Public procurement leaders face new demands, but automation and cooperative agreements can help ease workloads
Government procurement departments are dealing with numerous demands, says Tom Hunley, product marketing manager at Jobvite. His firm provides governments and other organizations with the tools to attract, engage, hire and retain the talent that drives success by offering talent acquisition software, agile solution, and services to automate processes and help recruiters hire the best talent more efficiently. Its tools improve recruiter efficiency by removing the repetitive administrative tasks to hire the right talent twice as fast through automation.
Like all organizations, government procurement departments are currently facing some disruptions, such as the Great Resignation, diminishing labor market and a labor force coming to terms with working remotely, Hunley tells Co-op Solutions. “This leads to numerous challenges, including greater workloads per individual and per department. Many organizations are redefining contractual relationships to reduce spend which causes more work for procurement above and beyond their typical contractual cycles.”
Hunley says cooperative purchasing agreements can be a benefit to smaller public procurement departments. “Cooperative contracts save, time, cost and resources across multiple entities. Having one point of contact research, negotiate and execute the process reduces duplicate efforts across these organizations.” He adds that overhead can be slashed by allowing one resource to do the work for many: “All cooperative entities save by not having to go through the purchasing process separately.”
Cooperative agreements can be used as tool to help lean-staffed procurement departments keep up with their workloads, Hunley believes: “Purchasing resources at scale allows for leaner departments to have access to capabilities that might not be afforded by smaller budgets. The customization and automation of higher-end tools can increase the efficiencies of individual departments and users.”
Small businesses and disadvantaged vendors can likely be more competitive through cooperative deals, Hunley adds: “Cooperative purchasing can open up clients for local, small or disadvantaged suppliers. These companies might not have the capacity to work with multiple clients individually, but if clients are pooled into in essence one client, these suppliers are able to service those contracts.”
Hunley adds that government procurement teams can use tools such as templates to make their discovery process run smoothly across the board. On the recruiting front, Jobvite offers a request for proposal (RFP) template to give organizations a holistic view of what is needed for a robust talent acquisition platform.
Hunley says his firm has the capacity for multiple entities to share resources if they are purchasing a solution together. “If these organizations are able to share data across municipal lines, Jobvite can facilitate using the platform to scale up their processes. Jobvite provides robust offerings for organizations of all sizes, from small to global. Even without sharing resources, an entity can maximize its efficiencies using Jobvite’s automated tools.” The firm’s Jobvite talent acquisition suite offers a complete recruiting solution. The company’s products are not available through cooperative purchasing agreements at this point.
Public procurement managers can try a unique strategy as team players retire, says Kurt Jones, senior product manager at Jobvite. “Talent acquisition teams must take a recruitment marketing approach in order to sell the benefits and value of working for the state or local government as a career opportunity. Their identified talent audience will want to understand some of the benefits of working in local and state government in both the short- and long-term.” Jones says recruitment marketing efforts could include interviewing current employees or even the employees who are retiring and asking them what made their decision to work in local and state government a positive career experience. “That content can then be used to market to their audience and share the appeal of this type of career,” Jones explains.
Jones says similar techniques can be used to recruit more professionals from Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, people of color, women, small businesses and other under-represented groups. He says, as with any audience, there needs to be a connected content strategy for those underrepresented groups that speaks to how they can thrive in the recruiter’s organization. “Helping your talent audiences feel connected to current employees via social media content, blogs, videos and recruiting events is especially important. In order for an under-represented audience to envision working for an organization, multi-cultural representation must be evident throughout the entire recruiting process—people want to know that current employees who look like them have been successful in this line of work.”
Jones urges government procurement recruiters to take several steps when they navigate on-campus recruiting to attract early career professionals:
- Make sure outreach includes college and university affinity groups and multi-cultural groups on campus to expand candidate reach.
- Audit job descriptions for bias and make sure the language is inclusive and representative of the recruiting organization’s values.
- Ensure that those job descriptions are available in multiple languages on your agency’s career site. This is another way to appeal to a larger talent audience.
Jones says diversity and inclusion (D&I) recruitment marketing efforts could include interviewing current employees as well as agency employees who are in the process of retiring. Those staffers, he says, could be asked what made their decision to work in local and state government a positive career experience with regard to diversity and inclusion.
Michael Keating is senior editor for American City & County. Contact him at [email protected].