5 Tips for Managing Procurement Talent

Over the course of the last twenty years or so large businesses and organizations that operate in the procurement industryhave spent untold amounts of money investing in marketing, software and third party services to try to enhance the efficiency of the procurement process. Often a largely overlooked part of the process is the actual individuals involved.

The individuals involved in the procurement process can be large influencers of the outcomes. If effective in performing their roles, they can offer more to a company than any software or marketing strategy. By implementing a talent management strategy for procurement, organizations can ensure that they have the personnel required to change the dynamic of the procurement process.

So how do you manage the human capital involved? Through using the following set of steps, businesses can ensure they have exceptional individuals to implement the procurement function and other broader business issues;

  1. Develop a procurement talent structure

  2. Attract and nurture new talent

  3. Identify and manage existing talent

  4. Retain talent

By following these steps, companies can ensure that they have a strong talent pool for procurement allow savings and intelligent business decisions to be made by the right people.

Developing Procurement Talent Structure

The best way to develop the procurement talent structure is to first identify the procurement requirements and goals of the business. It is then about identifying the strategic areas where people are needed and aligning the talent of individuals with their goals. Two key components of this step is workforce planning and organization design. Some questions you can ask to figure out what particular talents are required for your organization are as follows:

  • Do you want to implement an online procurement strategy?

  • Are your procurement personnel required to work with stakeholders?

  • Are your procurement personnel required to deal with Finance, IT, Marketing or Manufacturing?

By answering these questions you can start to get an idea about what other skills your procurement talent will require aside from basic procurement experience.

Attracting and Nurturing New Talent

The leaders in procurement spend a lot of time trying to attract rising stars from Universities around the world. In order to pry these hot prospects from other organizations they offer very attractive packages to convince them to join their companies. Another way of attracting talent is by offering orientation programs in order to nurture talent. Talented individuals are acutely aware of the importance of continual development and will consider organizations that afford them such opportunities.

Improving Existing Talent

As well as recruiting new and talented personnel, it is important not to forget about the existing talent in your organization. By recognizing talents of existing talents of employees, you can decide how they can be best utilized in the context of the procurement process. Some individuals thrive on negotiation and so these people would be ideal candidates for dealing with suppliers.

By identifying the strengths of individuals, you can make the procurement function more efficiently. This can be done through behavioral assessments particularly in procurement because soft skills and self-awareness are important attributes of procurement talent.


As well as using people where they are best suited, it is worth investing in a training program for existing employees. This allows them to diversify their skill set and allows you to use them in areas of the business that you are short on staff.


Mentoring programs are a particularly effective method of increasing an employees knowledge base on procurement. Anybody can learn the theory from a book but gaining first hand experience through working alongside a teacher or mentor can be invaluable to an employees development.

Mentoring gives the existing talent pool a chance for further education directly related to the areas they work in and with people they know and trust. Training, while effective, doesnt give an insight as much into the day-to-day operational requirements in procurement but teaches specific skills. As such, mentoring offers something that training alone cannot learning through practical application.

Retain Talent

When you have valuable members of your organization that have a lot of experience and expertise in procurement, it is important that you hold on to these people. When business isnt going so well, its tempting to lower salaries.

It is absolutely critical that this idea be approached with great caution when applied to talented individuals. Talented people tend to know that they are talented; as such they are aware of roughly how much they are worth. If they arent adequately compensated for the skill set and knowledge base that they provide, they will not hesitate in seeking that compensation elsewhere.

Aside from a large knowledge base and skill set, these talented individuals also offer more to your organization. They offer all the other employees somebody to learn from. This is something that is invaluable. They can be the mentors that help future procurement executives to succeed in a similar fashion to how they did. Holding on to these people is crucial to the success of the procurement function going forward to the future of the company.

The Importance of Procurement Talent

Managing procurement talent is hugely important to the procurement function of organizations. Hiring new recruits fresh out of University and throwing them into the deep end isnt going to cut it anymore. Companies need to follow the steps above in order to identify the procurement talent needs of the organization based on the specific business goals of the company.

After developing a talent management structure, its crucial they attract high value rising stars so that their talent poor is rich in talent. They must exercise judgment on existing personnels strengths and identify both where they can be best utilized in the procurement function and what training would be beneficial to them. Finally they must focus on retaining the talent pool that they have created by offering appropriate compensation to high-value personnel to ensure that the procurement function is successful going into the future too.