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
I recently had the privilege of joining SIG’s podcast with Dawn Tiura. We had so much fun talking about diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies, and why now is the time for organizations to start thinking about and acting on total talent diversity. Specifically, diversity across all of their workers, full-time and contingent (contractors, freelancers, and shift workers). Dawn and I are both super passionate about this topic so if you are too, take a listen.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve got diversity suppliers and that’s what I’m measured on.” That’s great if you do, and the truth is diversity suppliers are absolutely critical and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, just because you use diversity suppliers doesn’t mean you are getting diverse candidates.
Many organizations spend as much as 42% of their entire workforce budget on contingent labor, and most CFO’s expect that number to increase in the coming years. In fact, by 2023, over 52% of the workforce will be made up of freelancers. So if such a significant portion of your workforce is contingent, shouldn’t you consider diversity and inclusion across all workers?
Certainly, we know it’s good for the bottom line, as evidenced by the Boston Consulting Group finding that diverse companies have higher revenue. Who can deny that revenue isn’t important? It’s what keeps everybody employed! Here are some essential points to consider:
It’s so easy to do the right thing to do for people and business. Diversity and inclusion across all worker categories can so easily be implemented. It brings value to your community, to your current and future workers and your company brand.
Before COVID-19, every industry was already seeing the impact of digitization. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and consolidation were increasing, innovative disruptors were raising more venture capital than ever before, and each internal function in large enterprises was strategizing on how to embrace and incorporate technology.
As the global pandemic hit, digital transformation hit the gas. The most defining effect of COVID-19 on digital transformation has been the growth of e-commerce penetration: e-commerce adoption grew more in the last six months than it has in the prior 12 years. Industries are fundamentally redefining themselves. New consumer behaviors and habits are forming, and the value chains of the market are permanently shifting.
While digital transformation promises a great challenge, it also promises significant opportunities. In our conversations with leading executives across the Finance, Procurement, HR and IT departments – one recurring theme has been made abundantly clear: to capture this new emerging value, an agile and robust talent strategy will be necessary.
Resetting Contingent Workforce Strategies
It’s time to hit the reset button on contingent workforce strategies! Age-old strategies were already under pressure pre-COVID-19. In a post-pandemic, hyper digitized world, organizations cannot revert to outdated techniques. New strategies and boundaryless thinking are required to reconstruct a more sophisticated, agile and robust workforce.
Romeen Sheth, President & Scott Fraleigh, Chief Product Officer
Rajeev Karmacharya is Head of the Strategic Sourcing and Category Management group at Fannie Mae. Rajeev leads a team of category management, sourcing/contracting and supplier operations professionals managing $4.5+ billion in external spend. He is a member of the SIG Advisory Board and was a featured presenter at SIG’s virtual SIGnature Event that took place in September 2020. Virtual SIGnature Events are free to all qualified buy-side practitioners and sell-side members.
What role does procurement play when it comes to transitioning employees to a work-from-home environment?
I would argue that procurement is a key enabler for several reasons. Many of us have been working from home now for several months. If you think about what was needed for a seamless transition to a work-from-home model, technology and digitization come to mind. Procurement has had a role to play in the acquisition of these technologies and ensuring there are appropriate controls and SLA’s to mitigate any potential performance issues.
Procurement has been an early adopter in implementing solutions such as digital signature, which has seen broader adoption across the enterprise in a work-from-home environment. Specific to the procurement function, approval workflows built into our source-to-pay solutions have enabled our business stakeholders to review and provide necessary approvals electronically.
On a more tactical level, our procurement team worked to ensure that office supplies and peripherals needed to work from home effectively could be ordered online via our procurement portal to be shipped directly to our employees’ homes. Our Category Managers negotiated deals with technology and office furniture suppliers so employees could take advantage of our volume leverage.
Rajeev Karmacharya, Head of the Strategic Sourcing & Category Management, Fannie Mae.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate global economies, businesses across every industry and every size have been making the difficult decision to furlough or lay off workers. As of early July, nearly 50 million people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits over the previous 16 weeks.
Almost one-quarter of all small businesses in the U.S. have already laid off or furloughed their workers due to the pandemic. The majority of the June job gains were not newly created roles, but roles that hired back laid off or furloughed workers.
As time moves forward and the possibility of additional layoffs and furloughs remain likely, maintaining contact with that population becomes increasingly complex and more critical to the future success of your organization.
There is a clear business case for investment -- to improve retention, boost employee morale, and because your brand reputation depends on how you handle this extraordinary situation.
Direct Sourcing with Talent Pools
The pandemic has companies rethinking their talent strategies. Many are finding direct sourcing through talent pools is one way that organizations can engage, manage, support and re-engage talent that has either worked for them before or expressed interest in doing so previously.
This not only saves time and money for companies (a must given the global economy), but it protects and benefits your most important competitive asset -- your talent.
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.
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