Using Social Collaboration to Engage Procurement Organization Team Members

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Employee engagement is a main focus for business leaders in 2016, with more than 80% of U.S. employers in a recent survey ranking engagement as a strategic priority. Engagement has been shown to increase employee retention rates — something that is especially critical at a time when many industries are struggling to find and keep skilled talent.

But engagement is also clearly something many companies are failing at. The survey of more than 880 companies, conducted by TalentKeepers, also showed that only 26% of organizations think they are doing a good job at employee engagement. Gallup data also shows 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work.

One way companies are improving engagement is by encouraging social collaboration between coworkers, teams and departments, and providing the tools for the collaboration to occur. For procurement teams, specifically, this collaboration is important as the department searches for and contracts with new suppliers.  

As Fabrice Saporito, founder and CEO of SpendLead, recently told Spend Matters, a buyer is never alone in making the decision to source from a new vendor. It’s a team effort, and it requires communication and collaboration within the procurement organization. It’s why SpendLead has social collaboration tools at the core of an up-front sourcing platform. The forums hosted on the platform allow colleagues to share information between one another on potential vendors. The concept is to create a single space where procurement buyers can keep track of all the information gathered during the sourcing process and share it coworkers to gather feedback, Saporito said.

Additional Benefits of Social Engagement

Adopting social tools that foster communication can lead to more engaged employees and ultimately higher productivity rates for the business. A Gallup report said consistent communication is connected to higher employee engagement. Employees who have daily communication with their managers, for instance, tend to have the highest levels of engagement in their work, according to Gallup.

Additional data from the McKinsey Global Institute that social technologies that foster collaboration can improve worker productivity by 20% to 25%. MGI said social tools can enhance communication, knowledge sharing and collaboration across an enterprise. The report, “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,” specifically points to how social platforms have “become a tool for managing procurement and logistics, allowing instant communication between different parties on B2B supply chains.” These tools also reduce information searching time for workers by as much as 35%, freeing up about 6% of the workweek, the MGI report said.

Saporito also pointed out the time savings benefit of having social collaboration tools available on the platforms procurement teams are using every day to source goods and manage supplier relationships. If a buyer, for instance, does not need to send separate emails to colleagues, but can share vendor information directly on the sourcing platform, that translates into time savings. An added benefit is that it keeps team members in constant communication, fosters collaboration and ultimately keeps employees engaged.

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