Why Procurement & Supply Chain Leaders Need to Get Better at Hiring

Written by EO Executives on May 23, 2017

After giving last week’s Procurement Leaders, World Procurement Congress a week to marinate, I have come to the conclusion that you, todays procurement and supply chain leaders, need to step up your game in the talent market. I listened to countless speakers stand up and tell you that the future is going to be challenging. Automation, VUCA and a millennial workforce are just some of the challenges you and your businesses are facing.

And who is going to tackle those challenges?

It will be your team. So, you need to take the necessary steps that will allow you to directly focus 30% of your time on strategy and 70% on your team.

Heading up the Procurement and Supply Chain Practice at Global Executive Search Firm EO Executives, I have the privilege of understanding what organisations need from their supply chain and the value their leaders will need to bring to implement successful outcomes in rapidly changing market.

No Doubt you are familiar with the VUCA acronym and utilise it for accessing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Now you can use my VUCA acronym to help you get ahead of your competitors in talent attraction. 

Validate your culture and understand the attitudes and behaviours you need in your team, and the role for someone to be successful. You can teach a category but you cannot teach attitude and behaviour, and those behaviours are likely to be different from your previous hires as the landscape is dramatically different.

On trend expectations include a shift from analytical to social behaviours. Automation will likely be able to handle the analytics, but you need individuals who can work with your stakeholders and engage better with suppliers. The other big change is moving from highly compliant, rule followers to more agile, independent and creative problem solvers and change agents.

Unwrite your job descriptions. As Eva Milko, MD of Procurement Leaders in the Americas, said in a recent post "It’s time to rip up your stuffy job specs". Last year’s specifications won't work for tomorrow's procurement and supply chain professionals.

Several speakers stood and stated the landscape is changing; at a faster rate than ever before. So, you need to change your expectations and hire people that are agile enough to handle that change. They will need to think and act in a different way from what you are used to and you need to be prepared to accept that.

Create an interviewing culture. Whether you are hiring or not, interview! Spend at least half a day a month meeting with top talent. You don’t know what is around the corner; it will give you an opportunity to bench mark your team against external market and understand what initiatives and innovation your competitors are creating. Who knows you might learn something? This will also mean you don’t have to rush your hires and make bad decisions because you are desperate for a bum on a seat. You will have a pipeline of talent to choose from.

You should also involve your team in the interviewing process as it will give them exposure to the market, and give them ownership of finding and highlighting top talent that can add value to your business. Why not offer them an incentive for recommending anyone you hire? One of the biggest reasons procurement and supply chain professionals give for leaving their companies is the calibre of their colleagues. Put some of the emphasis back on them to raise the average.

Align you hiring strategy with the business strategy. I sat in on a round table discussion about how procurement can add value to M&A processes, and the biggest gripe I heard was that procurement aren’t included throughout the initial stages. You need to ensure you know what the business strategy is and where procurement and supply chain adds value to that process.

Following that you need to hire individuals who have the skills to fulfill that strategy or train and develop your current team to meet the expectations of the business. Don’t complain that you weren’t included if you can’t offer a solution.

Our top tips:

Check out more market insights here:

- How to Write a Great Job Description
- Why You need a supply Chain Non-Executive Director
- 6 Reasons Why Creating Purpose is Key to Successful Change

If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to comment below!

#Volatility #Uncertainty #Complexity #Ambiguity #plwpc #Procurementleaders #CPO #SupplyChain #Procurement

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