Deloitte’s Take: Virtuous Churn in Procurement Should be Welcomed, Not Feared

Our exploration of Deloitte’s paper Procurement Talent Management: Exceptional Outcomes Require Exceptional People continues today with exploring the concept of “virtuous churn” within procurement. Looking at procurement as a “temporary home” within an organization rather than a singular career destination is essential when considering the type of talent structure and program that procurement leadership teams – ideally with the support of HR – want to nurture and build.

“Churn can be virtuous – Formal job rotation programs for future senior leadership positions, or even senior finance positions, are increasingly putting procurement and supply chain on the rotation list. What better place to develop commercial, operational, analytical and collaborative skills all in one department?

In addition, a rotation can instill awareness of the value that procurement can provide, making it easier to form partnerships with future leaders in other parts of the business. Some procurement functions have become net exporters of talent into other parts of the business.

Another benefit of duty tours in procurement is self- selection by future leaders of the function, people who thrive in its dynamic environment. Procurement can become a destination other than one for people who “can’t make it” in other departments.”

It’s our view that Deloitte nails the concept of procurement rotations when it talks about churn being “virtuous” rather than a negative. From a talent perspective, the question of looking at procurement as a permanent destination rather than a temporary stop in a career progression is an important one to consider – regardless at the level it comes in.

At a Procurious event in London in late April, David Noble, president of CIPS, suggested to the audience that he would personally not welcome those coming into the function in senior roles later in their career (intimating that talent should be nurtured and developed through the ranks). Others have different opinions.

Regardless, our own experience suggests that setting up a structure with the expectation of churn (by design) often brings significantly more positives than negatives to the procurement talent equation.

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