Inside Supply Management Magazine

The Pillars of Supply Chain Talent Strategies

December 02, 2019

Having the right talent in place can help companies withstand the impact of external forces like tariffs and digitization on supply chain planning. According to Gartner, the Stamford, Connecticut-based global research and advisory firm, five facets should form the basis of supply chain planning talent strategies.

The pillars are role-base capabilities, career pathways, learning and development, recruiting and onboarding, and performance management.

“Trade wars, digitalization, global economic volatility, ever-changing customer expectations and — of course — labor shortages weigh heavy on supply chain planning leaders,” Caroline Chumakov, principal analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, says in a press release. “Many supply chain leaders have attempted to build out a strategy that navigates these forces, but most have not yet considered the underlying talent implications.”

An organization’s planning strategy, objectives, processes and technologies are only as “robust as the people in your organization that have to execute on them,” she adds. Having a talent strategy can help.

A closer look at each of the facets:

Role-based capabilities. Organizations need to define the capabilities — skills, knowledge, competencies and experiences — that its talent should possess for each role or set of roles. Chumakov recommends coming up with a shortlist of critical capabilities that will help keep the organization competitive over the next two to five years. “This might include competencies such as curiosity, collaboration or data-driven decision-making,” she notes. “Candidates should display the majority of these capabilities, but there should be room for development on the job as well.”

Career pathways. The lack of a defined career path often contributes to why planners leave organizations or move to different roles, Gartner has found. Also, younger generations, like millennials and Gen Z, are drawn to traditional hierarchical career paths. Chumakov suggest incorporating lateral movements within the planning function and across other functions when building career pathways. “The challenge is twofold: creating the opportunity, and then making sure that people see it and know what it takes to chart the path,” she states.

Learning and development. Are you familiar with the 70-20-10 model? Gartner says it can be instrumental in fostering adult learning and development in supply chain planning. Here’s how the model works:

On the job learning such as opportunities like stretch assignments and job rotations should account for 70 percent of personal development.

Relationship-based learning, like mentorship, manager-led coaching and sharing best practices with peers, should make up 20 percent.

Formal training sessions should account for no more than 10 percent; these can include seminars, e-learning and certifications.

Recruiting and onboarding. Working with the human resources department, supply chain planning leaders should “identify talent pools that reflect the desired competencies and focus their outreach on key attraction drivers,” Gartner says. When conducting job interviews, Chumakov recommends emphasizing “the variety of career pathways and development opportunities. This might be what convinces the candidate to pick your company over the competition,” she says. When onboarding talent, it’s important to ensure new hires understand how their roles pertain to planning strategies and objectives, she adds.

Performance management. Tailoring development plans can help drive an employee’s performance. “Select development goals that form the intersection between business needs, the employee’s current performance and their career aspirations,” Chumakov says.