Managing stakeholders is an important part of procurement. Though the role is sometimes called buyer, a procurement professional rarely use company budget to buy for procurement own needs, but for the needs of other departments. Having good relationships with other stakeholders will facilitate the communications between procurement and user departments, thus accelerate the workflow and help the organisation achieve its objectives.
Relationship building process is sometimes complex as different persons prefer different approaches. If you are starting new role as procurement officer in a new place, the following tips might be helpful:
- Be mindful: Every organisation has unique culture. When you are new to an organisation, you can learn the work culture by mindfully watching what other people are doing at different time of the day. When do your team members highly concentrate on working? When does the team relax and talk with each other? What are the topics of conversations? etc. This practice can help you to identify whether the culture is healthy or toxic and whether you should stay. If you decide to stay, it will also help you to integrate into the team more quickly.
- Be proactive: Proactiveness is among the employer’s most wanted trait from their employee. In any context, proactiveness means knowing the problem and suggesting the solutions or even better, solving the problem by yourself. At workplace, proactively asking for help and offering help are good starting point for relationship building. People will be impressed by your kindness.
- Be open: Obscurity may create distrust and hamper a relationship. Honesty and transparency from the first place are keys to any long-term relationship. Rather than fixing the problem alone, you can share with co-workers and ask for their assistance. If you are unable to join a project, report to your line manager about your inability and the reasons behind.
- Listen: Finally, you can’t get any valuable information without listening. For some reasons, stakeholders might not share what they are really thinking verbally, but you can watch their non-verbal clues such as tone, gestures and facial expressions. Then asking the right question for more insights.