Even during the height of the recession, supply chain leaders were worrying about talent recruitment and retention. And now, as the market improves, many candidates are poised to change jobs. What can you do to retain your best employees? Do you recognize the qualities that make them productive and successful?

When you think of employee retention, your mind might turn to money first. But a higher salary isn’t the only thing that will make a job attractive to an incumbent or candidate. One way to keep your supply chain talent is to provide opportunities for your employees to broaden their skills. How?

1. Set Up a Job Rotation Program

Allowing your supply chain employees to rotate through different departments and functions will give them a broader perspective of the business. It will also enrich their skills and maybe help them find a new direction within the company. Either way, it helps keep employees from feeling “stale.”

2. Promote Cross-Functional Projects

You can either encourage your staff to work with other disciplines on an informal basis, or you can set up formal teams. This can help each member get new ideas on how to control costs and increase efficiency. Operations and finance employees are often a good match.

3. Offer Continuing Education and Training

Another way to keep your employees engaged and challenged is to give them the opportunity to formally learn new skills and enhance their professional qualifications. This is particularly important in the supply chain industry, because the profession is evolving so quickly. Think about offering access to university executive education courses and programs like Six Sigma.

What about the employees you have? Or the ones you’re about to hire? What skills will they need to succeed in today’s supply chain environment?

The supply chain field has some unique demands because of its growing role in strategic decision making and the increasingly global aspects of the business. A combination of hard and soft skills is necessary, including:

  • Thinking creatively
  • Appreciating the big picture
  • Analysis and problem-solving
  • Learning agility
  • Ability to communicate with everyone from top management to non-supply chain employees
  • Global outlook and understanding

Companies have become more flexible in their approach to hiring supply chain professionals, realizing that just having supply chain knowledge is not enough these days.

How do you feel about your current supply chain employees? Do you feel they have what it takes? And do you think you have what it will take to keep them? You can contact ZDA any time to take advantage of our expertise!