Will Generation Z be the best negotiators ever?

The key themes of Generation Z according to a McKinsey&Company article include:

  • Fewer confrontations and more dialogue
  • Inclusivity and multiple definitions of self
  • Realistic and pragmatic perspective

The highly open and ethical mindset is conducive to effective collaborative negotiations.

These are typically difficult negotiation behaviours to master, with many Generation X and Y procurement negotiators falling back to competitive behaviour when pressured for savings or speed.

Most importantly, collaborative negotiations are increasingly the norm. Many procurement professionals are working on categories that involve strategic relationships with suppliers. This may be because the market is non-competitive, dependency or because there is a clear benefit from close long-term working.

It is often the case that strategic relationships are given to the more experienced or long-serving staff members. However, the portfolio matrix reminds us that resource allocation should be based on behavioural fit. Given this profile, Strategic categories fit Generation Z procurement professionals well.

Critical category: ideal buyer personalities

  • Tenacious
  • Problem-solving
  • Dynamic

Strategic category: ideal buyer personalities:

  • Creative
  • Inclusive
  • Discussion-leading

Acquisition category: ideal buyer personalities

  • Organised
  • Meticulous
  • Data-driven decision-makers

Leverage category: ideal buyer personalities:

  • Driven
  • Motivated and motivators
  • High expectation of self and others

At ADR International, we teach negotiation skills to Procurement professionals worldwide, both classroom and online. With a larger proportion of Generation Z buyers in our classes, the shift towards digital learning is apparent. In addition to providing more online learning, what should Procurement Leaders do to ensure their Generation Z procurement staff are developed to excel in collaborative negotiation?

  • Generation Zers need to experiment and explore. Allocate them to strategic category teams to contribute.
  • Empower Generation Zers. They will generate ideas and should be accountable for delivering them.
  • Encourage them in supplier management and supplier meetings. Being attuned to the importance of mutual gains will add authenticity to their discussions.

Source: McKinsey&Company. “True Gen: Generation Z and its implications for companies”. Tracy Francis and Fernanda Hoefel