Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog. Today, I’ll be reviewing a whitepaper entitled “Managing Talent in a Recession: Attracting & Developing the Right Staff” from Denali Recruiting & Staffing.

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This whitepaper starts out with a description of certain employment and economic conditions. It is a little bit dated (from June 2009), but the basic message is this: “There is high unemployment, so this is a great time to find talent if hiring new employees is in your near-term plans.”

Skipping ahead, the whitepaper profiles the four different generations in the workforce and their characteristics as well as their stereotypes. All of the information up through this point of the whitepaper is very generalized and not procurement specific. However, that changes about half-way through. The whitepaper says that “the landscape in procurement and sourcing has changed over the last 10-15 years” and gives several examples of new processes, new tools and technologies, changing markets, and higher expectations.

It goes on to address a topic that I’ve always found interesting: hiring someone with procurement-specific knowledge and skills vs. hiring someone with collaborative and consultative skills and the ability to learn procurement skills. The authors say that they recommend seeking individuals with “a blend of talent – those with consultative skills and those who know the business of procurement.”

Though a procurement leader can easily be led to believe that it is an employer’s market, the whitepaper wisely advises that while “the current market offers unprecedented opportunities to find great talent, it is imperative to keep the good people you have.” The whitepaper includes a nice five-point plan for retention:

  • Align individual and organizational goals and effectively track progress
  • Emphasize employee performance management
  • Invest in performance-based development (i.e., “mentoring, training, and other targeted learning activities”)
  • Identify and reward high-performing employees
  • Have succession plans

The whitepaper elaborates on each of these points and addresses a few other topics, such as assessing skills, before wrapping up.

What I like most about this whitepaper is that it really emphasizes the need to be strategic in thinking about how to staff a procurement department for the long-term. Too often, it is easy to get caught up in the priority-of-the-moment and not think about what you want your procurement organization to look like in the immediate and distant future. This whitepaper can help you focus in that regard.

If you’re contemplating how to staff your procurement department as the economic landscape changes, I recommend giving this whitepaper a scan. You can download your own copy from Denali’s Web site (no registration required).

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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