3 Ways To Build Resilience and Predictability in a Challenging Economy
It’s not hard for business leaders in the professional services industry to recognize that the pace of change in the industry is accelerating, making long-term success more difficult to achieve. But what is hard is understanding those changes well enough to make impactful decisions and adjustments that increase the resilience of your business and put it in a position to thrive amidst constant change.
This is why Kantata enlisted the help of Chris Marsh – workforce productivity, collaboration, and employee engagement technologies leader at S&P Global Market Intelligence – to provide critical, data-backed insights into some of the biggest challenges professional services organizations face today.
Watch the video below to see Chris answer questions about building resiliency and predictability, balancing team and client needs, and making the right investments in a challenging economy. Then read on in this blog to learn about three recommendations for building resiliency across your workforce operations.
Recommendation 1: Invest in Transformation
As organizations work to build resilience across their workforce operations, Chris recommends that they prioritize investing in transformation, as neither the pace of change in technology nor the level of change in market trends and customer requirements are going to slow down anytime soon.
As for where to focus investment, Chris says that “technology investment should be focused on longer term business outcomes like optimizing around customer value and around employee experience.” Clients and talent are the lifeblood of services organizations – if either constituency is unsatisfied, your business is at risk – so it is important that your business fosters closer coordination between sales, delivery, customer success, finance, and HR teams, enabling them to drive consistent value to customers while ensuring your business continues to be an attractive place to build a career.
In spite of the challenging economy, Chris cautions against short-term cost cutting because, while it can briefly improve the financial state of your business, it is unlikely to lead to the kinds of long-term strategic outcomes your business is under pressure to achieve.
Recommendation 2: Close The Gap Between Strategy and Execution
There is often a sizable gulf between strategy and execution in professional services organizations – while the plans and goals may be outlined at the beginning of a year or quarter, the business performs unpredictably, with little understanding of why teams overperformed or underperformed on certain KPIs. The predictability and resilience that will be so essential in a challenging economy will not be possible if businesses do not get better at aligning their strategy with their ability to execute.
This is why Chris recommends that professional services leaders put some serious thought into both their planning and goal setting processes as well as the operational processes they use to execute against those objectives. This is a big area of inefficiency that companies have sustained for a long time,” says Chris, “and I think the past sort of three years of disruption have really given a lot of companies a wake up call that actually this is an area they need to put more focus on.”
So how do businesses close that gap? According to Chris, the technology and workforce practices imperative is to invest in capabilities that can more easily provide clarity and visibility around responsibilities. “We know employees want the ability to more easily and continuously align with each other and around their key projects. They also want ways to do more agile planning, more agile and granular resource optimization, resource management.”
Recommendation 3: Ensure Employees Have the Data and Workflows They Need
Empowering employees with the data and workflows they need to get quality work done isn’t just an important way to improve the performance of your business; it also may dictate how well you are able to avoid talent attrition. According to research Chris has undertaken at S&P Global Market Intelligence, professional services individuals are more likely to be tech savvy than the average employee, and are therefore more likely to be prioritizing the experience of working in and of different tools.
“Employees want to know that they have the right data and the workflows to ensure stronger decision-making, stronger project and financial management around their key initiatives,” says Chris. “We know from our research that technology has become very prominent as a driver of positive workforce engagement.” Chris cites employee engagement survey data that shows that the quality of the data tech stack that employees work in and out of is “the second strongest driver of overall positive engagement.”
“We know as a follow on from that that a more engaged workforce leads to across the board better outcomes, it correlates strongly with improved productivity, with a stronger sense of belonging in an organization, with stronger investment in upskilling opportunities and career development.” This can lead to further downstream impacts like improving client satisfaction and reducing customer churn.
Considering this, Chris recommends that “companies should really be thinking about what the workflows, the collaboration, and the reporting capabilities are that can ground stronger discussion between your delivery and non-delivery roles.”
Learn More About the Technology Imperative Services Organizations Share
To hear more from Chris Marsh on the topic of resilience and technology trends, be sure to watch the on-demand webinar “The Technology Imperative for Professional Services: Consolidate With the Full Project Lifecycle in Mind” – in this panel discussion, Chris is joined by Ken Ringdahl, CTO at Kantata, and Grant Anderson, Director, Consulting Operations at Vizient to talk about how the enterprise software landscape is changing, how decision-makers in the professional services industry should be thinking about and taking advantage of this change, and much more.