Procurement recruitment consultancies on the hunt for talented procurement staff may need to add another level to their hiring processes and look for “neuro-diversity”, a spokesperson for a leading British insurance company has suggested.

Mark Evans, marketing director at the insurance giant Direct Line Group, was speaking at the ProcureCon Marketing Conference currently underway in London’s Tower Hotel. In his speech, he drew attention to the unique perspectives offered by people with conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia.

Using the analogy of a beehive, Mr Evans said that 90% of the bees in the hive repeat exactly the same things day after day. But 10% “do whatever they like” – and the net result of these maverick endeavours turns out to be surprising: they find new sources of food and new sites for hives. As a result, “They are revered by other bees.”

The productive outcomes of the bees’ actions speak for themselves, leading Evans to conclude that neuro-diversity is the human equivalent of the 10% of maverick bees and is “the next big thing in the talent conversation.”

Noting that perpetual change was the biggest challenge firms faced today, he said: “The best quality to have as a leader is a cool head in these challenging times.

“As a leader you are only as good as the people in your team so the key challenge is talent.”

He added that individuals who see and experience the world a little differently to the routine perspective can be an asset in unearthing opportunities that many might overlook.

He went on to say that procurement had now become an “integral part” of marketing, a marked change from as recently as six years ago when Direct Line Group was underperforming. But now that the relationship with procurement staff had grown, so had the importance of the procurement functions in commercial success.

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