Mentoring in Procurement 2016

Mentoring programmes have been identified by numerous academics as a key constituent of alleviating and mitigating barriers employees face in workplace progression. A recent Harvard Business Review article found that junior to mid level employees who have undertaken such mentoring programmes advance more quickly, earn higher salaries and thrive from increased job satisfaction.

As collaboration and the importance of the Procurement function to the wider business continues to grow, we have seen an increasing number of Procurement teams embracing mentoring. The topic of ‘mentoring’ continues to be prevalent on a number of dedicated Procurement websites which highlight the growing trend of its adoption:

Charmaine Tan (Marketing Sourcing Manager – Global Sourcing & Procurement Services at AIG) and winner of the Future Leader Award Winner at the 2015 World Procurement Awards, discusses how being mentored by Jan Piskadlo (AIG’s Regional Head Asia Pacific – Global Sourcing & Procurement Services), had been a key enabler to her career.

A successful mentoring programme will involve facilitating growth, giving direction, fostering confidence whilst drawing on valuable insights and learning from the mentor’s experience. Mentors should be generous in offering access to resources and networks. Increasing visibility has been found to be key in overcoming social concepts such as the “old boys club” that are said to limit women’s progression. Procurement leaders outline the “Five E’s” that are critical to a successful programme: Engagement, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. By doing so, critical skills and knowledge will be shared in high performing teams, not only spreading risk but ultimately improving output.

It is clear to see the wider benefits to the business through greater collaboration and transfer of knowledge. Interestingly, many global organisations from Facebook to Proctor and Gamble are now undertaking ‘Reverse Mentoring’. Experience and knowledge is imperative in a successful procurement function, however, in some instances this can be detrimental. Reverse Mentoring can enlighten senior professionals to new ways of thinking and working. At the Bank of New York Mellon, CEO Gerald Hassell has weekly mentoring from a graduate! According to the Harvard Business Review study, 71% of CEOs who were part of a formal mentoring programme said that their company performance had improved as a result, and 69% reported that they were making better decisions.

It will be interesting to see if mentoring programmes become more popular in Procurement functions in 2017. Does your organisation already have mentoring programmes in place? If so, what are your personal experiences with such programmes? The benefits are widely documented but I would be very interested to hear from anyone with firsthand experience and how this has contributed to success in Procurement.


About the Author

Joshua Edwards

Resourcer for Procurement Heads. Inspired to develop a career in procurement recruitment following completion of a degree in Business Management. Thrives on building strong relationships with customers and stakeholders and passionate about contributing to the development of a growing brand.

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