In a recent meeting of the Best Practices Xchange, hosted by TMG, top sourcing/supply chain executives gathered to discuss best practices as they relate to talent development in strategic sourcing/supply chain. When the group was asked about the type of competencies required to be "strategic" today, there was overwhelming agreement on the three areas noted above. When asked the question "Are you there yet?", most admitted that they clearly are not, and the challenge of people development is a key issue in this regard.
How to Become "Strategic"
There are four key elements within an effective talent management program that need to be aligned and integrated for success: recruiting, people development, career development and compensation. The one common thread that runs through all these elements is "clearly defined competencies." In recruiting, define the role your recruits will play within your organization and the competencies required to execute that role before you begin hiring people.
In people development, understand the competencies required to be successful within your organization, where your organization is today against those competencies and what the gap is. That competency gap analysis should then drive your training and development programs.
In career development, it is necessary for you and your employees to clearly understand the competencies required to move to the next level, so you can help them get there.
In compensation, most Human Resource departments will need to know the competencies required for a sourcing/supply chain professional, along with the role the new hire will play in order to fairly assess the salary market. In other words, the development of a comprehensive competency model is an absolute necessity in winning the talent management game.
How do you get started in developing a comprehensive competency model? The first step is to identify those technical and functional skills and competencies necessary to function at a world–class level within a strategic sourcing/supply chain environment within your organization. Step two is to evaluate your current organization against that world-class model to identify skill gaps and develop gap closure strategies. The ultimate goal is to enable your sourcing/supply chain organization to realize the full benefits of world-class strategic sourcing by determining the current organizational gaps and developing strategies to close those gaps.
In 2003, FMC Technologies (FMC), working closely with The Mpower Group, started on a multi-year journey to transform its global procurement organization. Randy Ellis, chief information officer and chief procurement officer of FMC, had this to say about developing a world-class organizational competency model for his staff of over 180 procurement professionals: "It raises the bar. It's a big change for us as we continue to transform procurement from tactical to strategic. I'm looking to set a standard for a higher level of performance."
Here is the process TMG utilized when working with FMC:View Process
A competency model is developed from a number of inputs, including the executive's vision, employee job analysis interviews, interviews of key strategic sourcing customers, current job profiles and extensive research of world-class sourcing competency models. The model is very detailed, generally covering seven to 10 competencies, like change management, supply chain management and IT, across four different proficiency levels (foundation, intermediate, advanced and mastery). The model should be defined by behaviors to make it practical and usable.
The single biggest challenge is ensuring that your competency model reflects the evolving and more strategic role of your organization. Process skills are no longer enough for sourcing/supply chain professionals to be successful.
Once your competency model is complete, it is critical to assess where your current organization is against the model. If your competency model is effective, there will certainly be a gap, which is okay because building a sustainable, strategic, world-class organization cannot and will not happen overnight. The point is to have stretch goals for each individual and the organization to work toward and to have a well-defined model to drive every aspect of your talent management program.