The last few blogs we have posted share a similar theme, and that is of “diversity” and “inclusion” in the workplace, often labeled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). We specifically focused on DEI and procurement leaders/officers. In this post, we’re going to continue on that path, this time focusing on the top three tips acquirement leaders should consider when attempting to improve diverseness and embracement in their own environments.
It’s perhaps with a significant sense of irony that the prelude to this list of tips has to do with the actual setting of concrete and measurable goals – indeed, the first step any organization considering getting on the diverseness and embracement bandwagon should take is defining what the supplier diverseness program is supposed to achieve. Simply put, it is essential to recognize which underrepresented groups a business is looking to target and then identify the desired results; this could mean anything from working with more female/minority-owned businesses to considering more diverse suppliers in each request for proposal (RFP).
So, to begin with, an organization needs to be clear with regard to goals from the onset to create alignment on what success looks like.
Tip #1: Promote Supplier Diversity Efforts Internally
Engaging key leaders and acquirement teams early on – for the purpose of securing their support and marketing efforts for a diverseness program – will ensure that all parties involved in sourcing understand supplier diverseness is a company-wide priority. Similarly, engaging employees and even stakeholders throughout the organization, as well as promoting the business value of increased supplier diverseness, will create more buy-in and participation, thus increasing the odds of the program’s success.
Tip #2: Measure Progress and Create Accountability
It starts with establishing key quantitative metrics like diverse Tier 1 and Tier 2 spend reporting. Understanding the current diverse spend provides the opportunity to establish an improvement path.
Once a company has set the goals, the only way to know whether it is moving closer to achieving them is by looking at the data. Taking advantage of new digital tools enables acquirement teams to measure their progress by providing visibility into key metrics such as number of new diverse suppliers that have been engaged since inception of the program, percentage and gross spend allocated to diverse suppliers and percentage of sourcing events wherein diverse suppliers were considered. All of this does several key things: it creates accountability for acquirement partners to hit company-wide goals, provides the opportunity to evaluate which strategies are working and which may not be and gives leadership a picture of the supplier diverseness program health.
Tip #3: Run More Competitive Sourcing Events
One of the major barriers to increasing supplier diversity is known as “stakeholder inertia” – in other words, it’s much easier for business users to rely on a small group of existing suppliers than issue an RFP to make the process competitive. Taking advantage of new technologies to automate the sourcing process is one way to reduce time spent on outdated analog RFPs while increasing the competition – thus driving down costs and increasing the number of diverse suppliers an organization has access to. These three tips will help any procurement or corporate leaders for drive Diversity and Inclusion improvement through their organization.
With the tide finally turning on diverseness and embracement in the workspace, we’re optimistic that the future will be brighter…for all. To learn more about the ways iQuantum is helping procurement leaders track and improve Diversity spend, visit our iQ.Diversity page at www.iquantum.ai.