Identifying And Addressing The Skills Gaps In Procurement Teams

Posted 20/05/2014

Competency Assessments provide invaluable insights into the team’s capabilities

Do you really know the current capabilities of your Procurement team, and how they match against your ideal role profiles? Are you running learning and development activities based on the identified needs of the team, or are you just implementing standard training programmes for them all? The only way to ensure that you are identifying and addressing the skills gaps across the team is to carry out a comprehensive competency assessment programme.

Competency Models – fully comprehensive or only functional?

Most Procurement leaders can identify the specific functional competencies that are needed for their teams, and building a purely functional model will help to identify and address the core skill gaps for the function. However, to be fully effective as a Procurement professional, people need a blend of functional, personal and interpersonal skills. Therefore, a fully comprehensive competency model should be developed, working closely with HR to integrate it with the current frameworks and models that exist across the business.

A typical competency model will include the following groups:

●  Procurement functional skills – e.g. negotiation, supplier research, cost analysis.
●  Process specific competencies – e.g. category management, supplier management.
●  Personal, behavioural and soft skills – e.g. presentation, communication, decision making.
●  Leadership and influencing capabilities – e.g. stakeholder engagement, leading teams.
●  Programme, project and change management – e.g. major project planning. 

Completing the Competency Assessment

It is recommended that the assessment follows the following steps:

1.  Each team member carries out a self assessment, using a standard assessment form.
2.  A peer to peer review takes place, which allows team members to validate their own assessment of their competency level.
3.  The line manager reviews the self assessment with the individual, and makes any adjustments needed.
4.  The final agreed assessment is submitted for consolidation, analysis and reporting. Assessment forms can take a number of forms, from simple spreadsheet based questionnaire to web based tools.

Analysing and defining Learning & Development needs

To be able to analyse the results from the competency assessment, an ideal profile should be built for each of the major roles across the team. This ideal profile is not a reflection of where the team currently are, nor is it necessarily just a benchmark level, but is a profile of the skills and behaviours that the person should possess to be performing at an excellent level in their role.

The results of the competency assessment are then matched against the ideal profile, and can be presented in a number of ways. A useful output is a role summary showing how the assessed competency levels match with the ideal profile. They can be presented in a spider graph, as shown in the example below:

Many CPOs are redefining the “next generation” skills and competencies of their procurement teams.

Definition and assessment of procurement’s technical and business leadership competencies is central to the design and delivery of performance-based learning and development. 

In our Compass tool, we have state-of-the-art assessment methodologies that underpin a full range of inspirational, advanced workshops and performance-based coaching. 

Find out how Future Purchasing can support your initiatives in procurement transformation, cost reduction, Category Management and performance learning by getting in touch with us today.  Our contact form is here.

Tagged by topic: Learning and Development , Procurement Transformation

  by Anna Del Mar

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