Retaining Supply Chain Talent

Supply chain talent isn’t something that’s easy to come by. Recruiting, interviewing, selecting and securing the right candidate with the right skill set is an involved process that only those within the supply chain, logistics, and distribution disciplines can understand, and working with the right recruitment agency can be the best way to fill your positions.

The best candidates in the profession need to have the knowledge, skills, personality traits and expertise to understand their position. When you find fantastic individuals to fill your most important positions, you won’t want to lose them. To ensure that you retain talented employees you need to provide an environment and perform tasks to make sure you retain your supply chain talent.

One of the best ways to promote growth in your supply chain discipline is by retaining your talent and fostering lasting relationships with those who work to help your business thrive. Retaining your talent is essential in all industries now more than ever, as companies nationwide see more candidates leaving their jobs in search of new opportunities. The existing talent shortage in the supply chain discipline makes retention even more crucial.

Give your supply chain discipline a competitive edge by creating a positive work environment that gives your talent many reasons to stay and grow with the company.

Attracting Supply Chain Talent: What Do Managers and Executives Want?

To find supply chain talent and attract them to your company, you must offer talent what they are looking for in their work environment, salary and benefits.

Millennials, the demographic born from 1980 to 1996 are now entering the management level at many organizations. These millennials seek different employment benefits than their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. A Gallup poll indicates Millennials want good jobs to be sure, but they also want jobs that they feel engaged in and that offer benefits that help keep them fit, a sense of community, and a workplace that provides a sense of well-being.

Compared to Gen Xers, who seek advancement opportunities and strong retirement packages, millennials need a different benefit package to attract and keep them working in supply chain executive jobs.

As you consider how to find supply chain talent, take into account the current job title, salary and benefits packages your company offers. Adjustments may make it more appealing to executives and rising stars you wish to attract from other companies. It’s all about using the right lure to catch the right fish, or having a desirable salary and benefits package to “catch” the right supply chain executives.

Are You Promoting Your Workplace?

Another bit of preparatory work you may wish to tackle before recruiting new talent into open supply chain jobs is branding and promoting your workplace as a desirable environment. Companies often forget potential candidates will search information about the workplaces they’re considering just as companies search for information online about candidates. What candidates find about your workplace speaks volumes.

Companies with a positive corporate culture, satisfied workers, and opportunities for growth and advancement should make an effort to cultivate a positive image online. Social media, branding and reputation management services may be needed to ensure candidates see what a great place your company is to work.

Finding Supply Chain Candidates

Finding supply chain candidates is a five-step process that begins internally before reaching out into the world for talent.

1. Identifying and Documenting the Position

It’s important to build a written job description for any position you are hiring for and update it before you begin the recruitment process. A written job description includes:

  • The title
  • Who the position reports to
  • Where it fits into the organization
  • The skills, degree or education requirement
  • Other background required for the job

This information should be reviewed and updated annually and kept on file with both the department manager and HR. Having a written job description takes much of the guesswork out of the hiring process. You’ll be able to quickly and easily identify whether a position is entry level or experienced, for example, and can then determine whether recruiting on your own is feasible or whether you need a supply chain recruitment specialist by your side.

2. Advertising Internally

Consider advertising open supply chain positions within your company first to promote from within the organization. Promoting people from your organization offers several benefits:

  • First, it gives people a sense the company values hard work and rewards it with promotions.
  • Second, it encourages people to think of your company as providing a career instead of a job, which may reduce turnover.
  • Third, it reduces onboarding time, since you can promote into the executive suite from within your company and hire lower-level workers to fill the vacancies left by promoting someone from within.

3. Networking With Other Organizations

Networking and recruiting are ongoing processes. You should always be networking and connecting with others to find talented supply chain personnel even when you do not have a vacancy. This activity ensures when you do have an opening, you’ll already have people in your network who may be interested and available. Supply chain organizations, alumni groups, local business groups and other business networking organizations both online and locally provide excellent places to find your next supply chain talent. If you find your networking is coming up short, turning to a specialized supply chain recruiter is a great next step. Supply chain recruiters have huge networks to help you find top talent for your company.

4. Seeking University Partnerships

Another often-unexplored possibility is a partnership with your local university or college business department. Colleges and universities like to help graduates and alumni with placement, and having a connection and partnership with local businesses seeking supply chain talent is a great way for them to help their graduates find employment. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that can help you find supply chain talent.

5. Thinking Keywords

Whether you’re working with a supply chain recruiting firm or placing advertisements on your own, think keywords, those phrases people search for when they turn to the internet for information. Almost every job site, recruiting firm and employment database uses keyword phrases to match candidate resumes with open positions. Scour your job placement advertisements to ensure they hit the top potentially searched phrases as quickly as possible. Using the correct terminology can make all the difference and a supply chain consulting company can help you choose the proper language to find the right talent for your open position.

Finding Supply Chain Executives Who Fit Your Company

Making sure potential candidates are a great fit for your organization starts with a written job description and an honest appraisal of your corporate culture. There are several techniques beyond scanning resumes that can help you ensure a candidate is a good fit for the job.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions yield detailed answers, not a yes/no response. Listening to the response from open-ended questions can provide important insights. When listening to the responses to open-ended questions, the tone and style of the response may indicate even more of the candidate’s fit than the answer itself.

A fast-paced corporate culture may be a great fit for an aggressive, dominant personality, while someone who is reserved and on the quiet side may fit well with a traditional corporate culture. Open-ended questions can help you get to the heart of someone’s personality more quickly than simply scanning resumes.

Many companies can struggle to ask the right questions. A supply chain recruiter will question talent prior to them meeting with your company to ensure they are a good match for you. This saves you the time of creating the perfect questions.

Introduce Them to the Team

Bring potential supply chain executives into the business and let them meet and mingle with the teams they’ll be working with and managing. Watch how they interact with others and feel the pulse of the workplace to see how well they will fit in with the group. After the interview is over, take the teams aside and ask for their feedback on the candidate. Typically, teams are one of the best judges of how well an executive will fit into the organization. They can sense if someone will fit in well or not.

Listen for Hints

Ask for examples of how they would solve potential supply chain and logistics problems in your company. Listen to their answers. Within these answers are hints of how well they will fit in with your company. Look for approaches that are analogous in style to the approaches of your current senior leadership. Someone who mirrors such an approach is more likely to fit in and less likely to ruffle feathers.

Look for an Understanding of Your Company

Also within the answers to the open-ended questions and during discussions with candidates will be an assessment of how well a candidate has studied and understood your company. Candidates should take time to research potential workplaces and get to know them through readily available public information.

Are They Consistent?

A candidate’s resume relates more than a work history. It also demonstrates consistency or lack thereof. Look for someone who remains in one position for one or more years, without unexplained gaps in their work history.

These tips offer a simplistic way of measuring a candidate’s fit with your company. The ultimate test is watching candidates interact with your staff. During a tour of the company, notice how the candidate greets others, how they mingle and interact with teams. You’ll get a gut sense of how well they fit in with your company.

How to Find Supply Chain Candidates: What Are Candidates Looking For?

As you seek top talent for your company, top talent is also seeking great companies to work for, and you want to be at the top of their list, too. But what you think may attract the best and brightest supply chain executives may be different than what they want.

Yes, a good salary is important. It is also important to offer a comprehensive benefits plan that includes medical coverage and possibly dental and vision coverage, retirement savings plans and other perks.

In addition to these benefits, paid time off, including vacation time, sick time and personal days, are important. Offering a flexible work environment where people can adjust their hours to take time off to care for sick family members, generous parental leave policies, and work-from-home policies are also important.

Not every job may fit these categories — a supervisor may be unable to work from home since their job requires them to be on site at the warehouse every day. But when jobs do lend themselves to more flexible working arrangements, companies that allow talent the latitude to work from home get higher marks.

Other items that attract top talent include the following.

Reduce Bureaucracy

Leaders in the supply chain discipline tend to be self-motivated, hard-working people. They dislike navigating complex bureaucracies and complicated hierarchies within companies. A streamlined work environment that makes it easy to get your job done is important to top talent.

Have Room for Advancement

Promoting from within and offering a clear pathway to leadership is another way to attract the best supply chain talent. When people view their jobs as a career rather than a paycheck, they are more likely to become invested in the company’s success. Turnover lowers, and the work environment improves. Rewarding people through promotions, lateral moves, and other benefits sends a strong signal to potential candidates that the company is a great place to work.

Education Benefits

Companies that value their people also believe in advanced and continuing education. Education benefits may include professional development credits, which can be applied toward certificate courses, conferences or other advanced training opportunities, or full reimbursement for job-related post-graduate degrees.

Offer a Good Safety Record

For companies in the distribution or manufacturing side of the supply chain, a good safety record is also attractive. It tells candidates you care about their well-being.

How to Retain Supply Chain Employees

  • Foster Connections

One easy way to help your talent become more integrated into your business is by putting more effort into creating meaningful connections with them. Setting aside time to make small talk and learn more about your talent can go a long way toward making them feel included in the work culture and cared about as individuals.

  • Be Open to Flexibility

Companies that allow for more flexibility in scheduling and work routines have higher retention rates. More people are craving a sustainable balance between their work lives and their personal lives and are seeking companies that show they care about their well-being.

Offering perks like work-from-home options and four-day workweeks can make it easier for your talent to balance their lives and increase their satisfaction with their work life.

  • Communicate Clearly and Often

Clear communication is vital to maintaining a productive and effective work environment. Communication is also an essential element of talent retention. Make sure your talent knows who is available throughout the day to answer questions and the best way to get in touch with them.

You should also give consistent and timely feedback so your talent understands exactly how they can succeed. Make sure you also allow opportunities for your talent to give you feedback, so you can work to improve your supply chain discipline further and show them you value their input.

  • Create a Multifaceted Environment by Promoting Diversity

Any good company needs a diverse team of individuals with different backgrounds, viewpoints, skillsets, experiences and expertise. Encouraging diversity in the workplace will help expand the company’s knowledge, broaden its horizons and create new opportunities. In addition, individuals new to the environment will feel welcomed and driven by its healthy variety, because they’ll feel they have something unique to contribute to a dynamic team. Diversity is a key way of keeping supply chain talent.

  • Provide a Basis for Mentorship

Even the most talented and experienced individuals won’t always be in their element in a new workplace, and walking into a company that’s uninvolved or uninterested in dedicating time to its employees can stymie retention rates and hurt the overall functionality of the organization. Instead, foster an atmosphere that’s nurturing, individually focused and intent on support. Incorporate a mentorship program to encourage new employees, keep them invested in the company and keep you invested in each other.

  • Encourage Professional Development and Advancement

Retaining supply chain talent and keeping your employees motivated means giving them a reason to keep learning and improving. Encouraging employees to develop professionally, providing resources for them to learn or offering advice on opportunities like seminars is a fantastic way to reinforce their interest in the industry and the company. In addition, filling some positions from within and offering advancement opportunities will help make employees loyal to your organization.

Many candidates will want to know there are opportunities for growth if they choose to accept the position. Potential for growth shows candidates you are investing in their futures and giving them room to further their careers within your company.

Strong leaders within your company can motivate your talent through meaningful coaching, support obtaining certificates or new degrees, help with working through new challenges and more.

Contact Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters Today

Hiring the right candidates is a crucial first step toward retaining your talent in the supply chain discipline. At Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters, we are nationwide specialists in discovering and recruiting talent for supply chain and logistics disciplines.

We can identify and vet candidates quickly by using one of the nation’s most extensive networks of supply chain professionals. Our experienced recruiting specialists will take the time to understand your company’s specific needs and pinpoint the best candidate for your role.

Reach out to our team today to find the perfect candidate!

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