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It’s not easy attracting and retaining talent in the procurement world. In fact, it’s downright difficult if you’re not an internationally renowned brand. Not to mention the ongoing confusion about what matters most to different generations of job-seekers continues to plague employers. To overcome these obstacles and find and keep the best talent, it’s a matter of adopting the mantra “It’s not what employees can do for your company, but what your company can do for employees.”

This may seem like airy-fairy, snowflake talk, but the essence of what every worker wants remains evergreen: purpose, values, job security, opportunity and fair pay. Let’s go into these in more detail.

Purpose

This may sound like something Millennials introduced into the job-market lexicon, but the truth is that employees of all ages and backgrounds work more productively and effectively when they’re passionate about what they do. They don’t have to be saving lives, but feeling like they have the ability to solve problems and contribute to the team/company attracts candidates and creates career fulfillment.

Tip: be thorough when outlining the job description and then highlight the areas, projects and goals this position will be working on/towards when drafting the job posting, which will then spotlight the purpose they’ll find in the role.

Values

When it comes to talent, the word “best” is relative. Being the best employee doesn’t necessarily mean being the most experienced, highest performing or most educated person; it means finding the best person for the individual company and its needs. To accomplish this, you and the employee must have shared values. An alignment of such values facilitates a harmonious work environment, one in which the employee will feel happiest sticking around for a while, and a more seamless transition into the role.

Tip: when considering the best candidate for the position, go beyond abilities to accomplish day-to-day tasks and look at the candidate’s characteristics and values. Maybe their qualifications don’t check every box, but their attitude and principles are ones that would be of value to the team and role over time. Additionally, share your values upfront in the job description, so you can attract appropriate candidates from the start.

Job Security

It may seem like a no-brainer that every employee wants to know that they can count on coming to work tomorrow, but when it comes to procurement professionals, they also want assurance that their role won’t become stagnant. Most employees want a clear trajectory, with the ability to shine and be recognized on merit. The opportunity for career growth is attractive for prospective applicants and motivation that drives retention.

Tip: be willing to discuss opportunities and career growth with serious candidates. Additionally, before a new hire begins, consider developing a succession plan so the path to promotion is clear.

Opportunity

Beyond job security, employees are attracted to a leadership fast-track for high performers and the training and support needed to succeed. This will create an environment where talent knows its worth. Showing that your company is willing to invest in its staff is very attractive to prospective employees because those who are driven within their field will seek out opportunities to acquire new skills and grow.

Tip: have case studies readily available during interviews that illustrate how individuals quickly climbed the ranks and what resources the company provided to help them get there.

Fair Pay

Here’s the ugly truth: if an employee is deciding between your company or another, the chances are they’ll likely go with the one offering the highest wage. That’s why it’s always important to know the average industry wage and offer a competitive salary. If you can’t match the salary of your competitors, then look for other incentives, like employee benefits and rewards, that will still be attractive to applicants.

Tip: this is another area where purpose, values, job security and opportunities can come into play; such intangibles may be an appealing part of the mix that your company is offering. Identify what your company provides in the day-to-day work environment that other companies don’t.


A relationship is give and take. Putting yourself in the employee’s shoes will help you set the foundation for a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship with satisfied employees. And by incorporating these five factors into your hiring process, you’ll get off on the right foot, attracting appropriate candidates and finding the best fit for your company.

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