Five tips to plug the procurement talent gap

23 December 2013 | Marie Meliksetian
Marie Meliksetian is CEO at US Xchanging Services and managing director of procurement services for Xchanging North AmericaThe ‘war for talent’ in procurement has certainly become a challenge. Skills and subject matter expertise are, no doubt, critical for the success of a procurement organisation. Finding procurement professionals with the relevant knowledge across select areas coupled with requirements at country level – especially in the growth countries – has become a bigger task today than ever.
But the bigger challenge is finding procurement talent with subject matter expertise combined with the skills, attributes and competencies essential for the success of a procurement organisation.
Couple this with the fact that companies are experiencing major changes in the implementation of new technology and finding a professional with the necessary years of experience and technology know-how becomes another area of challenge.
So what can you do to close this very important talent gap?
• Expect to develop talent. Finding talent with the combined subject matter expertise and the various attributes I’ve mentioned will not be easy. The commitment and budget to help develop and coach your subject matter experts in the critical attributes and competencies will go a long way both for your organisation and the selected individuals.

• Budget appropriately. Expect to pay when looking for the selected skills. Return on investment is often achieved in procurement organisations. Allow for bonuses for contributing to the company’s cost management, quality, delivery on time, inventory management, etc.

• Develop and create a succession plan. Allow more senior talent to coach and develop junior talent. There is a great pool of talent with ambition and a strong appetite to learn, grow, contribute and bring innovative thoughts and ideas. Leverage them and help them grow.

• Allow assignments. Consider partial or full assignments abroad. Consider business line experience. This allows growth to your top talent while confirming your commitment to their progression within the organisation.

• Find other means to help grow talent within the company. Hire former and/or experienced consultants to transfer knowledge. Finding the right candidates is key. Look for a cultural fit, coaching capabilities, general procurement knowledge and more.

Marie Meliksetian is CEO at US Xchanging Services and managing director of procurement services for Xchanging North America

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