Position Your Talent as Your No. 1 Market Differentiator

Retaining strong talent is among the biggest concerns amongst end users in the global supply chain today across all industries. It’s a topic that resonated strong at SIG’s Global Sourcing Summit this past May, held at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island, Fla. This month, we caught up with Dawn Tiura Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer of SIG to uncover why this is such a topic of concern today; what challenges SIG’s members face as they work to address them; and what is on the forefront for SIG in helping its members retain top talent.

SDCE: Strong talent retention was an important topic for your members at your semi-annual SIG Global Summits last year. Was that still a top area of concern for this year’s spring event or were there other key topics that resonated more concern?

Evans: Talent management and talent acquisition are still huge topics today. There’s discussion in the industry that the workforce—domestically if not internationally—will be 50 percent contingent by 2020. So there is a lot of questioning around ‘Could that possibly be true?’ Beyond that, it’s really more about the logistics. ‘Where are we going to find the right people? How are we going to deal with contingent workforce? And how are we going to deal with so many people that want to work remotely, with the new generation coming into the workforce?’ A lot of generation X and Y want to be more mobile. So the question becomes, ‘Is it better to have a person like that who really is a rock star? Or is it better to have a solid employee who will show up in your office on time and be available for face-to-face interaction?’

SDCE: What are some of the ways that your members are addressing their workforce issues? Are there certain talent service platforms that they are using?

Evans: The technology is going to come more from the vendor management service (VMS) providers than companies are going to develop internally. If you take your contingent workforce—whether it be your independent contractors, your consultants or your outsourced employees—there are very few companies that have their arms around how many people on any given day are actually working for the company. A lot of folks have been surprised at the number of contingent workforce individuals that are working for their company on a day-to-day basis. That is where a lot of the VMS type of suppliers have a big play, as they come up with technology to capture all that—to manage these contracts; to identify the employees and how long they have been employed within your firm; and to identify where there is risk.

SDCE: So what is the first step to addressing the workforce issues?

Evans: You want to retain the talent you have but first you need to know who is working for you. This is a procurement imperative but HR also has to get their arms around it. Otherwise, you can’t reward and retain top talent. So for attracting and retaining the right talent to work properly—it can’t be done single-handedly in the supply chain. The rest of the company must stand up and get behind the person driving the effort to change this. And that is the biggest issue.

SDCE: What new initiatives is SIG rolling out this year to help its members address their talent retention challenges?

Evans: We have a “Peer to Peer” (P2P) program which is an actual, live discussion around commodities, processes, technologies and many other issues. In addition to that, we’re enhancing our SIG Resource Center.

For the full discussion, visit www.sdcexec.com.