Report: ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’ Important for Talent Management


The talent gap in procurement continues to pose a challenge to the industry. Demand is high, but supply is falling. So when a company does nab a talented worker with the ideal skill set for a career in supply chain management, retaining that employee becomes even more essential. New research points to proper talent management approaches, specifically ones that include diversity and inclusion efforts, as being a successful strategy to retain talented employees.

The independent workforce is growing. How can procurement take advantage? Read: The Independent Workforce: A New Vein Of Opportunity for Spend Visibility and Savings?

The report from Bersin by Deloitte was not geared toward procurement organizations specifically but does provide insight on a possible approach businesses can take overall to attract and retain talented workers. The report said the most mature organizations have a “clear, targeted and communicated talent strategy,” and one that is reinforced throughout the business and is focused on developing leaders and a “learning culture.” However, the report identified a strong approach to diversity and inclusion as the top differentiators between mature organizations and those that are immature with talent management strategies.

“In addition to simply indicating to employees that their diversity is welcomed, these organizations build both high-level strategies (e.g., aligning diversity and inclusion strategy to organizational objectives) and broad-based talent management practices (e.g., integration between diversity and inclusion, and learning and performance management), which help to reinforce the importance of bringing in people of diverse backgrounds and behaving in inclusive ways,” the report said.

Successful organizations are those that communicate with employees, ensure employees know they are valued and are welcomed to share their perspectives, the report continued. These effective talent management strategies can also lead to better financial results and overall business outcomes, the report said.

In Spend Matters’ view, a focus on talent management in procurement, specifically, is critical. As Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder and head of strategy recently wrote earlier this year, “[T]he only sure path to better performance is through fostering a culture that prioritizes talent recruiting and development as arguably a number one priority overall (even above tactical priorities like ‘savings’).”

Talent Management For Better Company Performance

Among the 454 global organizations Bersin by Deloitte surveyed for its report, 70% have “low talent management maturity,” showing how many organizations are missing out on opportunities for greater employee retention and, ultimately, financial results.

The implications of not addressing the skills gap across a business are clear. Spend Matters has identified the skills gap as a top reason “procurement is doomed” — procurement skills are simply not keeping up with the time, Jason recently wrote on Spend Matters.

Yet despite this lack of progress, many of the same and new challenges remain in procurement — including supply risk management needs, commodity management and services procurement — nearly all of which the majority of procurement organizations are only partially addressing today owing to a fundamental talent skills gap,” Jason said.

Demand to Top 1 Million Workers

Additional recent research has highlighted the need to find and keep talented workers, especially in the supply chain. A 2014 report by MHI stated the supply chain industry will need 1.4 million workers by 2018, or about 270,000 each year.

However, access to talented workers continues to be a main business disruptor. KPMG’s recent survey “Succeed in Constant Change” showed 49% of businesses view “global access to talent and skills” as a top business disruptor. As a result, 34% of survey participants said they are investing in talent and emerging technology expertise, which was identified as a necessary step to business success.

To be successful and prove value for the business, a procurement organization absolutely needs the right talent on the team. And, as mentioned above, Spend Matters believes talent management should be a priority for procurement. But, it should also be a separate effort, aside from day-to-day operations, with specific initiatives focused on upping the talent game.

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