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5 steps to building high-performing procurement teams

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James Tucker talent, career, 1st executive...

High-performing procurement functions have helped businesses build resiliency, gain a competitive edge and boost performance during periods of change, instability, and transformation. Coming to the fore of business operations, senior procurement officers and managers are challenged with maintaining high levels of productivity in their teams as procurement takes on a more strategic role in organisations across the globe.  
 
Organising a high-performing, cross-functional procurement team seldom comes easy. So as the procurement function evolves and adds increasing value to an organisation, procurement leaders should seize this momentum by re-evaluating the functionality of their teams to drive results. We’ve compiled five steps to building a procurement team fit for the future, discussing the key elements that contribute to high-performance, the benefits of hiring for cultural fit, as well as the importance of building a diverse, multigenerational team below.  
 
What makes a high-performing team in procurement?
Every procurement team is different, though there are several factors that can contribute to high-performance. Procurement leaders should invest in hiring, training, nurturing and quickly promoting high-potential talent if they wish to drive long-term success. In an increasingly competitive environment, not only is it important to create a talent pipeline with an agile and efficient hiring process, existing talent must also feel valued, nurtured and presented with progression opportunities if you wish to hold onto your best. 
 
Other factors that can contribute to the creation of a high-performing team in procurement include a good organisation strategy, hiring for cultural fit, diverse and inclusive teams, and engendering drive and motivation to achieve a shared company goal.
 
The importance of cultural fit in the workplace
Cultural fit is more than just whether someone is a good fit for the job, it's also about whether they will be a good fit for the company's values, mission, and goals. As a result, consideration of cultural fit should be a key part of any hiring decision when growing your procurement team.
 
The benefits of hiring employees who are a good cultural fit are numerous. For example, they are more likely to be engaged with their work and loyal to the company. They are also more likely to be collaborative and supportive of their co-workers. All these factors contribute to a positive and productive work environment.
 
How to build a high-performing team in procurement 
 
1. Focus on attracting the new generation
While having experienced staff on your procurement team is advantageous, the performance benefits of having a multigenerational workforce shouldn’t be ignored. Benefits include access to multiple perspectives and problem-solving abilities, enhanced creativity and innovation. 
 
When growing your team, transformative procurement leaders should hire new talent with well-developed business or functional expertise, digital literacy, relationship management and/ or strong problem-solving skills, rather than purely seeking years of procurement experience.
 
2. Hire for diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are crucial in modern procurement teams, especially when it comes to workplace culture. Not only does it give you an edge when hiring young talent, it boosts your diversity of thought and brings fresh perspectives, insights and experiences to the table. 
 
3. Prioritise leadership skills
The role of the procurement leader is one that is constantly changing. That’s why having a strong, flexible leader to lead from the front, no matter the shift in the industry, is crucial to ensuring high performance across the board. 
 
Chief procurement officers and managers should prioritise knowledge transfer, teaching the procurement leaders of tomorrow new areas of business. From relationship building, account management knowledge and change management skills, future leaders should broaden their knowledge so they can fulfil the wider mission of procurement.  
 
4. Don’t forget internal training
Thanks to the adoption of new technologies, increased use of digitalisation, and evolving industry practices, ongoing professional development for procurement staff is fundamental if your business wishes to stay competitive in an ever-changing world. 
 
As the procurement function changes, procurement teams should focus on staying on top of industry trends, digital technology, and AI for continual learning, development and business evolution. 
 
5. Offer flexible working arrangements
To maximise the productivity of your procurement staff, your business should start offering flexible working arrangements that suit the individual. Allowing your procurement staff to have a choice as far as their working arrangements are concerned will make them appreciative, resulting in higher employee satisfaction and increased output.
 
It’s important to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sustainable and not offering flexible working arrangements may prompt some of your workforce to leave for competitors who offer hybrid working. 
 
Build high-performing procurement teams with 1st Executive
 
If you’re looking to maximise the performance of your procurement team by hiring new talent, 1st Executive can help. We have exclusive relationships with the upper quartile of procurement professionals and can leverage our deep networks to find you the right fit for your organisation. Get in touch to discuss your hiring needs and learn how we can add value to your talent strategy.