Procurement has transformed from a tactical to a strategic function and perception has played a major role in ensuring this transformation. Besides becoming a strategic partner to internal stakeholders, many procurement departments are also looking to attract the best talent to fill supply chain jobs and roles.

If you are a procurement manager and looking to attract in-house and external talent, here are a few things you can do to improve the perception of procurement. These points should help you to ensure that procurement is no longer considered merely as a cost-saving function.

  1. Develop better listening skills

As a procurement professional, it is important that you listen to and understand what internal stakeholders, customers and suppliers expect from procurement. It is quite common that procurement teams complete projects without having the full knowledge and information of every party involved. By getting details from internal stakeholders, you can meet everyone’s expectations and secure the best possible deals.

  1. Encourage innovation

Talented professionals will always come with a fresh perspective and ideas. If you want to retain and attract talent, you need to keep an ear out for innovative ideas. It is quite possible that you will be able to incorporate many ideas to improve the sourcing process at multiple levels. Whether it is incorporating new technologies or merely tweaking an existing process, be open to suggestions and ideas.

  1. Opt for sustainable goals

Going green does not necessarily mean increased costs. Instead, look for ways to eliminate waste, find ways to reduce the cost of utilities and minimise packaging. These are sustainable goals that procurement can take up and spearhead. If your company does not have a sustainability strategy, this is the perfect opportunity to start one and contribute meaningfully to the organisation as a whole.

  1. Speak in the language of the stakeholders

Procurement professionals have the uncanny knack of using expressions like SRM and strategic sourcing. However, internal customers will not understand this jargon. If you’re speaking to other departments, you need to speak in ways that they will understand while showing them that you know their domain and have the knowledge to dispense advice. If you can do this, they are more likely to listen to you and take your suggestions.

Procurement can attract and retain talent by becoming a strategic sourcing partner to internal customers. However, for this to happen, you have to work to improve perceptions and remove obstacles to optimal functioning.

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