By Sarita Harbour
The best companies to work for always have a great culture. Whether you're a tech firm, a small business or in the service industry, fostering a positive company culture will improve productivity, employee happiness and your brand. A smart procurement strategy can influence your company culture in various ways. Here are five tips to help get you started.
1. Make Green Choices
Making environmentally responsible supplier and product choices at your company will help create and maintain a green culture among employees and consumers. Many companies manufacture or design their products and services in a green way, but procure their materials from cheap, non-green suppliers. Work with your marketing team to showcase and spread the word about your efforts, so that employees will follow your lead.
2. Encourage Communication and Collaboration
To foster your company's culture of inclusivity and teamwork, implement a policy of open communication and collaboration in your procurement strategy by asking for input from other departments when sourcing new services or material.
For example, if you're in the process of selecting a vendor for new HR software, ask for input from IT and human resources. This reinforces a culture of teamwork among your employees and demonstrates that their opinions and ideas are valued.
3. Remember Flexibility When Evaluating Services
Does your company offer remote or flexible work options for employees? If so, your procurement strategy should consider this when evaluating software and tools for employee use. For example, choosing cloud-based software will allow employees to access their work material remotely if they're out of the office. Selecting large-screened smartphones will also make on-the-go work much easier.
4. Stay Up to Date on New Technology
Three out of four respondents to the 2016 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index say their employers don't give them access to the latest technology to help them do their jobs more efficiently. Many companies adapt to a few of these advancements, but fail to procure the most modern technology for every area of their business. To promote a cutting-edge culture and be seen as a company with the latest technological conveniences, make sure to offer the easiest options to your employees and customers. For example, a company that provides on-the-road services such as junk removal or window washing should supply its employees with smartphones. They should also provide credit-card chip readers or mobile POS systems to process payments on site, removing the need for tedious invoicing and paperwork.
5. Procure Locally Sourced Materials, Supplies and Services
Company cultures that highlight locally sourced or made-in-America ideals have become popular as a reaction to the increase in outsourcing to countries overseas. But this can be a challenge for procurement when cost is always a priority. To infuse this culture into your business, utilize a procurement strategy that tries to source locally whenever possible — or has a positive impact on the local economy. Even if it's only possible to buy a few of your materials domestically, it could help the region's economy and show your employees and customers that your company has a vested interest in the success of local businesses and families.
Regardless of your industry, there are ways to influence your company culture through a thoughtful, collaborative and responsible procurement strategy. The benefits of having a stronger and more identifiable company culture include attracting the best employees, boosting retention and making employees proud to represent your brand.