Employer attractiveness: 3 strategies against the shortage of skilled workers in your procurement department

Filling vacant positions in procurement and supply chain departments is becoming increasingly difficult. Almost every week we receive calls from companies looking for employees for various positions in these departments. But the market is empty. Good new employees for procurement and supply chain tasks can usually only be found by specifically approaching a recruiter. And this is, rightly so, combined with costs for personnel acquisition. How do you assess your own attractiveness as an employer?

The main reasons for the shortage of skilled workers in procurement and supply chain are still inadequate positioning of departments, a frequent lack of medium-term planning and a lack of willingness to sustainably qualify high potentials for new tasks.

It is therefore essential to actively market procurement internally and externally through innovation and outstanding employee management.

Strategies for increasing employer attractiveness

A combination of the following measures reduces the need for additional skilled workers and increases the attractiveness of the department for internal and external candidates:

  1. Innovative trendsetter

Procurement and supply chain management, with its many interfaces within and outside the company, is predestined for innovation. Be it by contributing to new innovative products or production processes or by optimizing processes. The best way is to use the innovative power of your own employees. Innovation workshops allow ideas to be recorded, evaluated, prioritized and implemented. Transparency through broad participation increases the quality of implementation. By incorporating interfaces from within the company, procurement shows its innovative strength on the one hand, but on the other hand it also creates a magnet function for good employees from other departments and increases the attractiveness of the employer.

  1. making succession arrangements at an early stage

Rolling medium-term personnel planning is the basis for addressing the need for skilled workers at an early stage. Neither an experienced employee nor his or her potential successors want to be informed about the planning only two months before retirement. It is particularly important to preserve experience-based qualifications, i.e. the knowledge accumulated by employees over many years of professional experience and not stored in process manuals.  Early planning is also always a sign to the entire department that development potential of the employees is recognized and promoted. Active personnel planning increases the employer attractiveness of a department or area. Unfortunately, this is too often overlooked when managers prioritize their tasks.

  1. qualify your key employees – Blended Coaching

Part of personnel planning is the clear definition of the development potential of individual employees and the associated identification of knowledge gaps. Use your training budget in a targeted manner and discuss the goals with your employees. This shows appreciation and the willingness to qualify. The combination of external qualification and internal training by experienced colleagues will result in the training of precisely fitting specialists. We gladly refer you to our blog from January 2020 about blended coaching.

The communication channels through which employees and applicants from both internal and external companies exchange information are manifold. In a scarce market for skilled workers, the environment is all the more important today in addition to the monetary endowment of a position. As an innovation leader with a clean personnel planning and excellent development options for the employees, this should be a plus point and increase their employer attractiveness in all directions. The advantages of working for an organization like yours should also be actively communicated to the outside world and be authentic.


Oliver Kreienbrink

Managing Director, ADCONIA GmbH

Sinja Krauskopf

Consultant, ADCONIA GmbH