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.
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 last fall.
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
Michael van Keulen is Chief Procurement Officer at Coupa. He formerly served as the Global Procurement Director at lululemon athletica inc. (NASDAQ: LULU), a $3B+ designer, distributor, and retailer of technical athletic apparel. Previously Michael served as the Procurement Director at VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a $12B+ lifestyle apparel and footwear company. Michael is known for leading procurement transformations that generate significant shareholder value.
You have a passion for sourcing talent and developing high-performing teams. How is your approach different than others?
I’m not claiming my approach is different or unique. When hiring, I look for attitude first and procurement experience second. I always say procurement is a seven-step process that can be taught to anyone. What is difficult (if not impossible) to teach someone is to be “naturally curious” and “passionate” about the profession. Procurement is about being bold, going outside the comfort zone and challenging the status quo. This mindset requires people who have high EQ, are agile and not afraid to make mistakes. These traits are even more important when going through a transformation from tactical/operational to strategic.
The gig economy has been talked about so extensively that the term has become nearly meaningless. Yet contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners know there is something going on beyond the buzzwords, something that is beginning to matter to the work they do. It is difficult, however, for many practitioners to distinguish what is essential and of importance in the context of their procurement goals. To aid in that effort, this Spend Matters’ brief explores how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.
Based on a cursory look at Google Trends data, it is clear that the interest in the gig economy has risen consistently since the summer of 2015. No such increase occurred for terms like “contingent workforce” or “temporary labor” since 2004. But let’s take a closer look at how the gig economy is being described.
Definitions of what constitutes gig economy work range from:
Andrew Karpie, Research Director for Services and Labor Procurement, Spend Matters
In part one of this brief, we deconstructed the meaning behind the buzz word “gig economy” and explored what these new digital supply chains look like. In part two, we’re addressing the potential value opportunities, risks and challenges associated with digital supply chains for work and services and how practitioners can make the gig economy work for them.
Your workforce is larger than you think. Look beyond your employees and contingent workers and you’ll realize there’s another large, powerful force at play. One that probably isn’t on your radar.
Services providers, such as consulting firms, marketing agencies and IT outsourcers, play a crucial role in helping organizations get work done. They are a vital part of today’s workforce, comprising nearly one-fifth of workforce spend, and bringing much-needed skills to the table. They carry out mission-critical work, often operating at the heart of the enterprise.
In the oil and gas industry, services providers play a major role in shutdown/turnarounds, which cost millions each day and must therefore be completed as soon as possible. Many organizations rely on consulting firms to help them build and execute their strategies – particularly around digital transformation. Banks engage IT consultancies to improve their online and mobile banking platforms and call centers to support their customers.
In many organizations, services providers operate as an invisible workforce. How can management ensure that this often-unseen workforce consistently delivers maximum value? And how can organizations make sure that workers’ access to confidential data and systems is turned off at the end of the engagement?
Molly Spatara, Global VP, Brand Experience, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass
As we look into the future of contingent workforce management, and our vision of what a Managed Services Provider (MSP) solution should deliver, we must acknowledge that many of today’s MSP programs are broken and failing to deliver on their original promise. These legacy programs have become ineffective, pushing managers and talent into a broken process and creating endless frustration. To the point where, after having squeezed every last penny from the staffing supply chain, they are no longer delivering the best talent to the client.
We call today’s market reality “MSP v1.0” and in many programs it is represented by a command and control mentality where the MSP actively prevents staffing suppliers from speaking to the business managers who have created requisitions for new workers, enforces unrealistic pricing restrictions, and delivers an anemic value proposition through a burdensome and time-consuming process.
It is no wonder that many hiring managers are frustrated with their organization’s contingent workforce program, and as a result, many legacy MSP program stakeholders discover huge amounts of rogue spend taking place outside of their programs. We’ve even seen recent examples where procurement and HR stakeholders have become so disenchanted with their MSP program providers that they are actually considering taking the draconian step of shifting their programs in-house.
Bruce is a distinguished thought leader and global innovator, with over three decades’ experience within the human capital and workforce management industry. In his current role, Bruce is involved in new services and product idea generation, sales presentations, internal and external evangelism, digital and social media strategies, and lead generation. He gives us an inside look into his role, how he acts as a key partner to the business and his outlook on the future of work.
Your CPO keynote presentation at the Denver CPO Meet and Eat is about leveraging spend management within services categories--why is this an important topic?
There is a lot of talk about spend analytics, data and how that is the future of success. Our position is that spend analytics is a wonderful tool and capability but we’ve yet to see the capability evolve beyond goods-level detail. As procurement teams are continuing to try to find ways to better address services spend and deliver value to their organizations, we feel that there is tremendous opportunity by thinking differently about this space.
Despite the disruptive winds of change brought by MoviePass, unexpected flops, and shifting release dates, the action in cinemas looked pretty familiar this summer.
Critics and audiences alike complain about Hollywood’s predictability, but studio heads and directors continue to rely on the same old tricks. Compare this to an inert talent manager in Procurement. Every day, these ‘directors’ are confronted with signs that their shopworn strategies need shaking up. The supply chain talent they manage to bring in-house is restless before the previews have ended. Soon, they’re making a break for the exits.
A simple reboot won’t cut it. Even in the era of digital transformation, people are still Procurement’s most valuable resource. To build the right team and reach Procurement’s potential, the function needs to fully remake its approach to casting and directing talent.
Ironically enough, this summer’s slate of retreads offers some valuable lessons in talent management. Grab a seat and check out what Hollywood’s biggest franchises can teach Procurement.
Look for Talent in Unexpected Places
One of this summer’s biggest disappointments, Ron Howard’s Solo is a case study in the law of diminishing returns. Even the promise of beloved Star Wars characters, it seems, can’t guarantee a hit. That doesn’t mean the film has nothing to offer talent managers.
As the demand for independent talent grows, many organizations are using their own resources to directly source top independent talent without engaging third-party staffing agencies or consulting firms to perform recruiting functions. Direct sourcing affords many economic benefits such as avoiding high-priced staffing markups, decreasing overhead costs by hiring fewer full-time employees and filling project-specific roles with the right-priced independent talent.
But direct sourcing is only a small part of the picture. In order to compliantly utilize independent talent end-to-end, organizations must build a Direct Access program that encompasses finding, sourcing, engaging, paying and managing independent workers. Here are five best practices organizations should keep in mind when creating a Direct Access program to source and engage independent professional talent.
1. Drive Support from the Top Down
A lasting and successful Direct Access program begins with the right leadership support and sponsorship. This support must be driven from the top down by a senior business leader who has influence over the managers who will be sourcing and utilizing independent talent.
While a top-down approach is not the only method, attempting to build a Direct Access program from the bottom up is almost always a long and arduous path. Internal adoption is much slower and disjointed as the process relies on word of mouth and proof-of-concept in small groups.