A generationally diverse environment enriches all packaging professionals by combining the unique strengths of each generation. What are the particular strengths of the Millennial generation? Here’s how to act on them to help enrich your work.
The packaging industry is a collection of dynamic parts—iconic bottles, functional fitments, flexible films, folding fiberboard and evolving equipment—directed by a stratified workforce that will include five generations working side-by-side by 2020. What an opportunity!
A generationally diverse environment enriches all packaging professionals by combining the unique strengths of each generation. What are the particular strengths of the Millennial generation? Consider these three—not invented by millennials, but embraced by them. Here’s how to act on them to help enrich your work.
1. Purpose blending
Millennials blend work with personal purpose. Their work is inseparable from their understanding of the purpose and meaning of life. Millennials orient themselves inside, then move to action outside and this then erupts in productivity that is marked by focus, imagination and energy.
Os Guinness of the famed Guinness family says, “Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.”
Speaking personally, my understanding of God’s call on my life stirs me to act and ideate in the world of packaging, similar to how Guinness’s nitrogen widget is designed to unleash a can’s creamy stout head.
Action: Contemplate your intrinsic purpose—and flow to the work.
2. Feedback fuels growth
Millennials crave a diet rich in feedback as they forage the forest in search of professional growth. Feedback varietals abound: a challenge to coax courage, life-hacks to enhance productivity, correction to shore gaps, appreciation to boost morale.
The best feedback to Millennials is frequent, informal and spontaneous. Yet the traditional feedback diet is made up of the standard annual review plus the mid-year check-in—only two opportunities per year. For Millennials, a feedback-dense diet is made up of two informal feedbacks per week—104 opportunities for growth and encouragement.
Action: Learn to offer and seek frequent feedback to fuel growth.
3. Re-inventing a SME (Search Matter Expert)
Millennials Google everything, anything and nothing. Before they speak to you, before they consult a book, they search on Google, social media or any number of available information sources. Millennials involved in packaging must be dedicated to a deep knowledge in a specific subject, but are, by nature, inclined to problem solving with a search-first mentality. The greatest packaging problems of our day will reward a mastermind of symbiotic SME’s: subject matter expert and search matter expert. Do you know a pair of SME’s to match up?
Action: Leverage a Search Matter Expert in your next problem-solving approach.
Millennials are drawing on personal purpose, a feedback-dense diet and search-first mentality to help transform the corporate chutes and ladders into a dynamic multi-generational packaging powerhouse. Now what can we learn from your generation’s mindsets?
Matt Dingee is an American ex-pat currently packaging manager across the Campbell Soup’s packaging in the Canadian market for brands that include V8, Campbell’s Soup and Broth, Goldfish, Pepperidge Farm, Plum Organics and innovation platforms. He previously worked in various packaging roles across Pepperidge Farm and Campbell’s, and has a BS from the School of Packaging, Michigan State University. Additionally, Dingee is a recipient of the prestigious DuPont Award in 2013 for initiating and commercializing a new to market reclose feature. You can likely find him reading, serving his church or brewing coffee on his Aeropress-inverted method.
See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at EastPack 2016, June 14-16, in New York City.