Tag Archives: Career Boot Camp

What to do When You Feel Like Quitting

Feel like quitting? It’s important to ask yourself some key questions before you hand in your letter of resignation. 

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Moving jobs is consistently rated by psychologists as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life (more stressful, for example, than the birth of a child or planning your wedding). So it’s vital for your own well-being that you manage the whole situation very carefully.

Before you even begin to start the process of hunting for a new job, you need to ask yourself the key question – what’s my motivation?

Why Do People Start Looking Elsewhere?

People look for new jobs for a whole host of reasons, but they generally fall into one of the following groups:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the work they’re doing
  2. Dissatisfaction with their remuneration
  3. Dissatisfaction with their working environment
  4. Dissatisfaction with their manager(s)

It’s interesting to note that people are often only motivated into actively looking for a new job when they are unhappy with more than one of these aspects. If you currently find yourself in this position, here’s my advice.

What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting

Before you storm into your boss’s office with your letter of resignation, you should think carefully about whether your dissatisfactions can be resolved in your current situation. Let’s look at these one by one.

1) Feeling Unsatisfied?

If you are finding your current work is unsatisfying, first check if there are other, more interesting projects coming up for which you could volunteer. Or, if you are finding that your expertise is causing you to become “pigeon-holed” into one area, look into whether there are internal opportunities to cross-train into different and more exciting areas, and gain new skill-sets.

2) Struggling on Your Salary?

If you’re unhappy with your salary, you need to check whether you are being fairly remunerated for the work that you do. This information may not be easily obtained within your company because of individual confidentiality, but job-boards contain a lot of data, and sites like Glassdoor will give you a rough idea of whether you are being paid what your skills and experience are worth.

If you have been with the same company for a long time you may find that your pay has only increased by small increments each year, and your own boss may be unaware that your salary is unfair in relation to the market as a whole. Before you hand in your notice, you should at least talk to your manager, armed with the relevant information, to give them a chance to improve matters for you.

But be warned, you may have already hit the salary threshold for your skill-set, in which case you should think about learning new skills, developing niche expertise or taking on more responsibilities.

3) Unhappy with the Working Environment?

Your working environment covers everything from the company culture (which you probably can’t change) to the working hours and your work-life balance.

People’s needs change throughout their careers: if your domestic situation changes because of childcare needs or caring for a relative, talk to your HR department or manager about adjusting your working hours.

Increasingly, companies understand the cost to them of losing experienced staff (and having to find and train replacements) so they are much more willing to be flexible in accommodating the needs of their teams.

4) Bad Manager?

Perhaps the hardest problem to resolve is a bad manager. Micro-manager, absent manager, unappreciative manager, bully…it’s an old truism that “people leave managers, not jobs”.

If you’re feeling unappreciated you may need to run an internal PR campaign and make sure that your boss has realised all of the things that you’ve achieved for the company.

If the person you report to is irrepressibly miserable, or a shameless bully, you may have the capability to neutralise or ignore their toxic behaviour. However, it may be too emotionally-exhausting and this will be all the worse if the company’s senior management don’t seem to care.

Focus On Being Happy

So, if your managers are steering your company onto the rocks, while paying you a pittance for working every hour under the sun…it’s maybe time to go.

At least you have investigated whether the situation can be saved, and by looking at your motivations you will know which aspects are most important for you.

This will save you many hours of pain and stress in the job-hunting process because right from the start you will know what your “red-lines” are.

  • If you absolutely need a certain level of income to support your family then you can rule out everything below that;
  • If you absolutely need to be able to drop your child at school in the morning then you can focus your attention on those employers who support flexible working hours;
  • If you’re committed to learning new skills then you need to find a company who will truly support your drive for self-improvement.

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve with your job-move then you will be focusing on the things that are important to you, the things that are most likely to make you happier and less stressed. This is really important not just for your own well-being but also because there is a huge body of evidence that proves that happy people work more effectively, and so you are creating a virtuous circle for your next job.

And now it’s time to think about the next key step – your CV!

Richard Harris is Managing Director at Mohawk Consulting. Mohawk Consulting is a specialist recruitment company, working within the professional services market, particularly at the level of experienced hire/manager/director.

What the Numbers Say – Behind the Scenes at Career Boot Camp

Numbers don’t lie! Over 6,500 procurement professionals took our Career Boot Camp challenge. Were you one of them?

cbc by numbers

As the dust settles on one of Procurious’ biggest events this year, we’re taking a look at what the numbers say about what our Boot Campers were most interested in.

Which topics were the most popular over the course or Career Boot Camp? Which of our podcast presenters had the biggest audience? What were the podcasts and articles most shared on Twitter?

Membership Boom

First up, the great news for all Procurious members is that our online community has grown bigger and stronger than ever.

Just over 870 new users signing up over the course of Career Boot Camp. That’s 870 more procurement and supply chain professionals for you to share knowledge with and add to your ever-growing professional networks.

On top of this, a staggering 6,500+ visitors listened to at least one of our free podcasts, while nearly 20,000 people read one of the great article that were published during the campaign.

It was great to see so many of you engaging with the podcasts and the content. If we’ve all taken just one lesson from Career Boot Camp, then we can start getting our careers on the right track!

Most Viewed Podcasts

We shared 15 podcasts, coming from a range of fantastic Career Coaches. If you missed out on hearing any of these, you can now catch up with them in the Procurious Learning area.

But which of the 15 podcasts were the most listened to?

  1. Give Your Career a Cardio Boost” – Founder at Procurious, Tania Seary
  2. Incubate Your Big Ideas on the Job” – VP Strategy and Market Development at Coupa, Gabe Perez
  3. Five Surefire Ways to Become a CPO” – CEO at ISM, Tom Derry
  4. Become a Global Player” – Cultural Diversity Expert, Dr Tom Verghese
  5. Take Your Conscience to Work – Finding Meaning in your Procurement Career” – Business and Enterprise Director at Social Enterprise UK, Charlie Wigglesworth

The interesting thing about this top five list is that it’s such a mixed bag of topics. We’ve gone from Tania Seary’s “Kick-Off” podcast that got Career Boot Camp off to such a great start, to topics on progressing in your organisation.

Not to mention the fact that two of our most popular podcasts came from Tom Derry and Gabe Perez, representatives of two of the profession’s important organisations (ISM and Coupa).

Looking further down the list, we see two topics that are front of mind for nearly all procurement professionals. Our increasingly global marketplace is putting demands on our cultural intelligence and diversity knowledge. Dr. Tom Verghese’s message really hit home with you all it seems.

Then we had the topic of social value and social enterprise, with Charlie Wigglesworth from Social Enterprise UK. All professionals, but in particular procurement’s Millennials, want to make a wider difference in their careers.

Working with social enterprises struck a chord with you, and allowed us to build on our learning on the topic from Big Ideas 2016.

Best Reads

As well as article from our Career Coaches, we also invited our influencers and community to share their thoughts. We received an overwhelming number of articles (thanks!), and they really helped spread the word about Career Boot Camp.

Amongst the content were some articles that seemed to inspire you all with the career message. Our Top 5 here were:

  1. Only 24 Hours in a Day – Manage Your Time Wisely (Procurious HQ)
  2. Does Your CV Pack a Punch for a Real Live Human? (Andy Wilkinson, The Chameleon Career Consultancy)
  3. Career Espresso – 5 Minutes a Day Fast-Track to Success (Tania Seary, Founder, Procurious)
  4. The Top 5 Ways to Stand Out In Procurement (Anna del Mar, Head of Learning & Development, Future Purchasing)
  5. How To Land Your Dream Job? You Gotta Work For It (Lucy Harding, Partner and Global Head of Practice at Odgers Berndtson)

The top five most read blog articles show that Procurious readers value practical, actionable career advice.

From tips on how to start on the path to landing a dream job, down to detailed advice on time management, the most popular articles delivered an array of best-practice career advice.

Social Media by Numbers

We also spread the good word on Career Boot Camp across our social media platforms. The articles were well shared and read across the board.

Within the articles, there were a few topics that got people coming to see what Boot Camp was all about. These were:

  1. Does Your CV Pack a Punch for a Real Live Human? (Andy Wilkinson, The Chameleon Career Consultancy)
  2. The Top 5 Ways to Stand Out In Procurement (Anna del Mar, Head of Learning & Development at Future Purchasing)
  3. Irresistible Procurement Candidate? Have a Finger in Every Pie (60 Second with Rhonda McSweeney, Group Manager of Procurement and Contract Management at CS Energy)

It again shows that people were interested in the really detailed tips and career advice. But at the same time, they were interested to hear what our CPOs and influencers had to say for their own career advice too.

#CareerBootCamp: What Twitter Had to Say

The Career Boot Camp hashtag was tweeted out more than 1,200 over the course of the campaign, and reaching a potential audience of just under 400,000 users.

Once again, the Procurious HQ team can’t thank all our followers and supporters enough for their help with this. Your help allowed us boost our numbers and reach a truly global audience.

Global Activity for #CareerBootCamp
Global Activity for #CareerBootCamp

It’s great to see such large numbers of procurement professionals taking an interest in their careers. We hope you got as much out of Career Boot Camp as we did, and that you’ve already started making changes for your procurement career.

Although Career Boot Camp is over, there’s no need to despair. You can still listen to all fifteen podcasts via Procurious for FREE here.

Do What You Love – Chase Your Dream Procurement Job

You can’t just wait for your dream job to come along. If you want to do something you love, you’re going to have to chase your dreams.

Chase Your Dreams - Do What You Love

Imagine working in a role that you love. Being completely satisfied with your work through pursuing whatever you’re most passionate about can make the difference between feeling discontented and uninspired, and moving to a happier, more productive and fulfilling life.

Here are my simple and practical tips towards landing your dream role:

  1. Define your key skills

What are you most passionate about? If you’re struggling to work that out, write a list of what you love to do, what interests you, and what comes naturally to you.

Think about feedback or comments (informal or formal) you’ve consistently received from peers, leaders, friends and family. How do others generally describe you? What do they often say you’re great at?

For example, you might be a fluent writer. Maybe you have the gift of the gab. Perhaps you enjoy analysing data and making meaningful sense of it. You could be a great coach, and know how to get the best out of others. Or are you the person with all the big ideas?

  1. Uncover the role fit 

Now that you’ve got your list sorted, identify and search for roles that call for those skills.

For example, if you’re able to think strategically, if you’re good at problem solving, have strong emotional intelligence and display outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, then a leadership role could be the way to go.

If you love working with numbers, data, spreadsheets and providing commercial insights then a role in analytics and reporting will suit.

Perhaps you’re highly relationship and customer focused with sound analytical, negotiation and commercial skills. Sounds like a career in Procurement might be right for you!

  1. Network, Network, Network!

The percentage of unadvertised roles is estimated to be between 70 and 80 per cent, which suggests your next amazing role is sitting somewhere within your professional and personal networks.

  • Start connecting (and reconnecting) with your networks – who can they introduce you to?
  • Form a relationship with a specialist recruitment firm. Recruitment consultants are a great source of information and can certainly guide you in the right direction.
  • Attend industry networking forums and events.
  • Actively connect with professionals on sites such as LinkedIn or Procurious, the world’s first business networking site for the procurement and supply chain profession. Get noticed by sharing articles, joining relevant groups and contributing to discussions, or for those that love to write, demonstrate thought leadership through regularly posting blogs (something I must do more often!).

Be proactive, targeted and considered in your job search. Whether you’re connecting face to face, on-line or over the phone, effective networking will be key to your ultimate success.

People generally like to help others so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance – you will also bring value to that connection in some way.

Go ahead, chase your dreams and do what you love!

The Source is a specialist Procurement mid to senior and executive recruitment and search firm with national reach. We provide tailored contract and permanent recruitment solutions to leading organisations in the Australian market.

Some Procurement Lessons Just Can’t Be Taught

Not everything in life can be taught. Why is attitude more important than aptitude…(and almost everything else).

taught a class

David Hearn is the Chief Advisor at CPO Advisement Services, specialising in effective change management and the successful implementation of eProcurement tools.

With 20+ years leading direct and indirect sourcing and procurement groups under his belt, David has some great advice to offer regarding the importance of building good relations, retaining millennials with challenging roles and what defines the procurement talent gap.

David keenly asserts that the attitude of his employees is of the utmost importance. Only with a good attitude, good relationship building skills and effective collaboration can you build a successful career. Everything else can be taught.

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

My first job was as an engineer for General Motors where I was responsible for sourcing parts.

I moved on to the telecommunications company, AT&T. As a system consultant here I developed skills in selling, influence and relationship building. 

My third job was at Sun Microsystems as global sourcing manager. Whilst here, I honed skills gained from my first two jobs and learnt more about business partnership. 

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

 I wish I’d understood the importance of building relationships with the people you work with, internal and external. Good working relationships enable you to accomplish so much more, faster.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

There are a number of ways to retain the enthusiasm of millennials in the workplace. Don’t given them boring, stereotypical procurement roles. Instead, craft new roles which allow them to learn on the job whilst delivering tangible results that they can be proud of.

Millennials want to contribute to the common good so it’s a good idea to find projects for them which have a positive impact on the world.

Finally, it’s a smart move to rotate millennials through multiple roles quickly.  Keep them learning, motivated and challenged.

4. Does the procurement talent gap exist? Or is it just as perception problem?

The only gaps are in soft skills such as relationship building, influence and collaboration. These skills are necessary in order to be a success as a trusted business partner.

5. What’s more important for your hires – attitude or aptitude?

Attitude – 100 per cent. Anything else can be taught but you can’t teach attitude.

6. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

  • Relationship building
  • Collaboration
  • Influence
  • Selling
  • Leadership

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

5 Reasons Why Your Organisation Needs to Offer Sabbaticals

Sabbaticals were once confined to a few professions such as academia and the clergy, but are increasingly working their way into the HR policies of businesses across every sector.

quitting-job sabbaticals

You’ve just lost one of the most valuable members of your team because your organisation’s inflexible HR policies meant she couldn’t take six months off to travel with her family. Offering a sabbatical would have saved you the time and expense needed to recruit and train a replacement.

Does this sound familiar? How many of your best workers have quit for this reason? Where once sabbaticals were only offered to a select group of people, more and more organisations are offering them as part of their employment strategy.

Here are five reasons you need to offer sabbaticals to your team. 

  1. Retention

Let’s face it. Businesses across the board are struggling with retention, with millennial staff generally jumping ship every 2.5 years.

A sabbatical policy might just be the magic bullet you’ve been looking for to increase retention and longevity of employment. For example, you could offer a short sabbatical (paid or unpaid) after 5 years’ employment, a longer sabbatical after 10 years, and so on.

Remember, the alternative is having the employee quit to pursue their dreams, while you’re left with the expense and trouble of finding a replacement.

  1. Rejuvenation

There are so many reasons employees may want to take a sabbatical: study, travel, volunteering, health, family and so on.

But one of the underlying motives for people to take a career break is that we’re not machines – after a few years in the same role it’s natural to start feeling burnt out or stuck in a rut.

That’s why sabbaticals are essential for revitalisation, giving employees an opportunity to rediscover their mojo, rebuild their enthusiasm for their career and come up with new ideas.

  1. New ideas

As mentioned above, sabbaticals are traditionally associated with academia, wherein researchers take a paid break to spend time on activities related to their career or research, usually in a different geographic location.

The reasoning behind this is that people can’t be expected to come up with new ideas or creative thinking by simply sitting in their office – they need to find inspiration in other parts of the world and meet colleagues who are approaching shared challenges differently.

There’s no reason why this same concept shouldn’t apply outside of academia. A sabbatical will give your employees the opportunity to bring new thinking and creative ideas back to your organisation, even if they didn’t engage in any strictly career-related activities on their break.

  1. Expect career breaks to become increasingly popular

According to Elizabeth Pagano, cofounder of YourSabbatical.com, “the concept of working for 40 years and then retiring is outdated. People should be able to inject bursts of time off into their career paths.”

Putting off the pursuit of dreams such as travel or studying until you’ve retired (and over 60 years of age) can mean that you run the risk of no longer having the health or energy necessary to do those dreams justice.

Another reason sabbaticals will become increasingly popular is the security they offer for people taking a career break. Knowing that your job is being held for you is immensely reassuring.

The alternative is to quit your role, which could mean you’ll worry about your financial future during your precious time off and spend the last three months of your break on the phone to recruiters.

  1. Win the war for talent with attractive sabbatical offering

As sabbaticals become more widely accepted, expect job-seekers to ask about your sabbatical policy as they consider if your company is right for them. I

f a star candidate is choosing between your company and a competitor, a generous sabbatical policy might just be the factor that gets them over the line.

Remember, sabbaticals will not only help you attract talent, but retain people for years longer than the rapidly shrinking average term of employment.

Five tips for HR when building an offering for sabbaticals

1. Create a policy

A sabbatical policy will help you attract and retain talent, give employees a goal to work towards, and lay out a clear framework about how sabbaticals work.

It’s important to be absolutely clear on what activities would constitute a paid sabbatical, but keep in mind that for unpaid sabbaticals, the reason for the employee requesting the career break isn’t relevant.

2. Be flexible

A sabbatical could be your best way to retain a valued team member who was otherwise likely to quit.

Flexibility is key – even if that person hasn’t met the criteria such as the minimum period of employment, offering a sabbatical may still be a better alternative than letting them go.

3. Plan ahead to fill gaps

Ask the employee for a detailed handover plan well ahead of their career break, and consider involving them in the hiring process if a replacement is needed to fill the gap while they are away.

4. Discuss contact during the sabbatical

Many sabbatical-takers would choose to have zero contact with their workplace while away, and that’s fine.

Others, however, may want to retain a level of contact through regular emailed updates, or simply through social media.

5. Organise a return-to-work interview

Bring the employee up to date on organisational developments, projects, and new goals and targets that have occurred while they were away. A return-to-work interview will also enable you to capture any new ideas they will bring back to the team.

Does your organisation offer sabbaticals? If not, how would you convince your boss to offer one? Leave a comment below!

Time Poor at Work? There’s An App For That!

We’re all aware of the concept of ‘time poor’. At least in a work setting, there’s an app or two to help you out.

app-for-that

Do you frequently feel like you’re short of time at work? Most people start the day with great intentions of how much they’re going to get done. But throw unexpected meetings, phone calls, e-mails and tasks into the mix, and all of a sudden time feels like it’s running out.

Happily, there’s a plethora of apps on the market that can actually bolster your efficiency levels at work. Everything from note-taking, file-sharing, to expense claims and networking can be easier with the help of an app.

And, of course, if you need an app to help with your procurement knowledge and networking, you can download the Procurious iOS app!

Dropbox

Digital storage and file sharing has been revolutionised by Dropbox. It has simplified the way people work together by allowing people to securely store and share files and collaborate on work, whether they’re working alongside each other or on other sides of the world.

Dropbox Business comes with as much storage as a company needs.

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool launched in August 2013. It helps teams communicate and carry out everyday activities like filling out expense reports or scheduling meetings.

As well as cutting down on inter-company e-mails, it also saves valuable time from switching around different applications to do everything you need to handle at work.

Locomote

Companies of all sizes use Locomote to simplify corporate travel and to save costs. Locomote enables organisations to ditch the long email threads and spreadsheets to authorise bookings and claim expenses on any device anywhere in the world.

Feedly

This app enables to you monitor content on industry websites using websites’ RSS feed. The site allows you to collate everything you need to be reading in one spot.

Google Drive/Google Apps

This is a safe place for all your files, photos and videos and include a suite of productivity tools utilised by executives around the world.

Asana

Team and task management tools such as Asana and Basecamp make it easier than ever to track who needs to handle what aspect of a project, and where each project is at. Give your team access and empower them to update the management tool at each stage of the project.

Evernote

A great place to capture what’s on your mind, whether that’s the minutes from a meeting, today’s ‘to do’ list and share your ideas on any device. Great for note-taking on your phone and then emailing to your PC.

Way We Do

This app helps businesses get teams to consistently and diligently follow procedures in their day to day workflow. The app allows you to organise one to 1,000 team members to create and use an operations manual, meaning you can make policies and procedures a daily routine.

LastPass

This is a great app to help you improve online security while also removing the hassle of remembering passwords. It allows you to create complex passwords that you don’t have to remember, with the app logging you in securely.

Buffer

The app that enables you to multi-stream content across social media. This is a great tool if you or your team needs to schedule company social media content for the month ahead.

Cozi

This app allows everyone in your team, or family perhaps, to access the shared calendar app. This means you can put appointments in the calendar that everyone can see, and you can see what others will be doing next Wednesday so you don’t double-book, for example.

Expensify

This app helps simplify your accounts by allowing you to import scanned receipts, which can be matched to expenses. This means you no longer have to manually type in expense details.

You can also import your cash, credit card and other billable expenses, or directly import your bank account details to manage your business and personal credit cards from your mobile device.

LinkedIn

A successful business owner needs to keep on top of your competition and networking. The LinkedIn app is a great way to do this.

You can network with people in your industry by connecting to other relevant people, businesses and groups.

BRiN

Created in collaboration with over 250 business experts around the world, this provides free business advice and access to a video and audio library covering 80 topics, with more updates to come.

This chat interface enables BRiN to understand and pinpoint your business problems and give you solutions and recommendations within micro-seconds.

Pocket Save

This app, previously known as Read It Later, allows you to ‘save’ an article or web page to read later. This means that next time you come across an article, video or link you really want to read, but you’re about to step into a meeting, you can save it to read later.

You can also save articles from your email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Working From Home – The Great Productivity Debate

Does working from home increase productivity at the expense of innovation? And does it suit you and your company? Join the debate!

working-remotely

Ten years ago, remote working or working from home would have been unthinkable for organisations. Advances in technology and connectivity have played a major part. But just as important has been changing attitudes to the concept of home working.

Gone (or perhaps going would be more accurate) are the days of the perception of home working as a way to skive off for a day. Earlier in my own career, people from my office who worked from home were viewed with suspicion.

The thoughts were that they would log on in the morning, go off to do other things, and return periodically to check e-mails to make it look as though they were busy.

While it absolutely wasn’t the case (the people needed an extremely good reason to be doing it), it might have come from a desire for parity, and knowing that the opportunity could be theirs too.

Seeing the Benefits

But as time has moved on so have attitudes. People are more receptive to the benefits of working from home.

Australian bank, ANZ, polled their employees, and 81 per cent of them stated that they believed that the quality of their work should be measured by what they do, rather than where they do it.

Last year, a survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics found that one in seven people in the UK worked from home. In the USA, 67 per cent of employers were allowing occasional remote working by 2014, up from 50 per cent in 2008.

Companies have woken up to the fact that not only can they offer a better work-life balance to employees, but they can offer a more attractive package to retain their best employees. This is on top of the financial benefits that they can realise too.

Sun Microsystems’ telecommuting programme was saving them $64 million in real estate costs and $2.5 million on electricity each year. Additionally, employees were saving an average of over $2000 each on commuting costs.

Productivity vs. Innovation?

It came as a surprise to many, then, when Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer banned the company’s 12,000 employees from remote working. While agreeing that productivity was higher when people were at home, she argued that innovation and collaboration were suffering from people working separately.

Yahoo stood by their decision, and another big name, HP, followed suit soon after. However, more recently, both organisations have softened their stance.

In some industries or organisations, the concept of home working or telecommuting is considerably easier. In industries requiring more face-to-face interaction, or physical presence, things will, of course, be more difficult.

Ultimately, it’s going to hinge on how a job is performed, and whether there is even scope for remote working.

The Great Productivity Debate

But how much of a difference does working from home make on productivity? Speaking from personal experience, I would say that I’m probably more productive working at home than I was working in an office full time.

However, working from home suits both my job – a role that can be done from anywhere with a power socket and decent wifi – and me personally.

And that’s what I believe the productivity debate boils down to. Some roles don’t suit working from home. And plenty people will admit they couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to, work from home.

Some people are more productive when they can get their head down in isolation. Others are more productive when they have other people, and the buzz of an office, around them. And there are people who thrive in both settings.

The ideal situation would be where organisations are in a position to offer both home and office working. Knowing that working from home is an option may be enough for some people when the occasion arises that they need that flexibility.

Making it Work – And Maintaining Your Sanity

Even if you thrive on working from home, you need to plan your tactics in order to make the set-up work. After two and a half years working from home, here are some of my tips to help you stay sane!

  • Plan Your Tasks

Start the day with two to-do lists. One will be tasks you can do on your own, the other tasks you need you colleagues for. Doing this will allow you to line up your next task if you can’t get hold of people on the phone.

  • It’s Still a Work Day

Don’t get distracted, treat your day as if you were in the office. Take breaks and get up from your desk, but remember, you’re working in your house, not doing the housework.

  • Get the Tools

At Procurious, we use Slack and Skype to communicate, Google Drive to share documents, and a good, old-fashioned phone call (at least one a day in my case), to stay in touch. It’s allowed me to continue working remotely, while still feeling like part of the team.

  • Find a Third Place

You’ll inevitably need a chance of scenery at some point. Find somewhere local where you can work. It might be a coffee shop, or a library, but it’s going to help you stop staring at the same four walls.

  • Breathe the Fresh Air

Get out the house once a day, whether it’s a walk before or after work, or running an errand at lunch. Plan some exercise into your day too. You’re going to be less active when you don’t have to leave your house to go to the office.

  • Meet the Team

You might be a remote worker, but you still need to meet your team. Getting into the office once in a while will help you stay up to date and connected.

If you want to work from home, make sure you sell the how as much as the why. With all the tools on offer, there’s no reason that communication should be what’s stopping you.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

There’s More to Public Sector Procurement Than Red Tape

Public sector procurement frequently evokes the image of red tape, governance, and over-the-top bureaucracy. The truth is something else entirely.

red tape public sector

This article was written by Kate Brown, Head of Procurement for the Eastern Shire Purchasing Organisation (ESPO)

It’s that time of year again when the new students are heading off to University. And as usual, perennial favourites such as IT, law and sociology remain the courses in most demand for another year.

Sadly it would seem that procurement hasn’t made the top 10 most popular courses list again. I would imagine it would struggle to make the top 20. So what needs to be done to raise procurement’s profile and help attract new, exciting talent to our profession?

We all need to do our bit to help raise the profile of our profession. It’s not uncommon for those at graduate entry level to come for an interview with us with little understanding of what the role of a procurement officer actually entails.

So clearly there’s a job to be done to help educate school leavers and graduates as to what a career in procurement has to offer – beyond buying things and saving money. As we all know, it’s a challenging and varied career and CPOs are increasingly becoming important members of most boardrooms.

Challenging the Public Perceptions

In the public sector, we have a reasonable pool of procurement talent available. However, attracting new and experienced professionals from outside of our sector has always been a challenge. It’s fair to say that in our experience, we see limited movement from private to public sector or vice versa.

There’s always been the perception that the public sector is less challenging, but far too bureaucratic. The Government’s continuing spending squeeze isn’t helping things either. Many candidates are keen to avoid the public sector altogether because of fears over long-term job security.

However, the public sector has a lot to offer both those starting out in their procurement careers, and experienced practitioners alike.

For example, as a professional buying organisation for the public sector, we work with and provide national solutions for a wide variety of customers. These include local and central government, schools, universities, hospitals and charities, through to unique organisations such as the House of Commons and the Royal Opera House.

Our procurement officers procure a vast range of goods and services. From asbestos removal services to biomass, from catering equipment to domiciliary care, from training services to wheeled bins, and everything in between. So it’s a diverse and challenging environment in which to work and requires a whole raft of commercial skills.

Of course, salaries are always going to be part of the debate for anyone considering taking a role in procurement, but there are obvious advantages here too.

As you would expect, everything in the public sector is transparent. There’s a published salary for each pay grade, and a clear pathway for moving up the career ladder. And flexible working is offered to allow for a better work-life balance.

Growth and Success

In a bid to attract graduates to ESPO and grow our own talent we launched our graduate recruitment scheme in 1984.

Each year we take three or four individuals on to our graduate programme to train to work as procurement officers. Each trainee is assigned to a team and is given a mentor to support their progress through the scheme.

Our graduates work with us full-time and one day per week they attend university to study for their MCIPS qualification. This training is funded by us and our graduates are also given time to study and sit for their exams. We currently employ 30 of our past graduates and five current trainees. This makes up a total of 74 per cent of our procurement staff.

I am a graduate of the scheme and worked my way up to my current position as head of procurement. Our first ever trainee is now our head of catalogue and supply chain, so we’ve both proved that career progression within the public sector is possible.

Hope for the Future

There are many advantages to working in public sector procurement. It can be an attractive place for people to come and learn the trade, receive the support they need to further their training, and enjoy a diverse and challenging career.

Business and management was the most popular university course chosen this year. Surely there’s hope that procurement’s popularity will start to rise in future.

Clearly its profile needs a shake up and regardless of whether you choose to be in public or a private sector organisation with the right focus and enthusiasm, both paths will offer a challenging and rewarding career for those starting their working life.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

How To Win The Web – Spin a Kick-Ass Personal Brand That Will Get You Noticed

Think you don’t need to worry about how your personal brand appears online? Think again!

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There’s no escaping your online personal brand. Whether you like it or not, all your social media accounts are a direct reflection of you – and your organisation. The content you share, or lack thereof, will be under scrutiny from colleagues, employers, employees, suppliers and influencers.

It’s crucial to take ownership of your online presence by defining your own brand. Take charge of what your profile says about you and reap the professional benefits!

Why Does My Personal Brand Matter So Much?

Online connections are the new business currency.  We all prefer to do business with people that we like and deem trustworthy. In developing a stellar personal brand and building your network, you invite connections to get to know you, observe your integrity and build trust before you’ve even met them in person.

As a prospective employee you can bet that your interviewer/future employer will have already scoured your LinkedIn, Twitter and any other accounts they can access. All of these give an insight into who you are both personally and professionally. Make sure you stand out for the right reasons.

It’s just as important to have a killer online profile as a manager. People want to work for bosses who are well connected, and therefore influential. If your profile is underdeveloped, you appear ‘un-connected’ and risk deterring the best talent. People aspire to work for great bosses that can help grow their careers and they will make the first assessment of this by your online brand.

As a procurement professional, the impetus to have a strong online brand is even more important. Before any business development meeting or negotiation, you can be sure your supply-side counterpart will have looked at your profile, seeking information on what matters to you and your experience.

Where Do I Start?

If you know that your online presence could do with a bit of a revamp but aren’t sure where to begin, it’s self-auditing time!

Spend some time considering how you come across as a person. Are you consistent and authentic across different profiles? Would your network be interested in the things you are saying or sharing? What could you change to get yourself noticed by the right people?

Top Tips For Building Your Brand

Once your initial self-audit is complete, there are some key things to remember as you work on expanding your online presence.

1. Leverage Your Key Influencers

To be noticed online, you need a large network of followers. In the early stages of brand development, building an audience is easier said than done, no matter how brilliant your content is.

A more efficient approach is to leverage key influencers in your industry. Promote and share their work, cite them in tweets and reference them in your content to gain access to their audiences and encourage them to, eventually, return the favour. It takes time and commitment but your efforts will be noticed – just one retweet can make a big difference to your social media clout.

2. Don’t Be a Social Media Robot

You’re a real person so don’t shy away from showcasing the more interesting sides of your personality. If we were all to manage our online accounts with a strictly formal and robotic approach, the social media sphere would be a colourless and dreary place to hang out.

It’s the unique quirks of your personality that people are interested in so it’s unsurprising that the most individual posts with eye-catching photos on Procurious or Twitter are the ones which earn the most likes, shares and retweets.

3. Connect, connect, connect

Building a network is a never ending task so make it part of your daily routine.  Invite friends, colleagues and other connections you meet through events to join you.

On Procurious, we strongly recommend connecting with any and all of the members across our 140+ countries who interest you – perhaps they work in the same industry; manage the same category or perhaps you’d just like to know more about procurement practices in Fiji!

4. Don’t fool yourself – Worlds collide!

Particularly when it comes to Twitter, I’m often asked about whether it’s better to maintain separate personal and professional accounts, or opt for a single social media profile.

In my view, aside from the time management benefits of having just one account to feed, your personal brand is the sum of everything you do – or that is said about you – online.

Trust grows from authenticity. So regardless of how you structure your profiles online, both personal and professional will reflect your overall brand.

If in doubt when posting online, follow this checklist:

  • Does this add to the conversation?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes here? 
  • Does it make sense, would you really talk like that?
  • Would I care if my boss or, more importantly, my mum, read this?

5. Lose the Mask

 Unless you’re batman, you don’t want to keep your identity an online secret. Make yourself searchable on social media by using your full name and your current role. Add up to date photographs so people can put a face to a name.

And make sure your Twitter handle (or gmail account) isn’t some obscure, irrelevant gabble from your teenage years!

Who’s Getting It Right?

If you’re still in need of some further inspiration, look no further than Marie Forleo, entrepreneur, writer and creator of a socially conscious digital empire, enjoyed by millions. Whilst you don’t have to develop your online presence on quite such a large scale, Marie’s website might inspire and motivate you to better your brand!

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!   

Network Your Face Off

Don’t underestimate the importance of your network to your career. It could make the difference in landing your dream job.

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The importance of networking in procurement, be it face-to-face or on social media, can’t be overstated. Apart from getting your name and personal brand out there, there is also a wealth of information waiting for you when you interact with other procurement professionals.

During Procurious Career Boot Camp, we’ve had Career Coaches and high-profile CPOs sharing their thoughts on the importance of networking for a full career.

Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse and The Daily Muse, began a piece for the Harvard Business Blog Network with this sage advice: “Network Your Face Off.”

The truth and value of this statement cannot be underestimated.  Here are 7 reasons why networking is essential and why connections matter.

1. The larger the network the larger the salary

A recent study of 6,000 executives in over 3,000 firms found that the more connections an employee has, the greater their salary.

Specifically, the study found that a 50 per cent increase in network size accompanies a 3.8 per cent increase in salary with respect to the average.

2. Networks beget jobs

survey conducted by The Adler Group found that 46 per cent of active candidates and 49 per cent of passive candidates found employment thanks to networking.

Similarly, a study conducted by Banque de France and the University of Toulouse noted that half of all jobs in the United States are filled through personal contacts.

ABC News cites an even higher number – according to ABC News, 80 per cent of jobs are landed through networking.

3. Wider networks can lead to better paid jobs

Research conducted by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist David Wiczer, found that employees who found jobs through individuals within their network got paid, on average, 6 per cent more than employees who found their jobs through direct contact with a firm.

4. Networks provide security

People who are well-connected are more likely to stay in their jobs longer and have shorter periods of unemployment than people who are not well-connected.

5. Networks bring opportunities

The opportunities networks can bring include: partnerships, invitations to events, introductions, and invitations to give talks and presentations.

In short networks bring opportunities that benefit and feed your career, professional development, and personal interests.

6. Networks make you smarter

Knowing what is happening in your field and industry is vital.  When you have a strong network you are more likely to be “in the know” than those who do not have a strong and active network.

7. Networks make you happy

Minshew writes: “Networks are powerful, and when done right leave you surrounded by a core of individuals who are all rooting for your success and happy to help you.”  So true.

Networking is essential.  Get out there and build your network.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!