Procurement officers: Are you successful from the start?

Procurement officer
October 8th, 2020
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Team engagement relies heavily on a new procurement officer's attitude during their first few weeks in the role. That and the support of their line managers. This is why it is so important for new procurement officers to adopt these winning attitudes from the word go.

To gain the confidence of their new teams and to build an effective partnership with their new managers, there are three attitudes that procurement officers must adopt:

A procurement officer who spends the first month listening and understanding

New procurement officers arrive full of new ambitions for a procurement department. This is only natural, and their ability to inject new life into a team is also one of the reasons the procurement officer was hired.

That said, the procurement team has been around for a while, and their individual and collective processes have helped them get part of the way there. That's why it's a good idea for new procurement officers to spend time identifying their team's strengths right away.

For example:

  • Interpersonal skills with key suppliers
  • Expertise in implementing digital tools
  • Relationships with internal customers within the company

These strengths form an excellent basis to help new procurement officers develop a project that taps into the true potential of their team.

A procurement officer who offers a team new challenges

Procurement officers are managers. This means they must also create the right conditions to improve motivation across the procurement team, and drive its members to strive collectively for new goals.

The right conditions for this focus on new challenges stem from the support procurement officers provide to each and every individual:

  • Defining and promoting stimulating challenges
  • Helping to build a sense of ownership for each team member
  • Regular catch-ups on progress towards expected outcomes

However, change—in methods and/or priorities—is not always immediately accepted by team members when a new manager arrives.

That's why procurement officers often need to focus on learning and wait for the initial victories to surpass the potential reluctance of their employees.

A procurement officer who builds a rapport with their manager

The third winning attitude for new procurement officers concerns their relationship with their managers. Indeed, the confidence and the clarity established between this pair from the outset determine the procurement department's ability to play its full role in the transformation of the company.

The more goals are shared and the more fluid the relationship, the stronger and more sustainable the contribution will be. To stand the best chance of a rewarding partnership with their manager, procurement officers must therefore insist on scheduling catch-ups on a very regular basis, if they feel this is needed.

These catch-ups will have at least two functions:

  • To keep checking that procurement officers and their managers are on the same page in terms of priorities.
  • To report on successes, which highlight the team's commitment and, in turn, provide them with the means to continue with confidence.  

In conclusion, a procurement officer's first steps are vital in determining how quickly and easily they can achieve their goals. These first steps rely on striking a balance between utilising a team's assets and the ability to bring each employee out of their comfort zone.

In some ways, new procurement officers must accept that they will have to take good advice before they can give it.  

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