The 7 challenges facing project workers in service-based businesses
Service-based businesses face a unique set of challenges in a world of rapidly shifting priorities, expectations, and corporate realities. And within service businesses, the front-line project workers are faced with 7 key challenges that stand in the way of efficiency and profitability. In this post, we’d like to introduce you to these challenges and the one surprising feature they all share in common.
What’s a project worker?
Put simply, they’re the consultants, accountants, engineers, architects, construction workers, and experts in all service businesses who provide their skills for the benefit of customers.
Project workers are the lifeblood of service-based companies. They take care of everything from agile planning and winning business to executing projects profitably, optimizing resources, and recruiting, retaining, and growing your workforce.
And what gets in the way of them doing good work?
Whatever their main duties – from strategic advisors to resource optimizers – all project workers deal with the same types of challenge.
Inefficiency driven losses, combined with intense competition, changing customer needs, and increasing turnover as part of a war for talent.
The less than magnificent 7
But 7 specific challenges within these themes cause the greatest obstacles to project team success.
The inability to handle complex org structure and payroll setups
Managing multiple roles across multiple countries is becoming increasingly difficult. Especially as employees are beginning to switch countries and roles more frequently.
A failure to link project data to HR data
Lacking data on project workers’ skills and career trajectories can lead to poor staffing decisions, career paths that don’t suit individual needs and aspirations, and sub-par project profitability and delivery.
Staffing projects based on outdated frameworks and informal networks
With no proper record of employee skills, competencies and performance, projects aren’t staffed optimally. Leading to decreased customer satisfaction and higher employee turnover.
No clear answer to the learning and training question
Many project workers struggle to develop their skills effectively, with an inability to find mentors, and outdated approach in their organizations to learning. This not only leaves them disadvantage – but opens up companies like yours to the issue of major skills gaps in the future.
Managers can’t manage people effectively
A lack of a common management system to collect and store team data creates a lack of effective feedback and business processes and project decisions that don’t align well with employee objectives.
No continuous measurement of engagement at the project level
If project managers can’t see the levels of engagement on their teams, it’s impossible to gather and share feedback. From either your people, the customer, or anyone else.
This inevitably results in decreased engagement and satisfaction across your organization and for your customer.
No ability to leverage collective knowledge
In many project teams, knowledge maintenance is done either too informally (through casual conversations) or too formally (via static project databases.)
This means that people do not learn from each other. And worse, it means that project workers see and derive no value from self-organizing their knowledge and learn more.
All of these challenges have something in common. They’re all people challenges.
And they can all be solved by bringing the systems you use to govern your people and your projects together.