A recent article over on the Supply Chain Management Review proclaimed to offer 9 Ways to Recruit Top Procurement Talent in Today’s Competitive Market. So of course it caught our attention. However, the tips it offered were just standard Best Practice Executive Recruitment, and it was quite disappointing. According to the article, the best way to recruit top procurement talent, which is the rarest talent out there right now, is to:
- Personalize the Recruitment Process
- Optimize the Candidate Experience
- Clarity and Transparency on the Role
- Tangible Opportunities for Growth
- Flexible Work Arrangements
- Holistic Compensation Packages
- Consistent Employer Branding
- Empowered and Inclusive Workplace
- Understand and Act on (Current) Employee Priorities
… and absolutely, positively NOTHING here is specific to Procurement talent. It’s the basics you should be employing when recruiting for ANY role as you are seeking out the talent (which is NOT coming to you). If you want Procurement talent, you have to do more than this. For starters, we recommend
- Parity Compensation with Sales … in an average company, if that company is lucky, 10 cents of every sales dollar goes to the bottom line but the sales person, on top of a nice baseline salary, will get a 10%, 20%, and even 30% of the sale; in comparison, every dollar of spend reduction achieved by a Procurement professional goes straight to the bottom line (i.e. 10X the ROI, or more) and their commission is a pat on the back and maybe a trip to ISM … they should be incentivized to go above and beyond baseline expectations if you truly want the best (of the best)
- Adequate Technology Budget … as almost half of organizations don’t have any modern sourcing and/or procurement technology solutions/platforms and the majority that do have not yet digitized the full Source-to-Pay+ process to maximize Procurement productivity and profits
- Adequately Sized Procurement Department … while technology will allow the team to do more with less, as per the Hackett Book of Numbers, there’s still a minimum number of personnel you are going to need to sufficiently analyze and monitor the spend, strategically analyze and source all the necessary categories, keep the tail spend under control, improve sustainability, support the brand, etc. etc. etc.
… but what we really recommend is not trying to lure away more than one high talented Procurement individual (to be your Director / CPO if you don’t have one) but instead lure away top talent with the potential to become Procurement Rock Stars because they have deep category expertise in multiple categories the organization needs to source; outstanding project management, technology/math, and management skills; and the right EQ to be both a team player, team leader, and supplier development professional.
In particular, you should consider looking for:
- new age logistics leaders (who can model supply chains, complex landed / ownership costs, and understand lead times and extended supply chain risks);
- astute supply chain modellers and designers from consultancies who have particular expertise in your domain
- engineering leaders (who know their categories inside and out, do complex modelling on a daily basis, have been trained in project management and managed projects, and have leadership and people skills
- corporate / supply chain insurance actuaries and professional economists who have the expertise to appropriately predict, cost, and manage risk and create proper risk-aware sourcing events and risk mitigation plans
… and then training them on your Procurement processes, which will be easy-peasy for them to learn compared to the complex logistics, supply chain modelling, science/technology/engineering/math knowledge, and actuarial science and econometrics they had to learn to do the job they’re doing now.
Moreover, depending on your domain, you may also be looking for chemists (chemical manufacturing), biologists (pharmaceuticals), lawyers (if you do a lot of contracting / contingent labour / outsourcing), etc. The reality is that the best of the best for your organization likely aren’t in Procurement yet (because, as we pointed out in our recent article on how If You Want Good Procurement People YOU NEED TO TRAIN THEM).