Procurement departments are dealing with two key pressure points right now. The first one is a skills shortage, which is hurting industries the world over. The second is the pandemic, which has placed more demand on procurement officers than ever before. The fact is, more is being demanded from fewer, and the few need to level up.
A recent McKinsey survey found that 87% of companies are either experiencing skills gaps right now or expect to within the next five years. Many of these companies believe the most effective method of addressing these gaps is through skill building, as opposed to contracting or redeploying. The problem is that many organisations find capability-building programs regularly fail to deliver.
Why? They don’t target the specific gaps.
Why can capability-building programs fail?
Skilling up an employee is generally more economical than replacing them – if, of course, the skilling up works. The problem with many capability-building endeavours is that they take the scattergun approach; instead of addressing the specific skills gaps of the individual, they instead address a broad range of capabilities relevant to the role.
There are two problems with this. One, it obviously takes longer; if a skills building program is to address all areas of a particular job role, then it will consume more time than a program designed to fill only the gaps. Not only will it cost more, but it will also take the employee longer to skill up. Secondly, a program that covers ground the employee is already adept at has a high chance of losing their interest. Engagement is a core attribute of a capability-building program and they should be designed around this principle.
Know which areas to target
A lot of skills fall under the procurement umbrella: strategy development, opportunity analysis, market engagement, strategy refresh… It’s a lot of areas to cover and, with more expected from fewer personnel in procurement departments around the world, it’s understandable that skill shortages are becoming more apparent. The problem for a lot of organisations is identifying where exactly the gaps lie.
Before embarking on a professional development program, it’s imperative that organisation’s run their employees through a training needs analysis. Know the areas to target so that you avoid the scattergun approach and drill into the areas that need improvement. Workers are far more engaged with the programs that they feel are making them a better procurement officer.
There are two reasons why getting a third party to run a skills assessment is a good idea. Firstly, uncovering skill gaps is, frankly, a skill in itself. Not only will you be able to take advantage of programs that have been tried and tested, you’ll also have access to industry benchmarking. A third party that focuses on skills assessments has better awareness of an industry’s expected performance levels, so you’ll know exactly where your workers sit within the procurement landscape.
Also, it’s fair to the employee. Using a third party to run the skills assessment removes any notion of bias (real or imaginary).
Skills Gap Analysis can streamline your professional development
Procurement is operating in a shifting landscape and those working within it need to be more skilled than ever. Professional development programs have to be efficient, and the only way to achieve this is by focusing them on the areas that actually need development.
Skills Gap Analysis offers a procurement skills self-assessment program that examines the eight dimensions of procurement, mapping the skills of your employees and efficiently identifying the gaps most in need of addressing. It reports on a range of technical competencies, highlighting areas of strength and areas of developmental opportunity. Providing a set of 70:20:10 recommendations, you will be armed with a list of development priorities, allowing for the implementation of a professional development program that targets specific areas.