Call Us Today! 1-877-236-0420


The Intersection of HR and Supply Chain – with McKesson VP, HR Business Partner, Arica Drummond-Clay

By Published On: November 30, 2023

Hosts: Rodney Apple, & Mike Ogle

In This Episode:

In our latest HR Series episode, we talk with Human Resources expert Arica Drummond-Clay from McKesson. Arica’s expertise as a strategic Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) shines through as she collaborates closely with leadership to synchronize talent and business objectives. This includes her involvement in areas like organizational design, talent management, compensation frameworks, and leadership development initiatives. She shares her unique perspective on what makes the role of an HRBP both challenging and rewarding, detailing the essential traits needed to comprehend and effectively bolster supply chain operations.

Moreover, Arica offers her valuable insights into the evolution of HR functions, highlighting their crucial role as guardians of organizational culture. She also discusses comprehensive strategies for attracting, nurturing, engaging, and recognizing the talents within the supply chain sector, providing a roadmap for fostering a thriving and competent workforce. Join us in this episode for an enlightening exploration into the world of HR and supply chain synergy.

Who is Arica Drummond-Clay?

Arica Drummond-Clay currently serves as Vice President, Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) for the Customer Distribution Experience (CDx) organization within McKesson’s Pharmaceutical Solutions and Services (PSaS) business unit. She leads a team of 2 to provide strategic HR support to over 6,000 field-based employees.

Arica joined McKesson in November of 2017 as the HRBP supporting the Corporate and PSaS Finance teams. In 2018, shortly after joining, she transitioned to a Communications and Change Leadership role working with the Finance Transformation Program leading the HR pillar of the organizational enablement workstream which drove the design and implementation of the new finance operating model. In June of 2020 she transitioned back to an HRBP role where she supported the Provider Solutions, Manufacturer Relations and Strategic Pricing Leadership Teams. As a strategic HRBP, she partners with leaders to align their talent and business strategies by working on organization design, talent management, compensation and leadership development initiatives.

Prior to McKesson Arica held a variety of HR Business Partner roles at Frito-Lay and Johnson & Johnson. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and holds bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Zoology, as well as an MBA in HR and International Business all from Michigan State University. Over her career, Arica has received several HR Leadership and Excellence Awards, including the McKesson HR Impact Award twice, the first time after only 18 months with McKesson.

Based in the North Dallas Metroplex, she and her husband Rodney together manage the very busy schedules of their 2 young children, Aliyah (9) and Rodney III (6) and just try to keep up with their oldest, Michael!

[00:02:05] Mike Ogle: So Erica, welcome to the supply chain careers podcast series that we’ve titled supply chain talent building and engagement.

[00:02:12] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, thank you for the invite. I’m excited to be here today.

[00:02:14] Rodney Apple: Erica, as I checked out your linkedin profile, you’ve got a very distinguished career and with some large companies that everyone will know of, but would love for you to take us back to the beginning of your career journey.

And in particular, we’d love to hear how you first came across working in supply chain, which we define as, any of those functional areas that span procurement, logistics, manufacturing operations, et cetera. But we’d love to hear how you first got started and what influenced you to seek this path into operation and supply chain.

[00:02:51] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, it’s an interesting path for sure. And the funny thing is, I hadn’t even really thought about the supply chain intersection until you just asked the question. So I went to Michigan State, which is number one for supply chain for many years. So I could say it started there, but that would be you planting that for me.

But went to Michigan State for undergrad and graduate school. So have an MBA in HR, and that’s probably the first time that I really, I would say, got into supply chain, really understanding what it was. Started hearing about Lean Six Sigma, which I will drop that and come back to it in a little bit.

So after grad school, I worked at Johnson and Johnson, but I was really more on the commercial side there, but still that Lean Six Sigma was still calling me. At J and J didn’t have the opportunity. So after J and J went to Frito Lay and that is where I had the opportunity to do Lean Six Sigma.

So I was with Frito supporting their field sales, which is, I’d say, even though not a traditional part of the supply chain, but still an important one because those route sales representatives take the product from the DC to the shelves for us to go buy it. So I supported that workforce for about eight years while I was at Frito and then had the opportunity to go through the black belt certification.

So I was able to then go really deep into manufacturing projects, right? In the plant as an HR professional. So still within HR, but allowed myself to really see the depth and the breadth of it. And then about six years ago is when I joined McKesson and again, joined supporting corporate functions, but found my way back to the supply chain where I support now Amy McKay CRSVP of customer distribution, who I know you all have met and talked with, and I’ve been supporting her for about 2 and a half years now.

[00:04:45] Rodney Apple: Awesome.

[00:04:46] Mike Ogle: All right, that’s a great set of roles that you’ve been through and diving into the human resources side of this now and in this series, we throw out a lot of different terms that we hear, as far as human resources or talent management or H. R. Business partner might be a variety of terms out there that different companies end up using.

So all of those are meant to work closely with supply chain executive leaders. As you mentioned, the relationship that you have now To be able to build teams and get them engaged. So you can you tell our audience a little bit about how you see the different kinds of roles and terms and how they’ve changed over time?

[00:03:20] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, so they’re all, as you mentioned, very related concepts with distinct functions. So I think about H. R. is the big umbrella. So all those things fall under H. R. That’s the function in the org that’s responsible for managing and supporting for the training and development performance management.

So everything that involves with our human resources come into work and then ultimately exiting the org, ideally at retirement. Talent management would be a click down. So a sub function within HR talent management from my perspective is around identifying the high potential high performing employees.

How do we retain them attract develop? So really again, leaning into more of that, excuse me, performance. And identifying those folks that we know will take us to whatever is that kind of future state for that organization. Think succession planning, leadership development, career path, and all those things.

So again, how are we building the base for us to continue to be successful? And then last but not least is the HR business partner who In my opinion, as an HRBP, the best role within HR, but is the intersection of really all the disciplines of HR, because we sit in the middle, because we are the partner to the business to help translate the HR initiatives and things that come down from typically a corporate, if you’re in a big organization.

But then also translate the business needs back to the HR function. So we have to really be able to understand, we have to know our business, know the business partners and know HR, the different functions to be able to say this will work. Let’s do it this way. We are sought out for sure, for all of our expertise and our partnership to say, will this work?

Can we do this now? What does this look like? A coveted seat that I love to sit in right now. But just all very important. And they all do work together and you can’t really be successful without that partnership, in my opinion.

[00:07:24] Rodney Apple: And it’s a follow up, Erica. I’ve worked across and supported different business functions, and I know you have to, as you described earlier.

But I think when people get to the supply chain and the operations there’s a stark contrast, right? . Some of these functions are more corporate when you think about finance and, marketing and it and so forth. And it certainly has it’s a complexity, right?

. But when you get into supply chain, I think you find a lot more what we call job. Functions and families, right? So the breadth and depth can be extreme, especially when you’re in these large corporations you’ve worked in. So I’d love to hear your perspective is you’ve moved around some of these different functions, supporting them from the HR seat.

What would you advise? How can HR and talent managed management professionals? better prepare themselves to support these large dynamic functions that exist within supply chain and operations.

[00:08:23] Arica Drummond-Clay: The first I would say is to really get in and be curious, right? Especially if you’ve not had a lot of experience with supply chain.

So really understanding, like you mentioned, what makes up that organization supply chain. Are they if I talk about Frito, right? It was field to shelf was their thing. So how do we get the potatoes out of the ground to get them on the show for us to buy it? Yeah. So it’s really understanding where their place in the supply chain and logistics.

So business acumen, be curious, ask questions be collaborative, right? Everybody wants a good partner. But I think in supply chain, because they are typically the largest employee base to when you think about it. So our frontline population in the D. C. At McKesson is the largest anyone kind of department as you mentioned.

Really understanding from that frontline role up to the senior leaders. What are the differences? The nuances? Because there are many. Especially if you think about exempt, non exempt, frontline, office, wired, non wired, and the list goes on and on. So be a collaborative partner. Good communication skills.

To the point I just said, you’ve got to be able to connect with the frontline worker up to the SVP and all in between. So really thinking about how do you communicate? What do you say? How will it be perceived and heard? Be innovative. Because supply chain partners are looking for ways to be more efficient by nature.

That’s what they’re about efficiency. So how can you help them be more efficient? So how, what kind of types of innovation can you bring with our profession? So around the people could be something in T. A. It could be innovatively, I think is helpful. And not to keep drawing on, but I’d say two more data driven. My ops folks are the most data driven people. So if you can support whatever that recommendation is with data, you will definitely find that they will trust you faster and more. And then leadership development again, thinking about the journey of the employee and this is a function where I’d say you see more people really grow up in their function how can we continue to make sure we’re building the bench? We’re setting folks up to be successful to be the next manager or the next director or the next vp in that function, Where we can leverage all of their tribal knowledge as it’s called here to again help us go into the future

[00:010:52] Mike Ogle: Yeah, that’s a great batch of ideas there for somebody To be able to think about and if you look at the flip side of that question and think about what do you advise? What do you think supply chain leaders can do to better prepare themselves to make sure that they work well with HR and talent management professionals?

And what do you wish those supply chain professionals knew before they work with you?

[00:11:15] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, I’d say the first is HR’s role in organization. I like to tell people it’s not right. The HR of old. So it’s, we’ve come a long way from personnel departments, and so it’s not near as administrative and tactical as it was, especially as an HRBP.

So I think it’s, them really understanding the role and what this partnership can do for their business. If they really do engage how we can have transparent conversations, we are collaborative, how that will take the think about it from a diversity and inclusion, right? So I’m just coming at it with a different perspective.

And we all know with more diverse perspectives, you get a better outcome. So it’s really understanding HR’s role. I talked about being collaborative. We want them to include us so that we bring me in on the beginning. Don’t bring me in on the end to say, Oh, this is what we did. And now this has happened.

So what do we do? Let me help make sure it’s seamless from start to end. With that comes trust and relationship building. So with any relationship where it’s built on trust, we have to have that foundation. I think that goes both ways. And then I’d say again, the continuous learn. So not a very different list.

A lot of overlap. But I say those will be the big ones. Maybe 1 last 1 will be, culturally again, just understanding that hR is really the steward of the enterprise or the organization’s culture. And so helping as I’m coming new or as we’re new together, there are microcultures in every organization.

So let’s talk about that at the beginning. So we can make sure we don’t disrupt anything that shouldn’t be disrupted, but we stay true. And if it needs to be disrupted, let’s agree that we’ll do that too, in the right way. So thinking about the culture that’s there and that they want to keep.

[00:13:08] Rodney Apple: That’s good stuff, Erica. And you mentioned those microcultures that brings back memories of at 80 distribution centers and Home Depot and you see slightly different nuances as you go from one facility to another segueing into kind of that tech, you mentioned talent acquisition as we call it, and on the corporate side And I have certainly seen a lot of things change over my time and tenure, almost 30 years of doing this.

What do you think we’ve seen all these disruptions, a pandemic, work from home, remote, hybrid, all of that stuff is still brewing and changing and evolving. It seems like almost by the day, but what kind of practices from your perspective work best when you think about attracting, sourcing, and finding and bringing on new employees?

Anything that you see that might evolve as we go forward with this pendulum swinging back, the employee to the employer all of that is in the state of flux right now.

[00:13:04] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah I agree. It is in a state of flux, but I will tell you that there are things that I think have held and stood the test of time when you think about attracting candidates.

So within McKesson a practice employee referrals, that’s our number one source of candidates. I got to believe that’s every company’s number one source of candidates, right? So that is, has held the test of time. So make sure, making sure that there’s a good employee referral program. Where employees feel like they do want to bring their friend to work with them.

Good employer branding and engaging content. So the ability to use social media these days, what does your company stand for? Cause that’s what we’re finding these newer generations. They are really around the cultural fit. Does this align with my values? So if they don’t know, you will be passed up because This is also a, we’re in an environment where people want instant.

So if I’ve got to look too hard to understand what you do or what you stand for, then I’m going to move on to the next one. So branding is important, being engaging, leveraging all the social media platforms effectively. So making sure that it’s not stale content because they look at that too. The candidate experience is something that we’re really talking about now a lot.

And you hear that term. So think about the application process. A lot of folks are using their phone to apply for jobs. Now, it may seem like a little thing, but, make sure it works for Android and Apple platforms, right? A little thing like that could be a big thing. Internships, I think, are something that we got away from.

And I would say, and we’re slowly bringing them back. And that’s how you, again, get the repeat customer, so to speak, every summer. And they become an ambassador on campus that gets you that talent. So it’s like an employee referral. Less formal networking, good old fashioned networking never hurts.

Cause you never know who is looking for that next career or has a hidden talent or desire to do X, Y, and Z. From a supply chain perspective, talent, finding talent, especially you think about warehousing and DCs has always been a challenge and is more a challenge. I think now coming out of the pandemic.

Because we saw just how much logistics and people ordering things and that the importance of the D. C. So it’s always something that’s top of mind, I would say, for our leaders in particular, because it is so competitive. So it goes without saying around just making sure that you, your company is standing out.

And so some of those things I talked about will be important, but I do think nowadays it’s that the values, the employee branding, that’s the big one that I’m seeing come up can be make or break, excuse me, because we think about, and I think we sometimes forget that as we’re talking with the candidates that they are interviewing us too, it is a two way street.

And every interaction, they are making a decision on do they want to go forward if they’re called. We are, but they are too. So it’s so important to think about that candidate experience and that it is a two way street.

[00:17:13] Rodney Apple: Agree. A hundred percent. I’ve seen companies that mess that up and it just it can do a whole lot of damage, especially nowadays with social media.

Yes. Spreads the word very fast if they have a really bad experience through the interviewing assessment and obviously onboarding and working there in general. So I think that’s great advice. Thank you.

[00:18:]00 Mike Ogle: And so Erica, once you have talent on board, you’ve gone through that process, you’ve been able to attract them, you get them in the door.

What kind of practices do you think help with ongoing development of leaders, teams and individual team members?

[00:18:14] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah at McKesson, we leverage or really try to talk about the 3 E’s as a starting point. So experience. So think about stress assignments, right? What are the roles that you need to do to be in that future spot? Exposure, which could be networking opportunities, mentors, sponsors, coaches, cross functional assignments and then education as the third E. Purposefully third on the list because the others that on the job learning, that’s what really sticks, but you can go to a class, go to a training, go to some formal development to reinforce it.

But we know that if you do it, It will stick. So that’s why we think about those three E’s. And with that those aren’t the sole things that we do. So some other things we think about for leaders and individual contributors are individual development plans. So making sure that employees, especially our hypos and promotables have IDPs as we call them.

So are you actively managing them? Are you revisiting that with that employee on a quarterly, at least quarterly basis? Is it clear? Are we being very transparent with this employee too on where we see them? Where are the gaps? What are their strengths and opportunities? So the development plan can actually help them develop.

And I know that kind of sounds very simple, but sometimes it is. We also leverage 360 feedback. To give employees a good perspective of how people see them up down around as a data point regular feedback, of course. Goes without saying, and I use the term transparent a lot, but that transparent feedback because again, if you don’t tell me the truth, then I will always have that as a blind spot and then it may always be a derailer for me.

So that transparency is super important. Of course, recognition and rewards, right? People like to be rewarded and recognized and they do something. The only thing I would add or say differently for teams is just thinking about how does the team mesh and making sure for me, it’s important to think about complimentary skills and assets when building a team.

So that way we can make sure we’ve got the best product. We don’t all have to be SMEs and everything we can build off each other. So team building activities and just thinking about how the team comes together so that people can work on things that they have passion about, which will always get the best product if they like doing it.

So just a couple of things.

[00:20:48] Mike Ogle: And a quick follow up. But when you talked about the three sixties, I’m always curious when somebody mentions that how often you go through this three 60 process.

And when you say, regularly reviewing, what does regularly mean? Because it can

[00:21:04] Arica Drummond-Clay: vary widely. Yeah. So for 360s, we do no more often than, every 2 years. We have a big process built around that where you do the assessment, then you are paired with someone in our talent management function to debrief it.

And they stick with you for a couple of weeks, help you build that development plan. So it’s a big one on one investment that we save primarily for our hypo candidate but we can also, and do also do it with, the rest of the organization. So it’s not something we do fairly regularly, but it is a tool in our toolbox that we use.

When we need to.

[00:21:42] Mike Ogle: And then as far as, when you say regular reviews. What? What does that timing mean?

[00:21:47] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah. So we actually in the last two years, maybe moved to a process of quarterly check-ins. We call ’em. So we went away from a once at the end of the year kind of performance conversation and have quarterly assessments and conversations.

Again, really trying to get the feedback when you can actually impact what they’re doing for the year versus saving it all up for the end of the year as a way to encourage those conversations between employee and manager. And we also have asked that they designate. You’ll have your weekly one on ones, but they designate at least one conversation a quarter to be just about development.

So not about the day to day stuff you’re working on, but let’s get Really deep and talk about what are you working on to develop you for whatever you want that next role to be? How can I help you as your manager? So really trying to separate those things is what we’re trying to do as a culture now. We did have a very formal right end of the year you get a number Rating and do the bell curve and so we’re trying to get well not trying to get away from that But slowly moving to something that feels more progressive.

Of course, there are the tenured folks that Are the change management curve, right? We all know the curve and everybody somewhere on it at all times. And this is the same. But I know from my perspective coming from a company that was more traditional in the year number to this. It does feel like I am having better conversations with my manager specifically about my development, which I appreciate.

[00:23:23] Mike Ogle: Good. Thank you.

[00:23:25] Rodney Apple: It’s exciting to hear that the trend is moving to more frequent conversations. That’s one thing I never was a big fan of was those. And I don’t think anyone is really, I’d say on both sides the annual review it’s stress. And I don’t know anyone that really looks forward to those conversations, but what I hear, even with our own little small team here is, we, They appreciate direct and consistent and, frequent feedback and revisiting those development initiatives.

We’ve put in IDPs and getting started with that ourselves. And I think it’s exciting because it, you can’t just have a one process applies to everyone. You’ve got to meet them where they’re at and align it with where they want to go and have that frequent feedback conversation.

[00:24:05] Arica Drummond-Clay: yeah, Rodney, before you move on that because as we’re at the end of the year, the surprise element. So the other thing I like about these quarterly is that ideally, if you’ve been having transparent conversations that there should be no surprise quarter over quarter, because you are talking much more frequently.

So I do think it lends itself. The process lends itself to fewer surprises at the end of the year when now you’re talking about their comp potentially and their performance. So it also breaks those up so that We can be focused because if I’m just waiting to hear what my number is for my merit or my bonus or whatever, then I’m probably right.

Just waiting for that. So it really helps. I think, too, from that perspective,

[00:24:51] Rodney Apple: that’s a great point. And it probably, I would say in tandem, I’m saying it’s going to release some stress and anxiety over. worrying about what’s going to happen and preparing for that one big meeting. So I think that’s a great best practice and other companies, if you’re not doing that, it’s probably something to look into.

You touched on this earlier, and I just chuckled when you mentioned the most the folks that are big into data are usually in the upside and supply chain. And we’ve talked about, attracting recruiting talent. What do you do when you get them on board to continuously develop? And now I’d like to segue into measuring that performance.

What are some of the practices that you feel work best when you’re measuring that performance? Thank you. across the different leaders in the company. You mentioned high potentials the teams and even down to the individuals.

[00:25:41] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, so I know we all are familiar with SMART goals. So I think it starts there with alignment between employee and manager on what those goals are going to be for the year or maybe even for the quarter.

So the other thing that we found with our quarterly kind of check in process is that it allows for goals to change as needed based on what’s happening in the market or in the company. So you don’t feel like I said this goal at the beginning of the year. And I’ve got to do it at the end of the year, so I’m not going to be seen as a high performer or whatever it is.

So I think the smart goals and alignment around those goals is the foundation. And then with that, you can talk about the KPIs or the metrics. That makes sense to make sure that to help assess you those clear expectations. So even though we have the goals, there still may not be clear expectations on how to get there.

Because in my opinion, the how is as important as the what you did. The proverbial how many bodies are you leaving behind you? In my opinion, it’s not a good performance indicator, right? That would be the opposite of so we want to make sure we are getting the goals the right way. The transparency again, I know now I feel like I am a broken record with transparency, but it’s just so important because people, human beings, we tend to shy away from what we perceive as a hard conversation.

It’s getting comfortable with that piece to be and not think about it as a hard or combative conversation. It’s just having a transparent conversation that then will allow us both to be better after. Me as your manager, you as an employee, because we are aligned, we understand I can help you with that development because now, as opposed to not telling you because I’m not sure how you’re going to take it.

I think that transparency becomes so important in every part of it the insights, right? Because we can all think about that. Some of the things that we have to manager. So we manage we in the last two years have implemented a manager quality index. So it’s a survey that your employees will take.

And we use that for development planning purposes. If you have a team of so many, you’ll see the resorts and you see the comments versus you won’t if you don’t. But it’s truly like a development tool that we use again to think about how are you performing as a leader? Okay. And not just in your functional area, because again, so important.

Couple things right there.

[00:28:09] Rodney Apple: Yeah, those are great. Those are great. Look, you’ve got a great program

[00:28:15] Arica Drummond-Clay: there. We worked hard, and it’s still evolving, I’ll say.

[00:28:20] Mike Ogle: What was the name of the index again?

[00:28:22] Arica Drummond-Clay: Manager quality.

[00:28:25] Mike Ogle: Ah, okay. Something that I’m not very familiar with. I don’t know if you can get it give the the 30 second version of what you want to get out of that and how it’s structured.

[00:28:33] Arica Drummond-Clay: So it’s 12 questions, I believe. That again, the team will fill out on their manager and it talks about, I know what my goals are. I understand how my work is connected to the company. So again, getting at, has your manager told you? Do you understand how you impact the organization’s bottom line? I would recommend my manager to someone is a question.

So back to the do I feel valued and treated like I belong here? So that’s just a flavor of some of the things and the manager will get the report. And then expectation is that they share the results with their manager. And then again, think about it from a development planning purpose.

[00:28:12] Mike Ogle: All right, good.

Yeah, thank you. Are there any resources that are out there that you think is this a pretty common across most of the larger companies?

[00:28:21] Arica Drummond-Clay: So this was my first experience with it when we rolled it out a couple years ago. I would believe that it is something that you’ll start to see more of. We use a platform here at McKesson that houses all of our, what we call our listening tools.

So like our employee opinion survey, this manager quality survey, we do a EOS pulse survey. So it’s all in that platform. So I would think any organization that has those type of platforms probably has some version of a manager survey.

[00:29:53] Mike Ogle: Okay. And 1 of the things I go off to a different kind of question here earlier.

You mentioned. The aspect of constant innovation in supply chain and with so much transformation and restructuring going on to try to be able to match up with innovations and change in marketplace and customers and procedures and such, what are your thoughts on the role of HR leaders in helping to facilitate and lead change?

[00:30:22] Arica Drummond-Clay: I think it’s a critical role because, as we talked about earlier, culture becomes so very important when you’re thinking about change, the things that you want to preserve in the culture and the things that will… Need to change because of whatever the change is. New technology process improvements typically involve some sort of training.

Everything around the change has some arm into an HR discipline. So we are there to really help that most senior leader identify. What’s the burning platform? I know we’ve all heard that because that’s where it starts. So why are we looking to do this change? And then second, from my opinion would be communication because that is like really wraps it all.

If we don’t communicate it effectively, appropriately, timely. Whatever the adjective is that we want to use, then we will have a more difficult time getting to the finish line. So being that comms partner is so very critical. We’ll help do a stakeholder analysis again, to think about how and when do we bring in our stakeholders?

How do we talk to them? How do we ask them for feedback? Understand what their point of view is change champions and they’re typically something that will help you figure out how to bring those together. What’s the feedback? What’s the role we want them to play? I talked about the training and development because some people may need to be completely retrained, re skilled based on the change to be successful.

Sustainability is another one. We want the change to stick. So building out that, that sustainability plan, helping to make sure the employees that they have a place in the future state if they do sometimes they don’t and they may decide they don’t want to, which is okay as well. Figuring that out and making sure that happens the right way is a big role that we play as well.

Resiliency and really thinking about that from the employee perspective. Again, that kind of survivor syndrome for those that if we’re doing something that involves a big kind of exodus of employees, but those that stay making sure again, that they are still engaged. So many, in my opinion, different elements that HR can help facilitate, manage, make sure the senior leader is thinking about the right way so that the change is successful.

[00:32:46] Rodney Apple: Erica, you mentioned your Six Sigma black belt, lean Six Sigma black belt. I was curious if you’ve been able to flex those those muscles as transformations and change initiatives.

[00:32:59] Arica Drummond-Clay: I have pokey yoke is the term that I will never ever forget coming out of that. And it’s always that continuous improvement. I’m like, there has got to be a way to do this better so that we don’t have that pitfall. Not just in change, but I found that I just think about things differently.

I think because I went through that training with that CI mentality and, how can we make it. Simple, but effective because that’s what will be sustainable.

[00:33:31] Rodney Apple: Amen. Amen. We’ve talked about, the word engagement quite a bit. It’s such an important word. I think when you think about HR and those that work in talent management and all of the disciplines that we’ve talked about under that HR umbrella.

It’s super important, especially these days with the generations coming up that you’re a lot more, I’d say, aware and in tune with the values and the culture of companies. We’d love to hear, what that term means to you and what kind of practices bring it to life, within the organizations you’ve supported.

[00:34:03] Arica Drummond-Clay: So to me, engagement is just fostering a workplace environment where the employees are motivated, connected, and committed to the work. And those have come out in the actions and the words that they say. Now how we get to that level of motivation, connectedness and commitment may vary by team, will vary by team back to those microcultures.

But I think there are some strategies that kind of cross and it’s 1 is leadership, strong leadership and communication. I feel like transparency and communication are words that I’ve said a lot over the time we’ve been talking, but it’s letting employees know what’s happening. Like the why if they understand it, they, and they can support it, then they will, and that will lead to them being engaged.

And I think we’ve all seen strong leaders and we’ve probably all seen not so strong leaders. The strong leaders are the ones that have the teams that will follow them to the heels and will help make sure they reach the goals. That strong leadership is super important. Meaningful work.

We’ve talked a little bit about that too. So if I like what I’m doing, you’re going to get the best out of me. If I can tie my values to the company’s values. You’re gonna get the best out of me. So I think making sure that employees understand the connection and the why will lead to them being engaged.

Clear growth plans, growth path. If I see myself having a future here, then I’ll be engaged in committ. So that comes back to the transparency. Let me know if you don’t and why, what can I do to fill those gaps, to remove those gaps and whatever you’re not seeing so that I can be here to help the company go into the future.

I purposely didn’t say compensation or record or, that it’s monetary, but we all know people feel like they’re paid fairly than they will. Not the best level engagement, but you’ll get, at least minimum engagement out of them because they feel like they’re earning a fares they pay for the work that they’re doing.

But not everybody is solely driven by money either. So that’s where the recognition of you did a great job or the certificate or the award or the opportunity because I’m doing this is also recognition. So I think that leads to engagement. Autonomy for those employees that, that like that not everybody, like some people like to be told what to do, but a lot of folks, the high performers, typically a high potential want to feel empowered and like they have the autonomy to do what they know is the right thing.

And that makes them feel engaged because they feel like they are the owner of that process. And so I think that gives them a little bit more skin in the game. Having a good work life balance, right? I like working for you, but I also like having a family and I like doing things outside of work. And if you respect that, then when I’m with you working, you will get a hundred percent out of me at work.

As long as you let me give a hundred percent when I’m at home. Feedback, we’ve talked about that. So those are just a few that I think we’re seeing come up more and more now. And I know over years if I were to prioritize them, they would shift, but I do think those are the ones that kind of stay on there.

It’s about feeling respected again, feeling like I’m valued and I understand the why will lead to me being engaged.

[00:37:32] Rodney Apple: Solid gold right there. Thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah,

[00:37:37] Mike Ogle: absolutely. And Erica, the last question that we have officially today, then is. What is some of the best advice that you’ve received over the years related to advancing careers in general?

And what have you seen that is particularly important to supply chain careers that you would give as your own advice?

[00:37:59] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, so advancing careers I think the first thing or first piece of advice is to know what you want and not that you have to say, I want to be SVP of XYZ. But I think to have a general vision of what that looks like and to be okay with not taking a linear path to get there.

I’ve said to employees that careers sometimes can be a lattice, not a ladder. So thinking about what are the other lateral moves that will get me something that I wouldn’t get if I just went up. So taking every opportunity as an opportunity to really develop something, and I think going into those, and this is where the conversations with your manager, sponsor, mentor can help you understand the why behind that move.

Because there is typically a why, because we do the succession planning and all of those things, like there typically is a reason why we say we want you to go do this role instead of going to do that role first because it will set you up to throw and maybe even skip that role that you’re not thinking about if you’re thinking about things very So it’s the diverse experiences, being open, taking initiative, intellectual curiosity, again, thinking about how can I learn what will I gain from this. For supply chain in particular, I think, if you’re not comfortable with data, getting very comfortable with data, more comfortable with data.

Understanding how to tell the story with it and pull out what you need from that data. Of course, you can go do different certifications that will get you different things, but back to the three E’s exposure and experience versus the education. I think do the certification because sometimes that can get you a leg up, but I think what, inherently by having done it is what will help you rise up the ranks. Communication skills are good across the board. Again, being able to connect and have a conversation knowing when to flex. Style. Emotional intelligence is another good one. And now you got my brain really going so I could, you could keep, but I think that emotional intelligence, especially if you desire to be a people leader now, not everybody wants to manage a team.

And that’s okay too. We need all kinds of the, in the

C suite and they’re, then you will need to lead a team. So having that emotional intelligence is so very key to do that.

[00:40:35] Rodney Apple: Very sound advice. And we appreciate you sharing those nuggets of wisdom with our audience today, Erica.

[00:40:43] Mike Ogle: The only thing that I was thinking of is whether you have any advice to other professionals like yourself, as far as resources that are out there that you regularly go to, to better understand how to better work with your supply chain business partner.

[00:41:01] Arica Drummond-Clay: I would say not in particular to working with my supply chain partner. Because it’s for me, partnering with supply chain is really about knowing the business, right? So not being afraid to go in to the work that most folks or some folks may not find glamorous or sexy because it’s typically not right.

It’s not the tech world. It’s not research and development. But it’s so critical to most organizations that do it. So I think it’s to recognize how it’s probably key to their organization’s foundation and then to go in with an open mind. And be ready to see it as such within McKesson, like Amy’s world or supply chain function that we support.

They are called the core. They are the core of the business for that reason. So I can raise my head high and say, I support the core of McKesson, which is a fortune 10 company. And it’s by recognizing and appreciating that. So I think it’s, that’s what it is. It’s that appreciation for the not so sexy part of the business that is so important to how things get done.

[00:42:15] Rodney Apple: It’s certainly getting a little bit sexier over time and with all the advancements in technology and I think that’s really what keeps it exciting is just the evolution of… Of change. And you think about AI, you think about blockchain and robots, all of that is the future and it’s right in the middle of supply chain and operations.


[00:42:36] Arica Drummond-Clay: really,

[00:42:37] Rodney Apple: I was just going to say, if it wasn’t for supply chain, that’s, it’s, it totally enables commerce. I don’t think a lot of people think about that, like this product here, my phone in my hand, like, where, how did it get here to the shelf? There’s so much work that goes on and it is behind the scenes.

You don’t really see it. So it’s important. And those that work in the profession should pat themselves on the back because you’re helping the whole to thrive and to work and function. Great advice today. This has been great. You’ve shared some wonderful nuggets.

And so we appreciate that. That’s what it’s all about is trying to give our audience a leg up in this series while it’s, I think, a bit of a niche audience. It truly is designed to help strengthening the bonds and the partnerships between the talent HR folks and those working in supply chain because it takes two to tango.

It takes both to make things happen and to make good progress.

[00:43:30] Arica Drummond-Clay: Yeah, I will tell you to for your listeners, support and supply chain is fun, right? We didn’t talk about this, but it is it’s fun because of all the things that we’ve talked about over the last hour. So much action activity every day is definitely different.

I think just be ready to roll up your sleeves and jump on for the ride and you will learn more than you thought you would and have fun while doing it.

[00:43:55] Rodney Apple: And you’ll have probably more career paths than you can ever even contemplate because they are very abundant, broad, diverse, and there’s lots of places you can go just in the function and obviously from industry to industry, you’ll see some slight changes and nuances as well.

So yeah, great place to work for those that are thinking about it, listening. All right, Erica, thank you so much for your time today. This has been a great pleasure speaking with you and we appreciate everything you’ve shared today on this episode of the supply chain talent building and engagement series.


[00:44:29] Arica Drummond-Clay: Thanks for having me. It was pleasure speaking with you both.

Need help hiring Supply Chain Talent?

Connect with our supply chain recruiting firm and our diversity recruiters here at SCM Talent Group to elevate your team’s potential and secure the supply chain talent your organization needs for future success!

Check Out Other Podcast Episodes:

Go to Top