In part I of this blog, we discussed the key challenges facing today’s B2B professional services leader as they compete for top talent to fill their consulting positions. Now, let’s look at talent priorities going forward based on that research.
Talent priorities for the new year
Based on SPI’s research and discussions with top-performing PS organizations, four areas must be addressed to develop best consulting talent practices.
- Confidence in leadership. Like everything else, it starts with effective leadership. These leaders are clear about the future direction of the firm, understand and take advantage of changing market dynamics and communicate the direction of the company and the role employees play in shaping it.
PS is a logical, knowledge-driven business, so leaders must focus on clarity and a few but impactful improvement priorities. All of the best firms provide open, honest and transparent communication based on a foundation of open books and systems.
- Great place to work. Top performing firms find innovative ways to help overworked consultants maintain life-work balance. From a facility point of view, firms focus on two priorities: creating open, team-centric workspaces where project teams can meet and collaborate as well as virtual work-from-anywhere environments with state-of-the-art collaboration and remote access tools.
Despite the fact that most work is delivered virtually or at the client’s site, top firms ensure there are opportunities throughout the year for consultants to meet in person to enhance their knowledge and skills while celebrating achievements. An ethical, open and recognition rich environment provides the cornerstone of great work places.
- Culture. In today’s fast-paced consulting environment, the concept of culture is more important than ever. Meet with any top performing firm and you will instantly recognize what sets it apart. It may be a focus on only hiring the best and brightest from certain universities, building a collegial, knowledge-intense environment. It may be building a community-based culture with a premium placed on local hiring, community relationships and driving business on a local level.
Or it may be a culture based on pushing the technology envelope — always seeking the next big thing and willing to invest in innovation. Firms must deliberately focus on what sets them apart to be able to build a brand that models the behaviors and type of employees who will best fit.
- Growth opportunities. The best firms provide rich environments for continuous learning. They offer opportunities for formal and informal growth: mentoring, coaching, lunch and learns, best practices sharing, knowledge repositories, collaboration environments and centers of excellence. In the current turbulent talent market offering career, skill and knowledge growth are an imperative.
Regardless of an organization’s size and maturity level, the firm’s people comprise the essence of the organization. They determine financial viability, brand quality and customer satisfaction. They define the effectiveness of service delivery, sales and marketing. From inception, all PSOs must place a premium on attracting, retaining and motivating high quality consultants.
Jeanne Urich, Managing Director, Service Performance Insight, has been both a professional service executive for over twenty-five years as well as a management consultant specializing in business optimization and transformation for companies engaged in delivering services. She is a world-renowned thought-leader, speaker and author on all aspects of Professional Services.