June 1, 2022

Upskilling Your Supply Chain Team to Solve Tomorrow's Problems

Dylan Kopf and Jenny Zhang | Marketing Student Assistants

Our May 17th Logistics and Distribution Peer Group meeting discussed priorities and different approaches to help leaders upskill their teams, which can be used in supply chain management as well as other areas across the company.

Skills have become “the new talent currency” across all industries. Now more than ever, organizations of all sizes are seeing a need to improve and refine the skills of their workforce in order to keep up with the rapid pace of change. According to a recent Gartner study, 97% of employees would learn a new skill, but only 39% believe their organization is effective at communicating changing skill needs.

The event featured three speakers – Suzanne Sherry from human capital consulting firm, excellerate3, Jen Palzkill from Lands’ End, and James Altwies from Exact Sciences – who shared valuable insights based on their companies' approaches for strengthening and developing their supply chain teams.

Suzanne Sherry introduced the significance of maintaining a healthy manager/employee relationship. Because feedback leads to learning, receiving quality feedback is the key to emotional intelligence. She explained how we judge ourselves on our intentions and we judge others on their impacts. Suzanne also introduced the 70/20/10 learning model which she referred to as the 3 E’s: 70% experience, 20% exposure, and 10% education. She noted that experiences are free and only require an investment in your time and someone to teach you.

With the growing importance of keeping up with the rapid pace of change, Jen Palzkill emphasized the importance of having a mentorship program to enhance leadership skills while supporting a learning environment. At Lands’ End, their mentor/mentee matches are determined by specific goals and desired outcomes. This reinforces their investment in employee development.

James Altwies dived into how Exact Sciences determined that critical thinking was a key skill they wanted to further develop in their supply chain teams. He utilized the Bloom’s Taxonomy model to visually display the expectations of each role. Through the six levels of the model: create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand, and remember, he demonstrated how this can help differentiate the levels of critical thinking needed for different positions in an organization.

Following the three guest speakers, the event attendees split up into breakout sessions to discuss ideas they learned and apply those to their own companies. The key ideas were then shared with the broader audience in the online discussion forum so everyone could benefit from these peer learning experiences.

As employees’ skill needs are growing rapidly each year, it is crucial to determine what skills are needed for the future, and what skills are being prioritized by other companies. As discussed, providing valuable feedback, mentorship programs, and using critical thinking techniques are all effective examples of how companies are implementing tactics to upskill their teams.

View the full meeting video and presentations here (member sign-on is required).

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