Mindfulness and wellbeing: at one time these were dismissed by the majority of business leaders as airy-fairy concepts for bohemians embarking on yoga retreats. No longer is that the case with many turning towards them as a relatively easy way of improving performance within their teams and the reputations of their functions.
It won’t be a shock for anyone to hear that when employees don’t like their working environments they become stressed and unproductive. Improve that environment just a little bit and you may just find yourself with a substantial improvement in performance.
Many a procurement executive will say that this is the job of HR, and while they might be right in terms of the office environment, there are things they can do within their own teams.
Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of the UK, famously once said that she could by on four hours sleep a night. For most of us though, eight hours is something of a minimum and is important for our bodies and minds to recover from the stresses of the day. Although you can’t prescribe your workers a Monday to Friday 9pm bedtime, when major buying decisions are in play, it is important that your team doesn’t work through the night, instead goes home and is able to unwind, ready to come back fresh and ready to perform the next day.
But, important too is teaching your team about the benefits of these concepts. Indeed, the Bank of England, the UK’s central bank, offers its employees courses on mindfulness, all in the name of creating more productive employees and a positive working environment.
While creating a more positive environment is by no means a new concept, creating this positivity through understanding the complex inner psyche of each employee is perhaps more innovative.
Colour coded personality science, created by Dr Taylor Hartman, tests people to uncover their different personality types and defines them into four colours. If you’re red, you may be decisive and a natural leader, but also critical and a poor listener. Blue is for those who are passionate and loyal, but equally insecure and un-trusting of others.
Patient and thoughtful, meanwhile, are the strengths of those in the white category, although they struggle to deal with conflict and are often self-deprecating. Finally those in the yellow bracket are enthusiastic and persuasive, but can be self-centred and superficial.
Apparently, most people are a mix of more than one colour.
Major corporates such as automaker Nissan, retailer Nordstrom and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline have all used a form of this on their employees and seen positive results.
Knowing what colour a buyer or category manager is classed as can help procurement chiefs better understand their needs, determine how they can get the most out of them and how best they can be utilised.
For example, who should they use to present a case for cost-cutting to the board? Who should lead those negotiations with a new suppliers, or who is best to build stronger and more collaborative supplier relationships.
Get those appointments right and procurement will see more value delivered, possibly more than they ever thought was possible.
Ultimately, the only positivity you will find in the function is the positivity it puts into its workers.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.