Securing supply chain talent: think outside of the box

It happens to all of us at some point… you get all of the way through your recruitment process – the approval to hire, sourcing, interviews, assessments and the offer – only to lose a hard-to-find candidate at the last hurdle.

Such a last-minute loss could be owed to a number of factors: a better offer, a counter-offer, a difference in career path. Irrespective of the reason, it’s frustrating, disheartening and can have real business impact.

As employers, we sometimes forget that recruitment is an audition, both for the prospective employee and for ourselves. And, we don’t always hold all of the cards.

To improve our chances of securing top talent, while minimising the dreaded last-minute offer decline, supply chain recruitment specialist Tech-Pro suggests we focus on the following areas.

Salary and benefits

Even in tight economic conditions, competition for star supply chain talent drives up price. An attractive cost-to-company package remains key to securing top skills. And, while it’s not always possible for smaller players to offer the same kind of benefits that larger, international corporates can, it’s still possible to compete. It just requires careful thought and a bit of ingenuity.

As a start, look at how your cost-to-company package is structured. Could you offer a higher cash portion? Sometimes corporate rules force employees to put a large percentage of their annual package into a pension or provident fund, resulting in lower take-home pay. Smaller employers don’t have the same restrictions.

How you structure contributions to retirement funding and group life/risk benefits can also help, as can allowances for travel (refunds/reimbursements), vehicle insurance, a mobile phone and a canteen/lunch.

Leave is another good option to look into. Are you in a position to offer more generous annual leave, paid maternity leave or study leave? Could you offer flexible working hours, which is a big draw card particularly for parents?

Offering to pay for studies has the added benefit of retaining key skills, if you have a payback clause. Share options or bonus payments, based on performance, are also always attractive.

Supply chain technology trends

Outdated technology can have a negative influence on hiring. Employers who challenge how they do business and strive to remain up-to-date with the latest supply chain technology trends are more likely to attract star talent.

Also important is how your technology facilitates, rather than hinders, work. How much access does staff have to their laptops? Can they upload work apps easily?

Company culture

As David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot, says: “corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur”.

Millennials don’t want to be told that ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Instead, they want a stake in how things are done and seek out forward-thinking, innovative and collaborative corporate cultures with strong, ethical values and a professional and inclusive management style. They want to understand strategy and vision, have the freedom to challenge your thinking and play a real part in your success. If your culture doesn’t allow for this, you may lose them.

Training and development

Clearly mapped-out development goals and growth opportunities are key. As a minimum, paying professional membership fees, subscribing to industry publications, attending supply chain and procurement conferences/events and access to professional/knowledge development short courses and workshops are essential.

However, to stand out, try to offer access to high-level, coveted study programmes, sought-after international conferences or provide study assistance (with work-back periods or pro-rata payback).

The recruitment process itself

If you’ve spent time to ensure that your salary packages are attractive and that your technology, culture and training are up to standard, but you’re still losing or battling to attract talent, you could be experiencing an issue with your recruitment process.

Research indicates that streamlined recruitment processes that are based on specific, detailed job requirements and focus on the quick turnaround of CVs, upfront checking, panel interviews and speedy feedback make a significant difference.

Irrespective of whether a supply chain vacancy is senior or entry-level, if your recruitment process cannot be completed (from first presentation of CV to acceptance of offer) within two to four weeks, you’re likely to lose the candidate that you’re chasing.

Securing top supply chain talent isn’t always easy. But, if you’re creative and willing to look outside of the box, you’ll stand a much better chance.

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