As a procurement professional, you know that talent in procurement has been a hot topic in recent years. Here at WNS-Denali, we have seen more organizations grapple with talent issues, so we decided to dive deeper into the key talent concerns for retail companies at SIG’s Global Executive Summit a little while back.
The all-star packed panel with procurement leaders from some of the largest retail brands in the world came together to such questions as:
How does your hiring profile differ now and why?
Where are you finding your talent?
What are you looking for in new hires?
Specialist or generalist, which is a better hiring strategy for your team?
Even if you work at a company beyond the retail industry, these questions and the learnings from the panel still apply to your company. As you strive to gain a competitive advantage and influence more spend strategically, refreshing your approach to talent can make a big impact. Below are the top seven creative hiring strategies that came from our panel of retail experts.
Hire from within
This classic retail trick applies to all industries. Promoting from other areas of business up into a corporate role brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective on the core business and ability to relate to stakeholders. Most importantly, it will add a level of credibility to your procurement team.
David Gonzalez, Director, Procurement Services, Denali - A WNS Company
Your employees helped you navigate a historical disruption. Now they deserve your investment in their personal and professional development.
Everyone wants to “get back to normal.” I am anxious to safely hug friends and family, talk without the muffling of a mask, enjoy a meal in a restaurant, and travel abroad again. While the saying get back to normal is mostly a turn of phrase, going back to normal in the professional world is impossible.
Procurement professionals are constantly preparing for localized Black Swan events, like natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, cybercrimes and such. But the impact of COVID is unique in its size and scope. What started as an epidemic in late 2019 quickly spread into a pandemic, consuming the entirety of 2020, and it’s still rearing its ugly head in the world.
Leaders in all sectors need to realize that the world as we know it has changed, and your employees are holding company leadership accountable. If you want to keep the talent you have and be an employer of choice to attract new talent, it’s vital to stop, listen, and learn from the people who help make your business successful.
Here are my recommendations to build a more inclusive, resilient, and agile workforce as we look ahead.
Back to the Office ... or Not
Now that vaccines are making inroads and people can safely congregate again, some look forward to going back to the office full time. After a year of working from home, others don’t want a full-time return to the office.
Before COVID, there was in many companies a conservative attitude about working from home. It was accepted on occasion but not wholly embraced. At Scanmarket, we will not return to a situation where people have to be at the office five days a week. Instead, we will pivot to a hybrid, part-time office model.
To be able to see where you’re headed, you’ve got to look back at where you’ve been.
I just looked back at my December 2019 blog post and I was spot on, but for all the wrong reasons. I predicted that we would continue to elevate the role of strategic sourcing, broader adoption of technology, and a focus on upskilling sourcing and procurement teams.
I did not predict that a global pandemic would make the world talk about “supply chains,” albeit with a focus on toilet paper, Clorox wipes and a shortage of personal protective equipment. People came to realize that strategic sourcing professionals were the heroes who protected their sources of supply or quickly adapted to secure new sources.
While the pandemic continues to rule our lives in one way or another, we still see shortages on components for home gym equipment, bicycles and even casters for home office chairs. So, while some supply chains still have issues, many industries are experiencing a boom year and outpacing sales over any year in the past.
Looking back at the news of this year, many of us vaguely remember the Australian bushfires, and I distinctly remember racing go karts when news broke that Kobe Bryant died. I know some people were distracted by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking away from the royal life and Parasite swept the Oscars. This was all immediately non-news and forgotten quickly when the pandemic became a reality. (Personally, I am glad of one “trend” that did not last through the pandemic, which was padded shoulders and puffy sleeves.)
SIG University Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) program graduate Anirudh Sundareshwar outlines howmanaging stakeholders is well-served via effective communication.
A generic definition of stakeholder management is “Stakeholder management involves taking into consideration the different interests and values stakeholders have and addressing them during the duration of the project to ensure that all stakeholders are happy at the end.” It is important to understand that this may not always be true, especially in projects where multiple stakeholders and personal stakes are involved.
However, it is essential to ensure that most stakeholders are happy with the project's end result or initiative you are working on. That is not accomplished only by the end result but builds up along the project's lifespan.
As we have learned, one of the most critical tenets of stakeholder management is communication. It is vital to know what to communicate to whom, when to communicate and how to communicate, especially to senior stakeholders. This is an art and not easily achievable. Even more so in the current scenario where most people work remotely and do not have the advantage of picking up cues (verbal/non-verbal) as you would have in the pre-COVID era. Stakeholder management in our world involves both internal and external stakeholders, of course.
Anirudh Sundareshwar, Director & Head of Sourcing, BNY Mellon
Deb Cunningham’s passion for creating wellness in both the corporate world and personal life has led to her role as co-founder of The Mindfulness Effect, a boutique corporate consulting company that bring mindfulness into the workplace. With a career in healthcare that spans over two decades, she has combined her industry experience with 20+ years of practicing and teaching yoga and mindfulness. She is a certified RYT500/YACEP yoga instructor and certified Yoga Nidra meditation instructor.
What is mindfulness, generally speaking?
Mindfulness is a term that attempts to summarize a way of seeing the world around us, in the present moment and releasing the tendency to judge. It forces us to stop and pay attention, which is an important component in balancing the nervous system.
The past few weeks have catapulted the entire globe into a constant state of near panic. This perpetual barrage of fear and anxiety is quite literally triggering the fight, flight or freeze response in the brain. How can we move through these times with a calm and present state of mind?
As we know, our environment is constantly changing. Look at the last month, never mind the last 20 years, and we can see that the ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances is vital. This requires a level head and access to focus, ingenuity and intuition.
How does mindfulness work in a business setting?
We have all seen the person staring listlessly into the air as they go about the mundane task of the moment. It is proven that executives cannot focus on what’s at hand due to the unending demand for their attention, whether it’s the phone, email, text, reports, meetings and face-to-face interactions.
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CPO Rising 2019: #ValueExpansion
Ardent Partners, in association with Zycus, presents its 14th edition of the CPO Rising report, a comprehensive, industry-wide view into the state of procurement and captures the experience, performance benchmark statistics, perspective, and intentions of 300+ CPOs and procurement executives.
Everest Group is exploring the practices and technologies that are yielding the best outcomes for overall contingent workforce management. Participate in the Pinnacle Model™ study for a complimentary summary of the findings.
Kelly Bengston is Senior Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer at Starbucks. Kelly is responsible for enhancing Starbucks enterprise-wide functional strategic sourcing and supplier relationships, creating consistent global sourcing processes, developing a sourcing talent management program and building a values-based approach to working with suppliers across all categories of the business.
Kelly has held numerous leadership positions during her 8-plus years with Starbucks. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Starbucks Global Supply Chain’s Strategy & Deployment team, a new team created under Kelly to support Starbucks supply chain’s aspirations of becoming digitized, strategically aligning resources against priorities and building capabilities through long-term capacity planning and supply chain intelligence.
Prior to joining Starbucks, Kelly gained broad experience in packaging, product development, manufacturing, and project management at Macy’s, Bensussen Deutsch, Cranium and Hasbro. She enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is Nitro Cold Brew.
Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as the Chief Procurement Officer for Starbucks?
I am fortunate to have an amazing job, working for an amazing company. My day-to-day is filled with connecting with great partners and suppliers to deliver products and services to our stores and customers.
Anecdotally, I have been hearing of huge increases in the amount being paid to sourcing professionals in recent years. From the top down, that has been true. As you know, we have a Career Network at SIG and I keep a folder of executives looking to move on to other senior leadership roles, so I know what kind of packages they are getting since I do a lot of match-making.
In the last five years, I have seen that starting salaries for a recent college graduate are at least 25% higher in the sourcing industry. It is not at all odd for a person with three years of experience to command a minimum salary of $100,000 a year. Ten years ago, I didn’t have a single CPO making over $500,000, and now that is becoming a possibility for fully-loaded compensation. Of course, talent-level, cost of living, and location make a huge difference in the numbers. At the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event in March, I confirmed the jump in salaries for sourcing professionals.
A master’s degree intern from a strong supply chain or finance school commands $31 per hour for a paid internship and an undergraduate intern makes about $26per hour. What happened to the free internships we vied for when I was an undergrad? Interns now make the equivalent of $54,000-$64,000 per year as an intern. I know someone that was named “intern of the year” at a high tech company who was offered a starting salary of $85,000 after receiving a bachelor’s degree, and they turned it down - that was four years ago.
Jane Zhang is the Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing, a Canada based consultancy specializing in providing strategy and execution services in the sourcing, procurement and category management space. She loves people, solving problems, and has years of expertise working throughout the entire sourcing spectrum, from building and executing multi-million-dollar tactical strategies, to being entrusted with some of the most complex and strategic contractual negotiations on business-critical projects. Graduating from the Haskayne School of Business twice over with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and an MBA in Finance with a focus on Global Energy Management and Sustainability, she has returned to build and teach business contract negotiations with her Co-Founder as a part of giving back and elevating her alma mater.
Jane is passionate about education is a member for multiple boards, most notable is her role as Board Director and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit designed to connect children aged 8-13 with industry learning and development through play.
Jane’s latest passion is to champion the role of sustainability in procurement and is celebrating the launch of ETCH’s sustainable procurement offering, which integrates the UN SDGs as a sustainability function into the procurement process from an end-to-end perspective.
It’s no secret that technology, data analytics, globalization, and other factors have completely changed many aspects of modern business. Supply chains are wider than ever, sales and procurement strategies are increasingly predictive thanks to advance data approaches, and more companies are outsourcing work and relying on contractors.
Amid all this, the C-suite has seemed relatively stable. A business might have a CEO, a COO, a CFO, or other executives, but they tend to focus on business processes within their domains of expertise. But increasingly, it looks like those widespread shifts in other departments have reached the C-suite.
Whether through collaborations or new roles, the executive level in many companies has been adapting to new realities. Here’s how they’re doing it.
The technological shifts and trend toward outsourcing have been a boom for bottom lines, but they have also made the nature of business decision-making more complex. Consider, for example, the role of a CIO. For years, information and technology managers chose and oversaw the implementation of network solutions for a company to use in-house. But now that many businesses hire outside firms to handle cloud storage, data security, and other essential IT functions, the CIO’s role has changed. Now they are having to think more about purchasing, contracts and third-party risks, like a CPO, and about strategy and long-term competitiveness, like a CEO.
As a result, the traditional walls between those positions have begun to break down. The CIO in the example above can’t move forward with new contracts or strategy without consulting their peers in the C-suite. Likewise, if a procurement officer or human resources lead want to implement new software solutions that can add value and intelligence to their departments—an increasingly common occurrence—they’ll benefit from consultation and buy-in from the CIO.
Patrick Gahagan, Director of Contract Compliance Audit Services at SC&H Group