When it seems like every company is using the latest technology to find new talent, touting never-ending perks, and aggressively poaching up-and-comers, how do you set your company and your procurement team apart? How do you attract, retain, and develop a stellar procurement team that will give you a competitive advantage?
Don’t worry, this isn’t another blog post about how to please the virtual alphabet soup of generations. It’s about thinking outside of the box to position and market yourself and your team as innovative, impact-driving problem solvers so you can attract the A-players to your team.
Solving the Talent Gap in Procurement
Why is it so important to attract top performers for procurement? According to a recent Deloitte study, over half of surveyed procurement leaders believe their current teams do not have sufficient levels of skills and capabilities to deliver on their procurement strategy. Clearly, this finding implies an urgent need to upskill existing resources and attract highly skilled talent to elevate procurement teams’ competencies.
That’s why we met up last week with Chicago Sourcing Leaders (CSL), an ever-growing Chicago-based network of sourcing and procurement leaders motivated to discuss this topic and learn from each other. As tables filled with introductions and enthusiastic chatter, innovative ideas from the brightest procurement minds in the city quickly bubbled up.
We discussed how educating your internal organization on what you do as a procurement organization is possibly the most critical factor in accelerating your own career and developing those around you. By mastering the skill of marketing procurement while bringing value to the business, you will delight stakeholders as they realize the true impact Procurement makes in the organization. You’ll surprise suppliers by engaging with them with the full support of the organization behind you. And, you’ll help your team perform blazing fast at an optimal level.
Among the many conversations, it became clear that strong talent and organizational management practices support both job satisfaction and powerful revenue growth. Here are four of the most important practices we discussed:
Be flexible in your role
Both generalist and specialist organizational structures have merit and at times will need to flex to the other side to achieve spectacular results. At different points in their careers, procurement team members may be drawn to one be either a generalist or a subject matter expert; support this development to encourage continued growth. Some companies even have formal rotation programs within the procurement organization driven by HR to encourage well-rounded team members.
Establish a Procurement presence
Coordinate your internal presence within the larger organization to let the wider business know you’re more than just a tactical player. If you have a company intranet, this is a great place to start. You can share pertinent information like sourcing and procurement policies, FAQs, team org charts, and much more. Think about it from an internal customer’s perspective and have fun with it! Try planning a happy hour “meet the team” session to engage your business partners over snacks and beers instead of over email.
Use your technology
A great way to facilitate conversations about your team members’ future aspirations is to create and manage internal talent profiles. Many HR tools today have these capabilities. To retain and motivate employees, you need to be forward-facing, have a clear team trajectory, and maintain open communications via tools like chat rooms, video conferencing, screen sharing, and more. If your company does an engagement survey as a pulse check, make sure you review the results and take them seriously. And if you don’t have an internal review process, you can easily start with simple tools like SurveyMonkey. It’s important to set a baseline so you can continually monitor your progress and adjust strategies as necessary.
Whether internally or externally, it’s important to recognize and elevate your team’s successes. Maybe someone has earned a valuable certification, graduated from a rigorous program, or hit an amazing milestone recently. Sharing your team’s success not only highlights the individual’s hard work and desire to grow, but it also reflects on the team as a whole as one that supports and celebrates each other’s growth.
Maybe you have some ideas that are even better than what we talked about at CSL. If you do, please share! We’d love to hear your thoughts –– join us on LinkedIn. The bottom line, as we saw the Deloitte survey, is that it’s critical to uplevel your team’s skills, which means increasing your visibility within your organization and marketing your team as a true driver of high-impact results. This positioning also helps you attract, retain, and develop talent. After all, A-players want to be on A-teams. So, it’s time to get the word about your A+ procurement team both inside and outside of your business!
Stay updated on our LinkedIn group to chat about ideas and best practices and hear about future networking events and roundtable discussions!