As a boutique recruitment agency, we at Argentus are on the front-lines of the churn in the job market. We speak with potential job candidates every day. Some of them are passive, interested in moving into new opportunities when we reach out to them. Some of them are active, reaching out to us because they want to make a move. With the economy experiencing a prolonged growth spurt, and demand for professionals in Supply Chain Management and Procurement – our area of specialty – going up, there’s a lot of activity, especially in short-term contracts where companies are onboarding talent for their change management and business transformation expertise.
There are so many reasons why people seek out a new job. Sometimes it’s based on major life changes: a geographical move, say, or someone getting back into the workforce after a maternity leave. But why do passive candidates seek out new jobs, particularly in Supply Chain and Procurement?
We speak to a lot of candidates, so we have our ears to the ground in terms of the subtler reasons that star performers in these functions get the desire to make a move. It’s not out of a desire for more money as often as you might think. More often than not, it’s the more intangible factors.
Because employee retention is so important from a cost-saving and culture standpoint, we thought it would be useful to lay out some of the most common reasons why Supply Chain and Procurement professionals become passive candidates:
1. They’re Siloed
We hear this reason a lot from candidates, but it still isn’t considered by companies as much as it should be. We know that one of the best ways to grow your Supply Chain career is to gain exposure to diverse parts of the function – from Logistics and Distribution, to Procurement, to Inventory Management, to Planning.
In too many organizations, these functions are siloed off from each-other, and that stops candidates from getting the experience they want to move up into more senior roles. It also stops the Supply Chain from being as effective as it would be if it was fully integrated. Next thing you know, your top performers are taking calls because they don’t want to be pigeonholed.
2. They’re Tired of Working With Outdated Technology
Supply Chain and Procurement technology is becoming more digital, just like the rest of the economy. And updating your technological profile can be a massive undertaking, with lots of risks. But the most forward-looking and high-potential candidates want to be working with the latest Supply Chain technology, keeping their skills relevant for the future. If you’re still working only with Excel, you might risk losing candidates to companies that have taken the plunge and invested in continuing technological improvement.
3. They’re Not Getting Support from Senior Leadership
As we wrote about recently – and we received a ton of feedback on that piece – ineffective leadership in Procurement and Supply Chain can have huge ramifications all the way down a business. If leadership doesn’t have the people skills to help build buy-in for the function across the business, if they micromanage instead of letting managers and sole contributors shine, those people are going to start picking up the phone when a recruiter calls. But it goes upward too: effective leaders in Procurement and Supply Chain will get the itch to move if they don’t have support from C-level executives in a business.
4. Work/Life Balance Isn’t Up to Snuff
Work/life balance is a hot topic in the talent world, to the point of being a cliché, but it’s worth mentioning: people who don’t have support from a work/life balance perspective will start to seek companies that have work from home policies, flexible schedules, educational opportunities, and other benefits. In 2018, companies can no longer see these programs as “perks” or “throw-ins.” Having solid, articulated work/life balance policies is vital to winning the war for talent.
5. They’re Uninspired in the Workplace
While Supply Chain and Procurement have historically been seen as “dry” functions, this reputation is changing fast. With the rise of digitization and globalization, they’re becoming more fast-paced, with more strategic potential and impact on a business’ long-term structure and profitability. But some companies still treat their Supply Chain and Procurement employees as purely transactional workers whose jobs are only to fill out orders and put out day-to-day fires. If you’re not being strategic, or not offering opportunities for advancement into more strategic positions, your best Supply Chain employees will, quite frankly, get bored and leave.
6. They’re Realizing How in-Demand They Are
As we’ve written about a lot, the retirement of the baby boomer generation as well as greater expectations placed on Procurement and Supply Chain are creating a deficit of talent in the marketplace. With the economy approaching full employment in 2018, this is even truer than it was before. But many companies still aren’t realizing the huge demand for Supply Chain and Procurement talent in this marketplace. Too many companies still have assume their employees are “just happy to have a job,” but take it from us as a company that speaks with dozens of candidates in the field every day: they’re realizing their worth, and fielding opportunities to meet their full potential. If your company isn’t providing those opportunities, they’ll go somewhere that does.
Sometimes it’s a combination of the above factors that causes a top performer to want to leave, and sometimes it’s even other factors we haven’t mentioned. So what does your organization do to retain star performers? As a candidate, have you ever left a role for one of the above reasons, or another that we missed? Let us know in the comments!