Procurement stands at the brink of a new era. An incoming wave of collaborative, tech-savvy, young professionals promises to drive supply management into an exciting future. Unfortunately, their arrival coincides with the departure of many industry veterans. Within a number of organizations, a shortage (or poor application) of internal resources leaves new hires under-managed.

Mentor programs could be the answer. At their best, they'll benefit upstarts and veterans alike by encouraging collaboration and promoting an open transfer of skills. Source One has helped numerous clients refine their operations by implementing programs for training and mentorship. Check out some of the best practices they've learned over the years.

1. Level Set Across Your Organization 
You can't provide direction to young talent if your mentoring program is directionless. Before attempting to develop a program, ensure Procurement has achieved the executive buy-in necessary to guarantee its long-term survival and success. Develop Procurement's brand within your organization to make sure that leaders believe in its worth and feel compelled to invest in refining its talent pool. Once you've sold leadership on Procurement's considerable strategic value, you shouldn't have trouble encouraging them to invest in maintaining a program that'll ensure its ongoing success.

2. Select the Right Manager
More than ever, Procurement departments require strong, forward-thinking leaders. Selecting the right individual to lead your mentorship program could make the difference in helping generations of incoming talent achieve their full potential and serve your organization as strategic assets for the long-term. While a strong manager won't necessarily mean success, a weak one will almost certainly mean failure. The best leader for these programs will exemplify the qualities that make for success in Procurement. They're agile, innovative, and quick to offer constructive feedback. With this individual in charge, your program will remain effective in the long-term.

3Think Like Marketing
Your efforts to promote the value of a mentorship program should never stop. Getting a program off the ground is just the beginning. Typically, a program's introduction will inspire a great deal of enthusiasm from across Procurement. There is no guarantee, however, that this enthusiasm will last. Procurement will need to think like Marketing to ensure mentors and mentees alike are confident in the importance and strategic value of the program. Don't be afraid to get creative in your efforts to internally promote the program.

4. Stay Flexible
A certain level of structure is necessary for a mentorship program to prove at all successful. The formality and consistency of training, tracking progress, and communicating expectations are essential. That being said, Procurement's ever-evolving needs and responsibilities mean that flexibility is equally important. Consider options for introducing variety. You might offer participants with multiple options for formatting their sessions. Keep your ears open. Let mentors and mentees offer their suggestions, and implement these into the program as possible.

5. Emphasize Successes 
Sometimes members of your Procurement team will need a reminder that their work is paying off. If your mentorship program has proven successful, take care to remind all participants and relevant stakeholders. Broadcasting success stories and recognizing contributions will encourage additional investment moving forward. Knowing that they're on the right track, your team will commit themselves to the program's future success.

Building, optimizing, and maintaining a Procurement mentorship program is hard work. If you're looking for help, consider reaching out to the talent management team at Source One today.
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