2020 created a unique situation for businesses and significant learnings from the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic. 2021 will be the year these learnings are put into action. Internally, this may mean updates to standard operating procedures, workflows and other processes to better prepare for the unforeseen. The explosion in online training and the expected increase in budgets will offer more opportunities. Businesses with a well-trained workforce will have a competitive advantage.
Training is perhaps more critical in 2021 than in years’ past. It is well known that a comprehensive training and development program empowers employees and improves retention. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning report, 51% of learning and development experts will be launching upskilling programs while 43% will be reskilling their teams. So much has been learned across industries, disciplines, etc, that it will be critical for not only the Procurement organization to be an active participant in training but Marketing, Accounting, Manufacturing, Supply chain, etc.
Streamlined Procurement can be Part of the Solution
Across organizations, departments are being challenged to do more with fewer resources. As a result, finding the time to participate in training sessions becomes more difficult. Establishing a priority for what training is most important becomes a challenge. Finding ways to make company-wide processes easier lowers the burden on the individual department in 2 ways. First, simpler technology or processes eliminates the need for formal training sessions, and an easier process saves time and encourages user engagement.
Businesses with antiquated purchasing technology are learning this lesson. If the existing purchasing process is so complex that it requires user training, it's time to re-evaluate the technology. With time demands, process changes, and so much valuable information to be gleaned from peers and experts, learning how to perform a process that is quickly done at home seems wasteful to the business.
Make Complex Processes Simpler
Purchasing goods and services has become even easier for consumers over the last year. Whether it was the local 5-star restaurant or your corner pizza place, in the previous year, most customer-facing businesses found a way to leverage their website for online ordering, some taking it to the next level. Think about it, how many training sessions did you attend to order your dinner online?. For many companies, buying at work has not applied the same principles.
Today anyone at a company can be a buyer. Whether it is a remote employee buying stationery, Marketing buying print services, or Maintenance ordering parts, the purchasing process should be as easy and intuitive as possible. A simple buying process not only ensures on-contract spending but gives time back to those departments to focus on value-added activities, such as training and development.
Give Time Back to the Business for Training
Training, both internal and external, is critical to ensuring the workforce has the tools they need to be successful. As Meghan Biro said in her Forbes article, “An employer who doesn’t focus on learning is going to lose out — in performance, engagement and retention.“ Time is a limited resource, and wasted time training on antiquated technologies that are time-consuming to use costs the business. Make 2021 the year of simplicity. Much like the business-to-consumer market, leverage technology to make activities like buying intuitive and easy, giving time to focus on training that will add value to the business.
Kelly has nearly 20 years of experience in Marketing and Public Relations, and is responsible for overseeing all marketing initiatives and campaigns at Buyerquest.