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Embracing technology to solve the talent puzzle

Posted by  Bas van Woudenberg

The global talent pool is demanding more from your organization than ever before, but with the right tools you can solve the talent puzzle.   

According to a professional services industry analyst, Service Performance Insight (SPI), today’s “less traditional” workforce values “collaboration and cool new technologies” more than security and remuneration. In its Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report 2018*, the researcher says it sees this new workforce “take charge.”

The best professional services organizations (PSOs) are embracing technology to solve the talent puzzle by reinventing the workplace for today’s tech-savvy workforce, says SPI. By using the right tools they are matching the right people with the right skills to the right jobs.

By providing employees with socially-aware mobile tools — for remote, automatic recording of time, expenses and purchases — they are slashing admin time and creating self-driving projects. These firms have enhanced insight, predictive forecasts and visibility over real-time data about their people, projects and finances.

Such tools break through silo walls, encouraging collaboration and communication. The firms using them are benefiting from more profitable projects, optimized resource utilization and increased revenue from every employee, consultant and project.

Employment brand

The service-based organizations leading the charge in this respect are using the latest technology to prevent burnout and improve productivity.

They are focused on their employment brand and are embracing socially aware, mobile technologies which mimic the applications we all use in our personal lives to improve knowledge-sharing, team-building, transparency and collaboration. The new workforce, partly created by these tools, is flexible, autonomous and accountable in equal measure.

The results for these leading PSOs? Low levels of attrition, high levels of employee satisfaction and referrals; and employee billable utilization of 78 percent*. Employees at these firms, says the research, are paid more than the rest and more of them would recommend their employer to others.

Right tools, right people, right job

You can’t get these kinds of results if your organization still relies on disconnected, labor-intensive legacy software, like Excel spreadsheets (a 33-year-old piece of software).

With the right integrated PSA solution — which brings data together in one place — you can quickly assess which team members will be the right fit and create projects automatically. Integrated human resource management tools allow you to spot gaps in employees’ training. The right solution allows you to access real-time financial data synchronized from timesheets and the general ledger in a project dashboard to manage metrics.

SPI notes the increased visibility stops users from “defensively” tying up billable staff. It prevents talent silos forming by aligning departments, it allows for free-flowing projects, pushes up utilization rates and leads to more on-time project completion.

A first for professional services 

For the first time in its history, headcount growth in professional services exceeded revenue growth, says SPI’s 2018 report, indicating that firms are feeling confident enough to hire in advance of sales. Among the top-performers (top five percent), headcount grew by more than double the rest of the market and they earn 43 percent more annual revenue per employee than the majority.

For more clues to solve this conundrum, download the e-guide: Solving the talent puzzle to optimize billable staff utilization.

*Source: 11th annual Professional Services Maturity Benchmark report 2018, by third-party research firm, Service Performance Insight.

Bas van Woudenberg

Bas van Woudenberg is a professional services sector veteran, aiming to support organizations to improve utilization rates, customer satisfaction, and financial results. Bas is also the director of the Unit4 PSO Center of Excellence.