Retaining procurement talent: ready for the future?

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RafiqueJassiem.jpgSupply chain professionals in retail have an unprecedented opportunity to drive a profound shift in supply chain operational performance. But how will they strategically attract and foster a workforce that is ready to meet the evolving demands of future consumers, asks Rafique Jassiem, Group Procurement Manager, Oceana Group.

The water shortage in the Western Cape has highlighted how we interact with the environment. The crisis has united people and driven a response laced with ingenuity and creativity that South Africans are blessed to have in abundance.

For many it is inconceivable that within such a short space of time, demand for water has been reduced through a radical change in behaviour and the augmentation of supply. Through creativity and ingenuity, we need to understand that some have reacted faster than others, resulting in huge gains for them.

The long-term implications of the drought on many businesses and local government are quite considerable, even if one considers only soaring water and sanitation rates. Those who were unable to react will see the financial impact for years to come. One can point to financial ability as a key inhibitor, but the largest differential between the winners and losers will, in my view, be directly related to the quality of the workforce in respective organisations.

Recruiting and building great teams
So, what makes a great team? Great teams are able to spot opportunities in adversity and deliver in ways that give businesses a competitive advantage.

Surrounding yourself with people who can assist you to achieve your vision is vital, thus, as a leader, you need to put in effort where it counts the most: your recruitment process. Search wide, be personally involved, have patience, ensure your process is robust, include a wide range of tests (including psychometrics, communication styles, cultural fit, etc.) and consult before making a decision.

Attitude is the key aspect that you should search for. Another key focus area is ensuring a value fit between the organisation, your team and the individual. People will leave an organisation if its core morals and values are misaligned to their own. The alignment of these values is something that you need to invest time in on a daily basis.

Allow your team to set values together and incorporate discussions on this into your team meetings, empowering everyone to do something when behaviours are misaligned. What I call 'future-proofing' your organisation is one of the areas that you should constantly discuss, measure, plan for and allow to happen. It is these discussions and focus areas that create, and over time, forge overall company culture.

Training and development
Training and development of teams are key components to ensure that skillsets are kept relevant. Enablement of staff comes in two stages: firstly, technology, tools and the physical environment must aid them to perform their work and, secondly, and most importantly, give your staff the opportunity to shine.

After spending time to ensure that you have put together a great team, who are adequately equipped, give them the platform to deliver. For every one disappointment, there will be ten more pleasant surprises. It is extremely rewarding to work in an environment where you are learning, winning and making a noticeable difference. It is an obvious point, but your accessibility as a leader to your team is very important, thus regular discussions (both planned and informal) must be encouraged.

Remember to have fun
Through all of this, remember to have fun. You need to ensure that your team achieves a balance between work and play. Encourage humour and celebrate successes together as a team socially. Regular breaks are needed to recharge and it certainly helps to achieve balance when your work is enjoyable.

I hope that you will join me and my fellow procurement executives in Cape Town as we unpack this topic in even more detail during our panel discussion at the upcoming SmartProcurement World conference in May 2018.

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