Daily Archives: August 5, 2011

Perfect Procurement Processes Will Not Save the Public Sector

There’s lots of hmming and hawing on both sides of the Atlantic about how the Public Sector has to reduce spend to help get deficits under control and how it needs better procurement processes to achieve this goal. Why, I don’t know, because even perfect procurement processes won’t save the public sector. I could write a treatise, but until the following fundamental problems are solved, there’s no point.

  • Past Performance Does Not Affect Current Awards
    This is so ridiculous its absurd. No private company in their right mind would say “you just screwed up this 500 Million system overhaul, but here, please bid on this other 500 Million system overhaul”. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. (At least not if they wanted to stay in business.)
  • X% Must Go to Minority/Domestic/Preferred Suppliers
    And while we’re at it, let’s just tag on 10% for the United Way. After all, they claim their overhead is now under 15%. (FYI: The overhead of a best-in-class, private, Supply Management Organization is a fraction of that.) Supply Management is about the best buy. Period. Diversity/Domestic/Preferred should only come into account when all other factors are equal or if they bring value that outweighs additional costs.
  • Salary is based on pay scales out of touch with reality
    Supply Management success requires top talent. And if you’re only going to offer 50% of the going market rate, you’re not going to attract anyone who’s any good. While there should be pay scales to insure fairness, they should be adjusted annually based on regional averages and existing employees making less than the minimum when the pay scale is adjusted should automatically be adjusted to the minimum before the annual raise and/or bonus is calculated.

Your Job Advertisement Actually Attracted a Good Candidate – Now What?

Unemployment may be approaching a long-term high, but in some sectors, including supply chain, we’re still in a major talent crunch because of the lack of appropriate skilled resources while the need for those skilled resources is still rising. That’s why, if you’re lucky enough to attract an application from a good candidate, you have to make sure you keep their attention. But how do you do that?

SI would recommend you start by writing a grateful acknowledgement of their application with a request to promptly schedule an initial call, at their convenience (within reason — either within your normal operating hours or at times you can guarantee availability). The focus of the call should be on selling your company and position to them, not on them selling themselves to you. Once you have verified that they are who they say they are and a real candidate (and not a placement form pushing a stretched resume of a junior resource at you), it’s time to explain why they want to work for you. This should involve a discussion of:

  • a day in the life in the role
    and a no holds barred discussion of the good, the bad, and the ugly and how you hope they can help you improve the role (and not just put another coat of lipstick on the pig)
  • the stakeholders they will be interacting with
    and how they fit into the organizational structure
  • the corporate culture
    and why it really is a great place to work, even with its beauty marks
  • the commitment to employees
    with a focus on the training and personal development options available to employees
  • the decision making processes
    in terms of selecting the new hire and executing the role
  • the goals for the role
    and what will be expected of the successful candidate in the first 30, 90, 360 days

However, be very careful to:

  • manage expectations
    Do not oversell the role, the culture, or the benefits. If the offer is more than fair, the benefits will sell themselves. If you are sincerely happy in your role, convey that, and if you click with the candidate, a soft sell will sell the culture. And any talented resource knows that every role has an interesting side and a boring side. It’s what you do to minimize the boredom that counts.
  • not throw money around
    If you offer too much money, a smart candidate will suspect something is up. If the role has a market value of approximately 125, and you’re offering 195 as a base, they’re going to wonder if you’re a bad place to work (and have to bribe people), dumb (and unaware of true market rates), or wasteful (and running out of rope as a result). While top talent wants to be paid well, they understand fiscal responsibility (as that’s their job) and will happily work for the high-end of market average with a good bonus structure, that should be performance based and unlimited.
  • get too personal
    While talent wants to feel like they will be able to communicate and work with you and other employees comfortably and productively, they other expect an air of professionalism on the job and know that there’s a time for work and a time for play.