Procurement professionals aren't lacking for things to fret over. Extreme weather, geopolitical tensions, trade restrictions, and the threat of sudden data breaches all mean that very few links in the supply chain are ever totally secure.

The greatest threat facing Procurement, however, may be something else entirely, something that doesn't look at all sinister on paper. Unemployment is at a near-record low. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, businesses are currently struggling to fill a whopping 6.7 million open positions. This all-time high figure reflects the negative side of this seemingly positive situation.

With few unemployed Procurement resources to choose from, large businesses are taking an aggressive approach to poaching their competitors' top performers. Discussing Amazon's hunt for leading talent, TYGES' Nick Lazzara and Naseem Malik write, "If you think you're safe as an employer, think again." Though go on to emphasize that Amazon is far from alone. Business behemoths like Wal-Mart, Google, and Apple have also made it clear that they will go to great lengths to secure top supply chain talent.

Competitors could be scoping out your star players at this very moment. Few organizations can rival the blue chip employers when it comes to name recognition or compensation, but that doesn't mean a small or mid-sized Procurement team should give up hope. Top Procurement professionals are motivated to succeed by unique benefits and incentives. Organizations need to identify the mix of recognition, reward, and responsibility that will not only motivate leaders to produce results, but also encourage dissuade them from seeking opportunity elsewhere.

Check out some of Source One's tips for retaining top Procurement professionals.

1. Take an Interest
Salary is an important factor in gaining employee loyalty, but a 2017 Gallup poll suggests it's not the most important one. 32% of respondents cited a lack if of "career advancement/promotional opportunities" as their primary motivation for jumping ship. Top-performing individuals are hungry for opportunity and eager to rise through the ranks. It's not surprising that they'll walk when these aren't readily available. Take the time to develop clear, realistic, and sustainable growth plans with your leading performers' input. Include clear milestones and supplement the process with regular assessments. Ensure these assessments are honest, transparent, and constructive. You'll likely find that top performers take notice of your engagement in them. In all likelihood, they'll repay you with a greater engagement in the business.

2. Pair them with Other Leaders
Leading Procurement professionals will feel motivated, engaged, and accountable if you surround them with their peers in excellence. Build this positive atmosphere by pairing your top performers with mentors within the organization. This'll promote open communication and allow for a valuable, mutually beneficial knowledge transfer. In time, your rising stars will mature into mentor roles of their own. The opportunity to engage with their peers in this way will ensure they remain engaged and help establish a system passing down Procurement best practices.

3. Know When to Step Back
Hands-on talent management is essential to ensure your Procurement leaders achieve their full potential. That being said, nobody likes a micro-manager. Top performers, in particular, find them stifling and unnecessary. It's important that managers recognize what their best employees can teach them about Procurement and Supply Chain Management. Instead of interfering in day-to-day tasks, managers should step back and observe their most effective team members at work. The best Procurement professionals earned that stature through uniquely efficient and effective processes. Wherever possible, managers should look for opportunities to leverage these processes to serve the organization as a whole.

Need help recruiting, training, or retaining top Procurement talent. Reach out to Source One's supply chain staffing experts today.
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