When It Comes to Recruiting Talent, Are You Ignoring Your Acres of Diamonds?

Within the context of a recent Procurement Foundry watercooler discussion, the “Hiring from Within” session at a recent virtual conference was notable.

The PF discussion to which we are referring centered on the fact that there is a steady increase in recruiting activity within our industry. 

When you think of recruiting, there is usually the assumption that an organization should automatically be looking outside for new talent. However, this is what made the conference presentation interesting: In going “outside,” we may be ignoring the “internal” diamonds, i.e., the talent that we already have in place but have not fully developed or utilized.

Finding Your Diamonds

Flash Poll: before looking outside for talent, how many of you have taken an inventory of your existing talent pool?

In identifying gaps in your current team, how many of you have invested in expanding existing skill sets or decided to develop new skills and capabilities?

These are essential questions for several reasons.

To start, and as highlighted in the title of a recent article, “Horses, Carts, and Resume Robots: Why more than 50% of all new hires fail within the first 18-months,” bringing in new people is not a sure path to success. In short, while a .500 batting average is more than good enough to get you in the baseball Hall of Fame when it comes to building your procurement team, it is not an achievement with which to be proud. 

The Right Seat on the Bus

You should also ask yourself if you have the right people in the right places doing the right things.

Talent misalignment is rarely a discussion point, yet it occurs with greater frequency than one might suspect.

For example, do you know with a high degree of certainty that everyone on your team is in the best position for their skills, personalities, and yes, even preferences?

Let’s face it, how many people fell into their current procurement position rather than choosing it?

A blunter consideration is if you are filling a function as opposed to strategically building and managing a team towards achieving a goal or strategic outcome. The following excerpt from another Procurement Foundry discussion underlines this last point:

“I have an opportunity to reorganize the department structure to align better and support the company strategies—I’m curious if anyone has set up an innovative organizational structure, and what successes did you experience along with any challenges?”

About That Goal

There is a great deal of talk of how COVID-19 has thrust procurement into the spotlight, leading to the recognition of its strategic importance beyond cost savings.

A more significant and more exciting portfolio of responsibility and influence will excite current talent and entice new talent to join your team.

What are your organization’s goals for its procurement department? Is it conducive to attracting and retaining the best and brightest both within and external to your company?

The way your organization views the procurement function and its corresponding day-to-day responsibilities and ultimate goals are the foundation on which you will build your team. If it is “confined” to a traditional cost-cutting role, the make-up of your personnel will reflect those limitations. It will also influence your recruiting efforts—including frequency and outcomes.

Behind the Numbers

We do not want to be a wet blanket or douse the flames of excitement regarding an increase in recruiting activity. The purpose of this article is to understand what is behind the rise in the level of activity.

Are we in our recruiting efforts growing the profession’s footprint to meet the new vistas of challenge and opportunity? Are we recycling people from one position to the next because everyone is continuously searching for the right fit?

At the very least, we hope that this article stimulates some much-needed discussion.