Daily Archives: September 29, 2006

The Talent Series III: Finding, Training, and Retaining

This week was another good week. To start off, Charles Dominick of the Purchasing Certification Blog started us off with a post on Talent Management that offered some suggestions for a mid-sized company to retain talent. In summary:

  • hire the “right” person, not necessarily the “best” person,
  • have a career development plan from junior buyer to VP of, Purchasing
  • don’t change the plan “on a whim”, and
  • reward employees for educational achievements.

Dave of Buyer Analytics chimed in with a great post on Practical Talent Management for Procurement. Dave shared with us five best practices for finding, retaining, and nurturing procurement talent. Briefly, these were:

  • Take advantage of the “Feeder Pool” of College Graduates available to you,
  • pair recent graduates with purchasing managers in direct materials,
  • rotate new buyers to indirect materials,
  • rotate the now more-experienced buyers back to direct materials, and
  • at the right time, put them on the management track.

Dave of Procurement Central followed up on his teaser Thought of the Day with an insightful post on Performance Based Pay – Thoughts from a Silicon Valley guy.

He really hit the nail on the head with the following:

Dave Stephens (annoying young engineer): “Doug, why isn’t going above and beyond rewarded more here?”

Doug White (CEO): “Dave, this is a company of engineers. Engineers value stability above all things. We don’t differentiate much on performance – that would make things unstable. We like it that way and we’re not changing things.” (but more polite and CEO-like)

I knew right then I was working for the wrong company.

Your best people work hard, perform well, and expect to be rewarded. The best answer we have right now is performance based compensation. Now, Dave is right in that measuring performance can be extremely tricky, but if you do it regularly, include objective and subjective ratings from an individual and corporate performance, do your best to approach fairness & correct mistakes as you make them over time, then not only will you get better, but your people will see the effort your making, realize you value their contribution, and, odds are, stick around for the long haul. I agree with Dave, “by being honest & upfront and not getting overly specific, management can ensure performance based pay, just like procurement, is good medicine for your business.

Finally, even though it is not part of the talent series, I’d like to mention a post on Joe’s Corner Blog. In When Small is Big, Joe gives us some great advice that can be applied to the talent gap. Think of the principle of small is big, or less is more, and success will follow. In other words, if you find the right people, you may not need as large a buying group as you think you do to succeed (especially if you empower them with the right tools and incentivize them to stick around!).