4 ways talent management optimizes utilization

Posted by  Kamal Rifai

In their 2015 report on Personnel Performance Planning, SPI Research predict talent management problems will grow ever-more acute. This is in line with the current trend we see across Professional Services Organizations (PSOs). “As baby boomers retire, managing the talent cliff will not be easy. Finding, training and retaining high quality staff will be a challenge for all. PSOs must have the tools to accurately plan, hire, staff and execute services and, on top of that, tools that will assure their talent to work in the most effective way.” Lots of businesses claim their people are their most valuable resource. But as a manager, the direct connection between your fee-earning staff and your bottom line brings that saying to life. When you bill clients for your consultants’ time and talent, you have to have a laser focus on making the best use of these finite resources. So, how can you meet this challenge and how can an online resource planning tool help you to optimize consultants’ utilization rates? 1. Spot skills gaps – Not all of your consultants will have all of the skills that clients demand. Understanding when and with which skills delivers company-wide benefits. Having visibility of all your staffs’ competencies held in HR systems as well as where projects require them to be is vital. Give your consultants relevant, up-to-date training and you’ll develop a flexible workforce that allow you to plan strategically. 2. Keep comms ‘on-system’ – Change is inevitable. Capturing your responses to changes is not. Siloing information in emails rather than making communication visible to all by keeping it ‘on-system’ within an online project management tool fuels confusion. 3. Make staff retention a priority – People want to be challenged, rewarded and valued. This environment attracts the best talent and discourages them from leaving. But allow a sense that they are being exploited to develop and you run the risk of being crushed under the stampede to the door. Optimal utilization means getting the most out of your consultants in a sustainable way. Visibility of upcoming projects, your entire billable resource, their commitments, skills and whereabouts can unlock this. 4. Only recruit when you need to – Using subcontractors as consultancy resource in one area while billable staff are sat on the bench in another is a double loss. Lost revenue plus the freelance costs equals a shrinking bottom line. Resource management systems that can freeze recruitment and subcontracting as required ensure utilization rates rise rather than fall. Resource managers need to be able to make informed choices about scheduling and communicate decisions to consultants and project team members. They have to be able to identify and fill gaps quickly and optimize billable utilization. To find out more about how we can help you, visit projects.unit4.com and start your journey to becoming a Utilization Hero.

Kamal Rifai

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