Among Procurement's most persistent challenges, talent management is the subject of countless studies, discussions, and thought leadership publications. Last year's Deloitte CPO survey found that more than half of executives lack confidence in their teams. Low unemployment and increasingly fierce competition between hiring managers only complicate matters further.
Struggling Procurement teams can - perhaps - take some comfort in the fact that they're far from alone. A recent study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Associate of National Advertisers (ANA) suggests that Marketing teams find it equally challenging to secure, inspire, and retain in-house talent.
"Managing In-House Agency Creative" indicates that in-house Marketing teams are more popular than ever. While just 58% of ANA members employed them in 2013, a whopping 90% did so in 2018. Responsible for both digital and traditional media, they provide for a more flexible and strategic approach to Marketing's daily concerns. Organizations often struggle, however, to maximize the efficacy of these teams. According to the survey, 44% of organizations report obstacles to attracting talent and another 63% consider it difficult to energize their existing in-house teams. In addition to testimonials from respondents, ANA offers suggestions for addressing these concerns.
Rising candidate expectations and a record number of job openings mean it's increasingly challenging to stand out from the pack. This is often particularly true when it comes to staffing in-house Marketing teams. ANA encourages organizations to emphasize both the diverse nature and tangible impact of their in-house team's work.
Applicants will naturally feel more attracted to positions that provide an opportunity to work across multiple brands and categories. By promising a diverse workload, organizations can paint a picture of themselves as cutting-edge and exciting places to work. They should also emphasize that in-house teams stand a greater chance of making a tangible impact. "Reinforce," the report advises, "that when working internally, the likelihood of efforts coming to fruition with work actually being produced is much higher than at an external agency." Young candidates, in particular, are eager to make a quick and measurable impact. Organizations would do well to underline each candidate's potential influence whenever possible. Leading organizations will make these arguments both internally and externally.
Attrition can become a major issue for Marketing teams that don't do enough to promote engagement. It's essential, ANA suggests, that organizations present their Marketing resources with a diverse range of projects, a genuinely challenging workload, and ample opportunity to both hone their core competencies and evolve in their role.
Recognition is also crucial for ensuring new and veteran team members approach their day-to-day tasks with enthusiasm. ANA names "employee showcases" as a valuable opportunity. By highlighting exciting project work during company events, Marketing can not only say 'thank you' to its best performers, but also invite individuals from across the company to provide feedback. Additionally, they direct leaders to celebrate major wins with company-wide communications.
A Common Struggle and a Common GoalBoth Procurement and Marketing units are embroiled in periods of transition. Their roles are evolving, their responsibilities are expanding, and their potential to generate value is earning the attention of leaders at the executive level. Though they are not known for their close relationship, a greater degree of strategic alignment is becoming imperative.
Rather than addressing their respective talent management concerns in a vacuum, both units could benefit from aligning their efforts and working together to apply cross-functional best practices across the business. Many of ANA's recommendations could serve Procurement (and other business units) just as well as they serve Marketing. In particular, exposing Procurement resources to a diverse range of projects can keep them engaged and ensure they're functioning at maximum efficiency. Rotational programs are often as especially valuable method for exposing new hires to the full breadth of Procurement's evolving workload.
What is your business doing to address its talent management concerns?