Procurement and Talent Management Processes: Don’t Wait for HR!

It might seem obvious, but if you want better talent, you need a better talent management process. Unfortunately, we find that this process is informal at best, and when it does occur, it is often tribal and siloed. In the physical supply chain, translating demand to supply and then performing supply strategy and planning (and then sourcing/execution) is second nature. But, when it comes to defining skills and knowledge requirements to talent supply sources (full-time hires, part-time, contingent labor, contractors, consultants, BPOs, etc.) and then optimizing the right talent source for the job, the process completely breaks down.

Consider how this applies to procurement: the best negotiators are not always the best supplier managers or internal relationship managers or continuous improvement leaders. So, your talent management process should accommodate this. For example, some enterprise-level talent processes can be used to help identify the right procurement talent. Behavioral assessments have been successfully used to identify those traits in employees, who may not even report into procurement, that are a good fit.

This is like “moneyball” for procurement talent – you need to find people with the innate skills that will make them successful in procurement. At a minimum, the use of behavioral interviews and case-study-based techniques are increasingly popular to make sure that incoming talent will perform well under pressure. A top-flight procurement “internal consultant” should be hired in the same way that a top-flight management consultant would be hired from a top-tier MBA school.

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