The brave new world of talent management

Posted by  Henk Onstwedder

Professional services organizations (PSOs) have long understood the importance of hiring top talent. Long before "talent management" became a buzzword, forward-thinking services firms were busy on campuses, aggressively seeking out the best and brightest graduates. The primary reason is that PSOs, in addition to an uncompromising bottom-line focus, also focus on delivering high-value client service -- a goal that depends on the quality of your people.

Still, you can't afford to grow complacent. Gallup's much-cited research into the state of the labor market shows that a staggering 87 percent of workers are not engaged at work, meaning they are potentially exhibiting the type of behaviors that could hurt their organization. Absenteeism, high turnover, low productivity and poor customer service are just some of the unwelcome consequences you might experience when staff are disengaged.

Recruitment and engagement tools

Salary is a motivator, but it isn't the only way to attract new talent and keep existing employees engaged. Other drivers include:

  • Praise and recognition
  • Clear career progression
  • Training and feedback
  • Autonomy and task variety
  • Feeling valued

In other words, engagement isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Different workers and generations have different priorities. For example, 64 percent of millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love than $100K a year at a job they think is boring. All factors must be addressed, from compensation and work allocation to managers empowering staff to guide their own career development.

Getting the right support

PSOs know they should be engaging employees, but many struggle to put plans into practice because they worry the HR function won't cope. This is bad news for HR teams, which often spend too much time on administrative tasks that add zero value to the organization, instead of driving a robust engagement strategy.

The solution lies in technology. Modern, integrated professional services ERP systems are able to bring together all elements of workforce administration, project planning and payroll, consolidating HR data on a single Human Capital Management (HCM) platform. The engagement-driving capabilities are myriad:

  • Employees can track their performance against personal goals over time, highlighting any competency gaps that may block career advancement.
  • Social collaboration tools help employees cultivate mentoring opportunities within the organization.
  • Greater visibility of performance and competency means that managers can help employees become more productive and reach career objectives.
  • Employees can access tailored training and coaching programs.
  • Firms gain the ability to react quickly to organizational restructuring and change.

For professional services firms, the call to action is clear: make sure your HCM system can drive employee engagement. Once you get the people right, everything else will follow.

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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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