Procurement, C-suite Often Not on Same Page About Hiring and Development, Experts Say

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A frequent topic in procurement is how can CPOs get a seat at the chief executives’ table, but finding that sweet spot with the C-suite can be elusive.

Some of the frustration comes from procurement departments and C-suites being misaligned on how to hire the best people, a study shows. And procurement veterans at a recent APICS conference said hiring talented people and developing the current staff can help with that high-level relationship.

Research done this summer for Cielo, a provider of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), talked to more than 1,100 people around the world and found that different views about how businesses hire contingent and full-time talent can be stark among stakeholders — those in the C-suite, procurement, the business side and HR.

“Whereas procurement rated ‘hiring manager satisfaction’ as the top success metric, human resources, business, and the C-suite preferred ‘quality of hire,’” which the study defined as a company’s overall hiring effort.

Even though procurement seems out of sync there, it actually wants to see quality of hire improve, the study said. In another area that the study labeled strategic, procurement and the C-suite both highly value identifying and defining metrics on hiring. So those are areas where procurement could step up efforts and help meet the chief executives’ goals.

Panelists at a couple of sessions at APICS 2018 in Chicago this month stressed that, once hired, workers should manage their careers.

“Tenured employees need to continue to evolve,” said Keith Connolly, vice president of AT&T's Entertainment Group supply chain. “The college degree stays current for about five years, so workers have to update skills.”

Clearpath Robotics’ Heather Walker, APICS’ young professional board guest for 2018, said that managing her career to meet her goals actually led to her to leave a job for another opportunity. And Connolly, of AT&T, advised that businesses should have internal career paths for people so you don’t lose talent.

The experts also stressed that procurement and supply chain professionals should reach out to the C-suite to ensure that the department is on its radar.

“Be courageous and be stewards of the business,” said Anna Barej, McDonald's senior director of global supply chain sourcing. She said those qualities will get procurement noticed. (Although at McDonald’s the word “procurement” is a no-no. Instead it’s called “global strategic sourcing services,” Barej said.)

When asked if her group has a seat at the C-suite table, she said, “Mostly yes, but we must maintain relationships to keep being invited.”

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