Managing People & Diplomacy in Parcel & Delivery

By Kevin Mandarini
Uploaded: August 8, 2023

               In 2023, every business is a people business. Customers no longer shop based on who has the best value or the lowest prices. Likewise, workers no longer choose what company they will work for based on pay and benefits or the job itself. Nowadays, who you are as a company is just as important as what you do.

As we lean into the third decade of the 21st century, business leaders worldwide are starting to realize that in order to be successful you have to take care of your people first. The business world isn’t all that has changed, though. Anthropologists often note that social progress coincides with technological advancement; which explains why the last 23 years have seen some of the most rapid and drastic social changes in American history. As a business owner or operator, you’re left to wonder: In a day and age where diversity is both more important and more prevalent than ever, how do you make everyone happy?

Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers all represent approximately a third of the US workforce, and all of them have wildly different ideologies regarding employment and employers. This can make building and leading a business more challenging now than it has been in recent history. Business owners in their golden years can tell you firsthand that hiring employees now is a lot more difficult than it was 30, 40, or 50 years ago. The younger members of the workforce will likely tell you that good-paying jobs are a lot harder to find and get in recent years, too. Leaders in every space must find ways to overcome these challenges if they want their businesses to grow, and the final mile space can be particularly challenging in this endeavor.

Home delivery is an industry that has traditionally relied on blood, sweat, and elbow grease to get the job done. Tens of thousands of P&D route and small business owners nationwide find themselves at the sorting station loading up the trucks for their drivers or on a truck delivering packages themselves at least once per week. A good portion of these “blue-collar business owners” even plan to work in their businesses every day in lieu of hiring a full-time employee or manager. These values are typically present in Baby Boomers and Gen Xers; blood, sweat, and elbow grease won two world wars, after all. But the largest per-capita generation in the workforce as of 2022 is the Millennials.

Now as old as 40, millennials make up 39% of the American workforce but only account for just under 13% of business owners. The opposite is true for Baby Boomers, accounting for 19% of the workforce, but almost 40% of business owners. There are no exact figures (at least that I can find) of what the generational representation in the Final Mile/P&D space looks like, privately-owned businesses provide 64% of all jobs, so we can statistically say that at least 29% of people employed by a private company are also employed by someone of the same generation. (Johns Hopkins University 2023, Guidant Financial 2023).

One could also say that this same group has selected their employer in accordance with the values demonstrated by the company. Regardless of generation, everyone enjoys being surrounded by people who share their personal values, and who value them as an individual. As people, this is true of how we choose our friends; as a workforce, it’s how we select our employers. Companies that exhibit our values are likely to employ other people who exhibit our values, so naturally we find ourselves attracted to them, even if we don’t realize it.

In order to be successful, you have to take care of your people first. Managing People and Diplomacy in Parcel and Delivery can be a challenge, but becoming proficient at it is a surefire way to build your business bigger and better than ever.

For more information, watch this video on Building a Winning Team!


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