Tips for Retaining Your Superheroes

Purchasing leaders, your staff has a lot of job options.  We surveyed Detroit-area purchasing professionals and found that on average, they are being contacted by recruiters more than 7 times per month.  That’s nearly twice a week!  And the folks most in demand, the top 10%, reported they are contacted every day.

Here are the stats:  We surveyed 185 local purchasing professionals to find out just how often they are contacted by recruiters.  90% said at least once a month, with the average of all responses coming in at 7.6 times per month.

We also looked at the prevalence of job postings on LinkedIn and Indeed.  There are hundreds of purchasing-related jobs in the Detroit area – 219 on Indeed and 119 on LinkedIn (July 7, 2016).  There’s no question that anyone working in purchasing has a lot of career options.

Retention: Half the Battle

Filling open positions on your team is half the challenge, the other half is retaining the top performers you already have.  As part of our survey, we asked purchasing professionals how concerned they are in their current position.  The top four responses (percent of responses “concerned” or “very concerned”):

  • Management’s recognition of employee job performance (52%)
  • Overall corporate culture (50%)
  • Meaningfulness of job (45%)
  • Opportunities to use skills and abilities (45%)

Here are four things you can – and should – do to keep your top performers from leaving.

  1. Systematically recognize employee job performance

In addition to the company performance management systems that you are obligated to implement, find additional ways to recognize job performance and systemize them.  Carve out time for 1-on-1’s, Management-By-Walking-Around, and give a little extra attention when delegating to “set them up for success.”

  1. Create a positive team culture

Even if your corporate culture leaves something to be desired, you have the ability as a leader to create a team atmosphere that is both high-performing and highly rewarding.  The number one source of job stress is unclear expectations, so start by ensuring everyone knows what is expected of them.  Recognize that your behavior sets the tone for your group, so make the effort to engage with your staff and bring the positive attitude you want them to exhibit.

  1. Make work more meaningful for your team

Every job has wasteful tasks that take time away from more fulfilling work.  Become a champion for workplace improvement by identifying those non-value added tasks and eliminating as many as possible.  Investigate using interns or procurement-as-a-service to unload transactional tasks from your team.

  1. Customize assignments for your team

Interview your staff to find out what they get excited about, and things they dread.  You need to develop an inventory for each person – some people get a charge out of delivering a report to the CEO, others would rather die.

Pay is Still Important

It turns out that the majority of local purchasing professionals feel their pay is competitive.  When asked in our survey “Do you believe your current compensation is competitive in your industry, given your skills and experience?”, 61% said yes and 39% responded no.  You need to ensure that your top performers are fairly compensated, but pay generally doesn’t appear to be a burning platform to motivate most purchasing professionals to change jobs.

However, increased compensation is a giant issue when you are recruiting purchasing professionals.  “Better compensation” was the #1 item for our survey takers when asked, “What is important to you personally as you consider a new job?”

Download our white paper “Win the Talent War to Build a High Performing Purchasing Team” for further insights into what purchasing professionals want in their next job – and in their current position.