10 Tips for Talent Retention

A recent study by McKinsey & Company and the Supply Management Institute found that high performing firms have high performing purchasing departments, that what matters most is the people in the purchasing department, and that purchasing departments staffed with talented, motivated, and interactional personnel achieve, on average, savings that is two-and-a-half times higher than their peers who haven’t yet figured out that when it comes to supply chain, People Matter Most.

Therefore, should you be so lucky as to acquire exceptional talent, it is key in today’s economy that you hold on to it. The following are ten tips that might help you do just that.

  • Organizational Culture
    An organization needs the right environment to attract and retain the highest calibre procurement talent. Although this is hard to define, a good start is the right mix of openness, diversity, ethics, sustainability, fun, and support for work-life balance.
  • Give Them Space
    Empower employees to make their own decisions and give them the room to do so. Encourage them to try new ideas and don’t break out the whip if they fail, as one can often learn more from failure than from success. Also provide employees with the freedom that allows them to get the job done in the ways that work best for them.
  • Mine for Opportunities
    Involve the organization’s best people in strategic planning when the search is on for the next great opportunity and allow them to head new projects or spend categories on their own.
  • Challenge Them
    Ensure that BIG and NEW purchasing challenges are presented to them on a regular basis. Great talent is drawn to the opportunity to work on big things and to apply new thinking.
  • Training
    Good training starts on day one, from the minute a new recruit walks in the door. Before the recruit was hired, the manager should have laid out the skills relevant to the role, identified potential gaps, and developed an appropriate (on-the-job) training program to get the new employee up to speed as soon as possible.
  • Mentoring
    Mentoring facilitates knowledge transfer, helps the organization take advantage of lessons learned, and makes both the mentor and the mentored feel valuable.
  • Career Path
    Good procurement personnel are ambitious. They want to know that they can advance over time. Make sure there is a career path for every employee that starts at junior buyer and goes all the way to CPO.
  • The Right Equipment
    Every professional needs tools. This goes doubly so for procurement professionals who often have the hardest job of all managing the organization’s global supply chain. Make sure they have the right sourcing, procurement, logistics, inventory management, and contract management tools (to name a few) that they need to do their job effectively and productively and don’t be cheap when it comes to technology.
  • Rewards
    A good salary is often the top indicator of employee retention, and often the top reason an organization loses its top talent. Know what your top people are worth on the open market and do your best to compensate them justly.
  • Proactive Stay Interviews
    Even if the organization has the right culture, makes efforts to empower its employees, mines for opportunities, challenges the team regularly, offers continuous training opportunities, institutes mentorship programs, establishes a career path for each employee, gives them the right equipment, and rewards its employees handsomely, don’t assume this is enough. Everyone is different and every team is different. Instead of guessing, find out what your staff really want by asking them.

For more information on Talent Management, check out the Talent Management: Build and Retain World Class Sourcing Talent wiki-paper over on the e-Sourcing Wiki which covers the five R’s of talent management – resolving, recognizing, recruiting, retaining and retiring, skills development, and succession planning.

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