How do you avoid falling off the talent cliff?

Posted by  Henk Onstwedder

Are you meeting customer expectations? Congratulations – but it may not be enough.

Successful project-driven companies strive to not just meet, but to exceed customer expectations. Nothing impresses clients more than an employee who goes the extra mile to ensure total customer satisfaction, and works swiftly and effectively on their behalf. It's a win for the business, too. According to Harvard Business Review, 80 percent of business leaders rate superior customer service as the factor most likely to bring them success.

Excellent customer service starts with having a well-trained and motivated staff. But are you standing on the edge of a talent cliff? Research shows that, worldwide, project-driven companies are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain consultants and services staff with the skills necessary to succeed in a demanding market. and this may soon result in a critical void of knowledge and expertise.

So, how do you deliver superior customer service in such challenging conditions?

Plan for the future

Human resource planning is the process of anticipating future manpower requirements, against an estimation of the talent that is likely to be available from within and outside of the organization. Within this broad remit, HR teams must map their needs against the changing face of the workforce – for example, millennials are digital natives who value collaboration, flexibility and cool new technologies at least as much as remuneration.

If they are to manage your supply of talent effectively and keep your business away from the brink of disastrous shortfalls, your HR team need better information. It is vital to provide them clear insights into a range of project data and risk factors, including the project pipeline, resource constraints and employee engagement levels.

  • Armed with that better understanding of resource requirements for current projects and for planned ones, they can help much more to match your future skill requirements with skill availability and to make smarter decisions about hiring, promotion and transfer strategies.
  • Without this kind of 360-degree view, it will be almost impossible to secure the right volume and quality of staff to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Get the technology right

Integrated professional services automation solutions can give HR critical access to the big-picture insights they need to hire strategically and please the customer. The benefits are numerous:

  • Attracting the best talent: Integrating with finance and projects allows HR to plan and match skill levels to the project pipeline and on-board the right people before the business experiences a shortfall in crucial human resources.
  • Operating on a strategic level: Integrated systems allow HR to get involved in future project planning, extending their influence beyond payroll.
  • Nurturing employees: Integrated systems allow employees to receive comprehensive support for all aspects of the hire-to-retire cycle, boosting engagement, productivity and customer service.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, project-driven companies that put employees rather than customers first typically deliver the best customer service. When employers prioritize talent acquisition and retention, employees feel valued and appreciated. And if employees are engaged, the customer wins, and the business wins, too.

Download the "No more business as usual" white paper

New innovations and developments in enterprise software directly challenge the status quo for project-driven companies – it’s time to change your perspective on what is possible. Take a fresh look at the way your business works, and the ERP/PSA project and accounting tools that support it.

Henk Onstwedder

Henk Onstwedder is Global VP at Unit4 focusing on the Not for Profit and Public Services industries. He is responsible for building Unit4’s value proposition, creating and delivering on industry product roadmaps, developing the ecosystem, and leading strategic sales engagements.

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