large amount of complex information, they will find innovative ways to use and show it. 

      In today’s fast-changing global economy, employing people in your team who can take new information quickly and come up with various innovative solutions is an invaluable asset.

      2. Collaborative

      Millennials are raised having a global perspective. Thus, they are ready to work with diverse and multi-generational teams. Additionally, millennials learn, adapt, listen well, and have the confidence to contribute to their team. 

      3. Digital experts

      Almost all millennials are comfortable with technology. Using technology is so common for millennials, especially for work, communication, and connecting with other people. As many organizations switch over to e-procurement and automated business processing systems, it is a good advantage to hire tech-savvy employees. 

      Managing the New Wave of Procurement Experts

      As a procurement leader, I have managed young and bright procurement professionals that you may qualify as millennials. 

      I am sure that you will agree that this new generation of professionals has a different mentality compared to the older generation.

      Research by Dutch scientists showed that there is a big gap between what millennials want, and what their managers think they want.

      What managers think they want

      • A high salary
      • Job security
      • Promotion opportunities

      Here is what Millennials actually want:

      • Interesting work
      • Appreciation
      • Engagement with the company

      As you can see, this new generation of professionals is looking for something totally different from what most managers think. Over the years, I learned 5 valuable lessons I would like to share with you.

      Over the years, I learned 5 valuable lessons that I would like to share with you.

      1. Stop communicating tasks and start sharing goals

      To get the most out of a millennial, you have to motivate them internally. Make them the owner of the goal, and let them figure out how to get there.

      2. Don’t manage but coach

      Millennials do not want to be micromanaged. Just like it is better to give them goals than tasks, it’s also better to coach. If millennials feel they are the owner of the problem, they will be more motivated. In the end, be there when they need help.

      3. Help them advance their career

      Interesting work is the number one item on the list of what is important to a millennial. Keep your employees learning, this will keep their work interesting. If millennials feel you are not shy to invest in their career, they will carry more engagement to your business.

      4. Connect them to your company’s vision

      Ever heard of the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek? This is Simon’s key idea in a nutshell: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

      Every company in the world knows what they do, which is why it is the first thing they tell people about. 

      Who would you rather have working for you? Excel professional Johnny, who is only here to collect his consulting fee? Or Lisa, who needs some time to learn, but wants to see the world changed in the same way you do?

      5. Show up in critical Moments

      Millennials care more about personal relationships at work than ever before. Being thoughtful throughout important moments in one’s personal life carries much weight. It has helped me to connect with my teams better and I am 100% sure this got them to work harder and push for better results.


      Effectively managing a procurement team with millennials involves dispelling stereotypes and recognizing their unique strengths. Contrary to misconceptions, millennials bring innovation, collaboration, and digital proficiency to the workplace.

      Their perceived job-hopping is driven by a quest for growth and innovation rather than disloyalty. Implementing the principles they stand by fosters a collaborative and productive work environment, bridging the generational gap in procurement.

      Frequentlyasked questions

      What are the most common stereotypes of millennials?

      The most common stereotypes that are thrown at millennials are that they are lazy, entitled, and job-hoppers. 

      Are the stereotypes true?

      The stereotypes are not usually true. Millennials just know how to play their game in this ever-changing global economy.

      What do millennials want in the workplace?

      More than a high-paying salary, millennials want to be appreciated and engaged in interesting work that contributes to their growth. 

      About the author

      My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

      Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics