'Honeycomb' career launch

19 September 2007
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20 September 2007 | Paul Snell

Barclays' sourcing department has launched a system to improve the career prospects of purchasers at the bank.

The web-based Global Sourcing Career Framework, developed by the procurement team, has attracted the interest of other functions in the company, such as HR, that are keen to develop similar tools.

The project aims to improve the retention and recruitment of purchasing staff, while boosting the profile of sourcing within the business. The tool gives buyers information about sourcing roles across the firm. To facilitate understanding of what is required for each role, a list of 30 skills applicable to all sourcing roles are rated in importance from zero to four.

The scores are consistent between departments, and staff can match a self-assessment of their own skills against the role profile to see what they need to get ahead.

"This is about people taking ownership of their own careers," Cathy McGuire, head of business performance management and operations, told SM.

The framework also allows the sourcing team to match gaps in the department against staff with the right skills. One aim is to encourage more staff to develop a variety of skills by moving into different sourcing roles.

The process will develop the "career honeycomb", whereby staff can advance in the company by moving between departments rather than using a traditional "career ladder". "We have a lot of variety to offer people," said McGuire. "This gives us a structured way to fill gaps."

The tool also includes guides, training and a social networking element, featuring staff profiles designed to improve communication in the function. This comprehensiveness sets it apart from other systems, according to Barclays.

The framework has been in development for around a year, as part of the procurement transformation at the firm. It has attracted interest from sourcing departments abroad and from outside the function.

David Bruce, head of categories: cash, logistics, FM and construction, said its success will be judged by the number of internal moves it enables.

The team believes the model could be used by organisations that lack the same scale and investment. "It would be easily transferable and adapt to any size company," said McGuire. "But we have used our scale to provide the variety of roles and complexity."


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