How’s the ‘Great Resignation’​ affecting Procurement?

No matter what sector you work in, you’ll have heard of the term ‘The Great Resignation’. What does this mean and how does it affect Procurement?

Either the pandemic has led us to reevaluate, with many striking a better balance between work and family, or we may be seeing the result of pent-up demand after more than a year of repeated lockdowns and uncertainty. Either way, the result is the same. Job vacancies rose to record highs at the end of last year as employers struggled to attract new workers.

Jobs data doesn’t tell you much about the procurement industry, but the broader trend seems to reflect what’s happening in our sector.

Research from the CIPS and recruitment firm Hays found 49% of employers have struggled to find the right talent over the last 12 months.

I have spoken to many managers and recruiters about the stiff competition for talent. This seems especially true for specialised roles such as IT, marketing and digital transformation.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s caused by Procurement’s more visible role, leaving for other opportunities, or professionals wanting better work-life balance – competition is heating up.

The average pay increase across the sector was 5% last year, according to the CIPS report, outstripping the national average of 4.2%.

In this environment, procurement leaders can’t afford to stand still. Here are my recommendations for continuing to thrive in the age of the great resignation:

Focus on efficiency

The importance of digital transformation in procurement is clear: it drives efficiency.

Having clear, transparent and scalable processes will help you to deliver faster. Procurement is all about improving how the wider business is run, whether that be lowering cost, improving quality or cutting risk. That process should start with your procurement team.

By working efficiently and effectively you remove unnecessary stress from your team and ensure that they are fully utilised on what matters – delivery.

Pipeline management

Many leaders are still trying to manage their functions looking in the rear view mirror – this breeds reactivity and tactical behaviours which impact your team.

The most effective teams are proactive, reporting 12-18 months into the future. Investing in tracking and optimising your pipeline allows you to proactively manage opportunities. This also helps the wider business and helps to sell the value that Procurement can bring.

Motivating your staff

We’ve spoken before about looking after your teams’ mental wellbeing. Fostering a supportive environment improves productivity and drives better outcomes for your organisation.

However, this isn’t a case of letting people take it easy. We need challenges to grow, and a good way to motivate your team is to give them work that puts them outside of their comfort zone.

Spending time as a team and ensuring everyone is working together to deliver your strategy can be extremely motivational – especially if your vision is challenging and inspiring

Resource augmentation

What you work on is more important than how hard you work, and some tasks won’t be worth doing no matter how efficiently you are able to do them. The key to effectiveness is being able to quickly identify and offload the tasks that aren’t worth your time.

At Acada, we help Procurement Leaders measure their team’s activity, delivery and pipeline so that they can be more proactive and also outsource low-value tasks so you can focus on the things that move the needle for your organisation.

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