Getting Millennials on Board the Collaborative, Strategic Procurement Bandwagon

By Guest Editor

September 06, 2016 at 7:37 AM

By Tehseen Dahya, General Manager, North America, Basware

No matter how good your e-procurement solution is, its success depends on user adoption. Getting employees to purchase through an e-procurement system is a hurdle that needs to be overcome in any organization, particularly when it comes to engaging millennials. This generational powerhouse is having a major influence on corporate culture and how we interact with technology and communicate with each other.

This generation, which grew up with technology and social media, is accustomed to getting information at the tap of a finger, participating in digital communities and relying on online reviews and opinions. And they have come to expect this same level of convenience, immediacy and ease of use with the enterprise technology solutions—including the procurement systems—they use.  

Understanding how millennials interact with technology is critical to increasing adoption of procurement systems, and as their significance and numbers in the workplace increase, so too does the importance of recognizing their needs. 

So how can you effectively engage them? Here are five strategies for increasing millennial adoption of procurement systems: 

  • Make it a relevant. To minimize rogue buying, make sure your system is relevant to the daily work lives of the users and is as fast and easy to use and as user-friendly and intuitive as consumer sites. This means offering users efficiencies that resolve challenges unique to their specific roles. Create a seamless process, enabling users to quickly and easily find what they are looking for and submit travel and expenses on-the-go. By creating these user-friendly systems and processes, you will encourage users to make the best decision possible because it’s the easiest thing to do in the natural course of their work. 
  • Leverage critical intelligence from users across the enterprise to tap into the wisdom of the crowd and promote success. Create your own crowdsourcing environment on your procurement system.  Allow employees to suggest the items they need to do their jobs best so that procurement teams can negotiate the best contracts for those items. Help users save time by creating a system that recognizes their needs and serves up the right information at the right time. Create social opportunities. Consider setting up a reviews section where employees can post and read products and services reviews from their colleagues. This section could also promote corporate social responsibility by allowing them to share information on suppliers with green practices. 
  • Instill a bottom-up approach to system design, roll-out and management. Empower users to drive and improve the process, instead of trying to control people and force them into compliance from the top down. By making users active participants in strategic company initiatives, they will have a sense of ownership and feel more engaged. This also ensures you’re delivering a system that meets users’ needs and one that they will like using. 
  • Foster awareness of actions across the user base by incorporating gaming and making it fun. The latest Pokémon Go craze, which has caught on like wildfire, shows the appeal that games have with millennials. You could create healthy peer competition by showing employees how their efforts compare to their peers—such as who are the smartest shoppers, and who are the most frugal travelers—and recognize them on the system with bronze, silver and gold achievement levels. Share the visibility you have into spend, and track usage and measurable results across the enterprise so employees can see the value they are adding, how their actions directly contribute to company goals and what others are doing to achieve success. For example, show the progress your company is making on overall savings goals, user adoption and total spend under management. This will create the mindset that every person who buys goods and services is not only helping to optimize processes that streamline their daily tasks, but also creating spend data that can be used to make better decisions and save money for the organization.
  • Reward the achievers. In our research, we’ve found that the number-one reason users drop out of a process is because they don’t understand what’s being asked of them and feel their actions are not making a difference. Create a greater level of awareness by acknowledging company “rock stars”—employees who make big strides toward company goals through consistently demonstrating desired behaviors. You can reward these individuals through points and badges, e.g., “Speedy Approver” for those in the top percentile of the approval cycle, and “Compliance Champion” for those requesting items that are on contract 98% of the time.  

These strategies will help you build a collaborative procurement culture that not only engages millennials, but all of your employees. As users better understand greater company goals and are incentivized to participate, they will gradually shift their spend behaviors to strategic, deliberate approaches that help realize collective goals. You will not only turn millennials and other employees into stewards of company funds, but your company will also benefit from the cost savings, and optimized processes that collaborative, strategic purchasing delivers.

 Tehseen Dahya.jpgTehseen Dahya is General Manager, North America for Basware, a leading provider of networked purchase-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and financing services that enable organizations around the world to grow their businesses and unlock value across their operations. For more information, contact Dahya by email at Tehseen.Dahya@basware.com or by phone at 800-672-8776.

 



Tags: purchasing Supply chain management Procurement Technology procure to pay sourcing
Category: News Article

Guest Editor

user_avatar


Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »


Related Content

Thought Leadership and the Demise of Your Third-Party MRO Outsourcing Program: Part 4

George E. Krauter

When one defines third-party MRO (3PMRO) success, one assumes that fundamental operations are being executed and that expectations are being met (i.e., ROI goals are surpassed} Read More

Guidance for Addressing the New Talent Acquisition Challenge

Dennis Bouley

The US Labor Department reported in March of this year that there were 6.6 million job openings, a record high. Although most of us applaud these numbers Read More

Millennials in Supply Chain Management Seek Advancement and Development Opportunities

Marisa Brown

Millennials working in the supply chain management field don’t fit the mold that the older generation assumes for them. APQC’s recent study Read More


Supplier Profiles

Staples

Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More

Digi-Key

It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


Webcasts

What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More