Are You Neglecting Your Most Important Supply Chain?

Written by EO Executives on Jul 06, 2017


The more time I spend with businesses, of all sizes, less surprises me. However, what does surprise me is how many neglect their talent supply chains. Many them have honed and defined their supply chains into highly efficient, state of the art operations that produce better results and at a lower cost than ever before. Experienced, skilled procurement professionals add huge amounts of value to their business through supplier innovation and sophisticated sourcing models. 

When I ask these businesses how their talent supply chain is shaping up, I often get the same blank expression staring back at me. Think about it. Who is going to deliver that award-winning supply chain in the future? The smart businesses have a succession plan. They focus on those high calibre, high performing members of the team and develop them into tomorrow's leaders. However, a recent poll revealed a high proportion of supply chain professionals sight the calibre of their colleagues as a reason for leaving a business.

Are you doing enough to add quality to those high performing internal stars?

Think about it for just a moment… If you applied the same principles to hiring staff that you apply to your supply chain, you could achieve better, more efficient results at less cost than ever before.

Here’s how…


You need to look ahead. What does your work forecast look like? What resources, capabilities and skills do you need to add to your team? The fastest way to make a bad hire, especially on a permanent basis, is to rush it. Hiring someone simply to fill a role will often disrupt the culture internally, costing you time and money in training, as well as potentially fixing set-backs.

The war on talent is tough and you can expect it to take between three and six months before your new hire is working in your organisation. So, my top tip would be to plan the hiring process and think about what qualities and traits the right candidate would have. Don’t waste any time stumbling in the dark.

And don’t let up. Demand planning for talent should be a constant process, as it is in your supply chain. I mentioned in a previous blog about setting aside time to meet with talent on an ongoing basis. You don’t know what is around the corner. And don’t forget your Alumni. Who are those colleagues that left you 2 or 3 years ago and have now increased their skills and experience and would be a greater asset to your company? Don’t cut all ties with talented people just because they are not working for you.


My guess is that you put in a lot of time and effort in sourcing. HR may own the recruiting relationship and are an important stakeholder, however it is you that lives with the pain if the PSL, RPO or internal recruitment team doesn’t have the expertise, capability or time to deliver you the best candidates in the market.

You should also be challenging your recruitment partners to bring innovation to the table.

  1. What are they doing about measuring cultural and behavioural fit?
  2. What can they offer you with regards to video introductions?
  3. How can you grasp a candidate’s capabilities?
  4.  What do they do about providing that information to multiple stakeholders in multiple locations?

I think you’d be surprised at the level of innovation that is available if you ask for it, and if it’s not, talk to someone else.


You and your stakeholders need to establish a seamless recruitment process to secure top talent. The best talent is unlikely to be desperate for a new role. Meaning they will not put up with mediocrity, especially if they think it reflects how the business operates.

It is also vital to ensure candidate expectations are managed because if you fail communicate where they sit in the process, they will walk away. There is no reason to elongate the process with unnecessary steps and poor interviewing techniques. Remember to plan every stage and ensure other stakeholders are available and thoroughly briefed on each candidate before they meet them. That way you can measure where you are and eliminate any chance of duplication in communication between both parties.


Delivery is crucial, you’ve done most of the hard work, so don’t let it slip now.
At an executive level, you can expect your chosen candidate to have a three to six month notice period. This is a long time for a candidate to reconsider that job offer, especially if their current employer is doing everything in their power to persuade them to stay. Utilise this time wisely and ensure you keep in regular contact with them. An easy way to do this is to include them in company updates, invite them to social events and even meet them for a coffee or dinner.

You might also find it useful to get them up to speed with some reading materials and articles about the company. But one bit of advice, if there is any bad news in the media, tell them before they read it! This can be detrimental to any relationship and may push the candidate to reevaluate the offer.

You should also ensure the candidate feels valued. A clean desk, working computer and phone is a given, not a benefit. To make a lasting impression, plan their first few weeks in the business and schedule time with the appropriate colleagues and stakeholders. This is a great opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves and ensure there is alignment from the start. This can also be a good time to think about introducing sponsors and mentors to your new hire. After all, you need to be aware of the ’90- day dip’ and do everything you can to minimise its impact.


At the risk of ending on a negative tone, not all hires go to plan. Even at EO Executives we only manage a 96% retention rate over 12 months, but need to consider not every hire will make it. A wise Head of IT Procurement once told me “you should base every contract on the exit”

So, how are you covered? Is your rebate period suitable? You’ll never know during an eight-week period if your new executive is going to last and getting 10% back in week seven will not feel good.

More importantly what is 'Plan B'? Be honest and confront the brutal facts. It's easy to blame the candidate or recruiter but what could you have done differently in the process? What else could you have told the recruiter before they went to market? What else could you have done during the hiring process to highlight the right candidates or during the on boarding process to ensure that stuck around?

I’d be keen to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment below or alternatively if you would be interested in having a confidential discussion, please contact me at:

For further thought leadership, follow EO Executives on LinkedIn HERE.

Follow Us

Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on RSS

Follow Us

Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on RSS

Join over 40,000 followers and receive updates on hiring talent and progressing your career.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Popular Entries