When it comes to searching for procurement talent, it’s not simply a question of looking for new “internal” recruits. There’s more to it than that. Yet by building the base of the talent pyramid organically and thinking through all the issues tied to compensation and strategic perception of the role, fresh eyes and fresh viewpoints can be brought in. This brings new sources of innovation, including helping to keep the procurement and SCM profession relevant and in tune with changing demographics and cultures – and of course making procurement a destination rather than a sentence or banishment.
One option when it comes to recruiting talent from the inside is to introduce what we might best describe as “virtuous churn.” Under this scenario, a tour of duty in procurement will self-select future procurement leaders who really thrive in such a dynamic environment. Procurement therefore becomes a very different destination from the place where ineffective employees end up or “go to die.
More broadly, a stint in procurement instills awareness of the broad and deep value that it can bring to future leaders, and makes it much easier to partner with them down the road. This is the “alumni effect” that many top management consulting functions experience when consultants leave their ranks to jump into industry and become future clients of that firm. In fact, some procurement functions have become net exporters of talent into other parts of the business rather than just being a destination for those who can’t make it anywhere else.
The downside of this churn, however, is that procurement functions must become much more efficient, not just in how they acquire talent (in any form), but in how they capture and retain the knowledge that leaves the function. This is especially important in low-cost regions like India, where turnover is much higher. According to a Hay Group Report, 1 in 4 organized workers (i.e., tax paying) in India will change jobs this year.
So, if you head down the “virtuous churn path” do keep in mind how to preserve and institutionalize the knowledge that will constantly be cycling through the function!