I interviewed Charles Dominick who discussed Procurement Talent Management.




Can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure, Dustin.It's great to speak with you today as well, and thank you very much for this opportunity.Background of myself, for the past 16 years, I have been leading the Next Level Purchasing Association in providing training and certification to procurement departments and procurement professionals throughout the world.


Can you talk about what is procurement talent management about?


Sure, I mean, to concise about it, procurement talent management is recruiting, training, and retaining good folks to conduct procurement activities for an organization.


How is it done effectively?


Well, that is probably an eight-hour conversation in itself, but I'll try to be as concise as possible.And really when I talk about doing procurement talent management well, I like to break it down into those three groups because they're really three different focus areas that require unique approaches.So, first, with recruiting.Recently as we've been evaluating procurement talent management, we've seen kind of a radical new approach emerge.So, there has always been traditional approach to recruiting, where you're looking for procurement professionals who have experience in the industry of your organization, that they had procurement experience, and they had experience buying the same products and services that they would be buying in the hiring company.And that approach, obviously, had its advantages.If someone is loyal to an industry, that's fantastic.You have good chance of having them be excited about the job and staying in the position for a long period of time.There's less risk of mistake if someone has procurement experience.It's one of those fields where you often learn as you go.


There's lots of land mines and so forth that you can run into, so if someone is experienced in procurement, chances are they'll know how to avoid those landmines.And then there's a shorter amount of time to being independent if they've already purchased a category.They don't need to learn who the supply base is.They don't need to learn what countries the suppliers are, the technical differences and stuff.They already know that.


So, the traditional approach was very convenient, but also, in the fast paced business world of today we're looking to our talent to really break through with innovations and new ideas.And the traditional approach didn't always lend itself to that, and combine that with the fact that millennials are entering the workforce, makes this a very interesting time for change.So the radical approach to recruiting procurement talent is where instead of just looking for those characteristics that I described in the traditional approach, now hiring managers putting more emphasis on finding people who have personalities that fit the corporate culture.


People that have influential charisma, since, in many cases, procurement is a center for transformation, and an organization that looks to build consensus, and that they have intellectual potential.You want people, even if they've never had procurement experience, to be able to learn procurement and learn procurement quickly.That's a radical approach that we've seen taken.


But really what I feel that...to do things right you need kind of a hybrid approach between the traditional and the new, radical approach.They're not mutually exclusive.You can find people with the experience you need, with these kind of soft skills and characteristics in the millennial generation that you have.So that's the recruiting piece.In terms of training piece, a key to that is to really have a plan, and we see some organizations struggle with this because in the years past, procurement training was thought of as one day of showing someone how to create a purchase order in the computer system.


Procurement today is much more complex.There's a lot more competencies that someone has to master in order to achieve success.So we recommend having a plan identifying what the competencies that are needed are, identifying what the competencies that the talent has are, and determining a way to fill those gaps.And at the Next Level Purchasing Association, we do provide some tools to help identify those things.


And then finally, the retention model.Basically, as the millennial generation comes in, we're seeing and predicting a very mobile workforce.Folks who don't have necessarily a lot of loyalty to their companies, but people who want to move forward and move forward quickly.A procurement leader has to focus on things like having a compatible culture, or building a compatible culture, that kind of meets the needs of the organization and meets the needs of the talent.A job rotation program is very helpful.Today's millennial generation, they want to feel like they're always advancing, always on the move and maybe you can't promote them to chief procurement officer within a year, but a job rotation keeps them from getting bored in buying the same thing, working with people.


You know, you've got to have a balanced management style.Micromanagement, while in some cases may be necessary here and there, is not a way of doing business 100% of the time.So you've got to find the right balance between empowering management and knowing when that hands on management is required.You also have to focus on helping employees reach their potential.It's not just about getting the organization’s goals met.It's about getting the organization’s goals met by retaining the people and having that continuity of talent so that you can help the employees reach their potential while they're helping new organization reach their potential.


And then just praise is certainly important. People want more from their jobs today than just a paycheck.They want recognition, they want to be able to feel that they're leaving their company at the end of the day feeling good about what they've done and that can be anything from knowing that they've helped their companies to be socially responsible to just being recognized for doing a good job.I know that's a mouthful and a half but those are some keys to really achieving excellence in procurement talent management in 2016 and beyond.


Where have you seen some success?


Well, I don't know I can mention any of our clients' names here, but what I tend to see is a lot of success happening in the mid-market.Small companies obviously don’t have a lot of resources to dedicate to doing talent management in a robust way.And while huge companies, fortune 100 companies, do have those resources, often bringing about change in those organizations is like steering a tanker.It's a very slow process and there's a lot of political hurdles to overcome.Where we see people having the most success at making transformations, and incorporating procurement talent management is a big part of that, is those mid-market companies.Those companies between half a million, or I'm sorry, half a billion and three billion in annual revenue.These organizations have resources to do things right, and they're not so big that it takes an act of congress to make change.So that's we're seeing a lot of good things happening in terms of procurement talent management.


About Charles Dominick




Charles Dominick.jpg


Charles Dominick

Founder, President & Chief Procurement Officer at Next Level Purchasing, Inc.

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