Acquiring and Developing Talent

The corporate procurement department’s role has increased markedly over the past several years. The procurement officer can note this change through an increased budget, more involvement in other areas of the business and the department’s heightened impact in larger and more strategic decisions. However, procurement departments still experience a talent gap. Indeed, over a quarter of procurement officers in the recent Consero survey identified talent development and retention as their top priority for the next 12 months. The talent gap adversely impacts the procurement office, catalyzing issues in other departments. A strong pool of talent in the procurement office can stem these problems. In order to develop this pool, procurement officers need to argue why the right talent costs more. Specifically, these executives ought to show the marginal return of each additional employee and use success stories from the company to demonstrate the positive impact of talent investments. Lastly, procurement officers also need to take an active role in grooming their talent.

Talent Acquisition, Addressing Concerns

Getting the support to hire additional employees may seem unlikely for your department, especially if your budget is already stretched thin. As such, it is important to speak the financial language when making a case for a new employee with the company’s finance function and others. Specify the particular role of the potential hire, and show the expected marginal return in dollar terms.

Show the expected marginal return in dollar terms.

As an example, hiring someone who is an expert in cost savings through sustainable innovation, and explaining in the detail the anticipated financial benefit, can help crystallize the compelling rationale for that new hire.

For additional objective support, consider searching outside of the company for salary and other compensation data for employees like the one you are considering. Showing that your proposed hire is a bargain not only improves the odds that you can make the hire but builds trust among your peers that you are squarely focused on the bottom line. In building support for a new hire, don’t hesitate to find and tout success stories relating to other hires in the procurement operation or other parts of the business. Highlighting examples in which a risky hire provided substantial dividends may be your best ally in advocating for new staff. Nothing builds confidence in the recruitment context like proof that a particular hiring plan has worked before.

Augmenting The Talent

If the procurement officer is successful in finding new talent, the next most important step is keeping and developing the talent. Procurement executives may benefit from becoming a procurement “coach.” A strong coach needs to develop customized goals with every hire. The goals can be professional and personal. Showcasing interest in the development of the new hire can increase productivity. This interest should extend to empathy, as well. In the modern world, people’s lives are increasingly chaotic. Being sympathetic and flexible with personal issues will create a strong culture in your procurement office, compelling new hires to stay and develop their talents.


In the end, investing in a strong procurement team is an important step in helping take a sophisticated business to the next level. Smart procurement officers recognize the importance of hiring a capable team. And if these procurement leaders can ensure team longevity, then their hires are sure to prove beneficial.