The Emerging Focus on Talent (Part I)

Although it was not a major theme of this year’s Best Practices Conference by the Hackett Group, it was nice to see that a recurring theme in many of the presentations was the importance of top talent in the successful execution of strategy and growth. As you may recall, last month SI put out an open call for thought leadership on three issues and one of them was supply chain education as there is a lack of talent in supply chain (relative to the need). Furthermore, the problem is only going to exacerbate as time goes on if it is not effectively addressed.

In particular, the importance of top talent was mentioned as critical in presentations by Disney, Pitney Bowes, HP, Cummins, and The Hackett Group and emphasized in private discussions I had with Pierre Mitchell and Bob Derocher. What’s really interesting to note is that while not every company that presented was World Class, Disney, Pitney Bowles, HP, and Cummins, in at least one organization, are world class by Hackett Group metrics — which only serves to drive home the reality that employee engagement is a critical part of organizational growth. As per Hackett’s Myths and Realities of Global Growth, not only are talent management leaders 16X more likely to link employee engagement to business impact, but there is 21% higher employee engagement in double-digit growth companies when compared to single-digit growth companies.

However, as pointed out in Sourcing Innovation’s recent posts on why you can’t find top supply management talent and how you find top supply management talent, talent management is more than cobbling a wish-list of desired experience, education, and expertise and throwing it over the wall to HR. It’s a well thought out strategy to identify, hire, retain, and retire that includes careful consideration of growth, career path, and training to insure that you get the most out of each employee from the time they step in the door until the time they step out for the final time after their retirement party. This requires a well thought out strategy that should incorporate some of the lessons learned from your peer group. Parts II and III will discuss some of the key points raised by the presenters and why they are important and the final Part will discuss how a Procurement Organization goes about getting started on its talent management journey.