Rethinking Procurement – and Rethinking Talent (Part 2)

See the first installment of this post and our stage-setting introductions to the topic: Mind the Talent Gap in Procurement and Reforming and Rethinking Procurement Talent From the Beginning.

It is when a set of specific efforts (outside of human capital management) comes together alongside fostering a talent-centric culture that true, lasting change and procurement impact become possible. Take the concept of creating a center of excellence of or CoE. Effective CoEs must rely on more than just KPIs/benchmarks. But while we need to make them more powerful to enable teams in new ways (e.g., enabling category managers with better supplier and market information), simply tossing headcount at the problem will not solve the issue.

We all too often hear a common refrain in this regard: “We have the right number of staff – we just don’t have the right people.” It is possible to overcome this challenge, but doing so first requires redefining how we look at the talent issue from the start.

But how do we redefine the talent issue? It’s not a simple task. Since we know that many talent-based initiatives simply don’t work, we must start by focusing on putting in place a foundation that can lead to success. This begins with understanding the right skills and knowledge that will be necessary to create lasting talent success. Indeed: Start with a talent picture with which to achieve.

For some functions, this may involve rethinking hiring as a core component of talent management – some functions have realized that bringing in a certain number of the right people to meet capability gaps is no longer enough. Rather, we must define what talent is. We often observe that effective talent management is about developing a discipline and capability, figuring out where you need people, what is strategically important to own yourself – procurement can never be all things to all people.

But procuring or engendering talent is not a problem that we’ll ever get rid of, even when a function or set of sub-functions is fully outsourced. This begs the notion of where to start a new talent focus internally. This will be a subject that we tackle in detail as this series continues.

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