The five pillars of an effective talent pipeline
Organisations need to invest in the development of employees and create an environment which cultivates and retains talent in procurement, according to Bouygues Energies and Services (BYES).
Speaking to delegates at the CIPS/Supply Management Forum in London, Amelle Mestari, head of procurement at BYES, explained the key pillars behind an effective talent strategy that enables procurement teams to identify, recruit, and cultivate a strong future workforce.
1. Talent scouting
Recruiting effectively using a talent strategy is an important part of building the future workforce, regardless of the business’s size, said Mestari. In France, BYES’s home country, the organisation often finds talent from award-winning business schools that specialise in procurement. Career fairs, graduate programmes and apprenticeships (in-house or through institutional partnerships) are also successful ways to discover the right people from a wider, diverse pool.
Mestari highlighted success BYES has had using this recruitment route. “In the UK, we have an established graduate and apprentice programme. Our QSE [Quality Safety Environment] director, operational director, and legal director have all come through apprenticeships. You shouldn’t underestimate the talent pool in this.”
2. Nurture a culture of growth
The organisation should provide a positive environment that challenges employees to progress in their professional role, through opportunities such as personal development programmes, mentoring schemes, and upskilling training. Mestari said: “We must motivate our talent if we want to retain them.
“The workforce environment is critical, the culture of the organisation, the diversity in the job, and giving employees opportunities are all critical requirements to keep talent within the business.”
BYES also has a finance graduate programme, which includes a six to nine-month scheme learning contract law, supplier relationship management, and negotiation. “We weave a proper, robust, professional career path which supports and motivates the leaders of tomorrow,” commented Mestari.
BYES’s mentoring scheme has been running for two years, and Mestari recommended implementing schemes for “breaking down the barriers between junior and senior employees”.
3. Train to retain
It is useful to have a strategy to identify who needs to be sent on training programmes, so that you are aware of employees in the talent pool. “Growing your talent is also a key part of talent management,” said Mestari. This requires investment to ensure employees are up-to-date on the best practices surrounding the supply chain, including modern slavery, environmental sustainability, circular economy and emerging technology.
Mestari said: “The training plan defines the evolution within the procurement role, starting as an officer to a procurement director.”
BYES upskills and educates employees through CIPS courses, the Supply Chain Sustainability School, online training courses such as those provided by LinkedIn, the exclusive Bouygues Construction University, and by encouraging attendance at CIPS events and procurement conferences.
4. Diversity and inclusivity brings creativity
“Within the construction purchasing network we have a very diverse team,” said Mestari, with gender diversity shown as 55% men and 45% women – speaking 35 different languages.
Each person contributes a different skill and viewpoint to the strategy, Mestari commented, and this diversity helps improve problem-solving by increasing creativity and flexible working methods.
Mestari referred to a McKinsey report on diversity that showed “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians”.
5. Create a platform for collaboration
Collaboration and innovation can be a key game changer that opens doors to further training and connects employees with market stakeholders. The Supply Chain Sustainability School is a collaboration between clients, contractors, and first-tier suppliers, “who have a mutual interest in developing the skills of a supply chain,” said Mestari.
In 2008, Bouygues Construction launched the Bouygues Construction University, an off-site company university that offers a range of training and resources for all employees. On average, more than 400 BYES executives join the university every year.
BYES has a digital learning platform called ByLearn, which provides online courses. It also organised the first “job mobility forum” to support employees aiming to progress into different roles, said Mestari.