Five tips to manage talent effectively in consulting

According to an Oxford Economics report, replacing staff costs UK businesses more than £4billion per year. This is a significant figure and indicates a deeper problem that many firms are experiencing regarding staff retention.  

Consulting firms must adapt to the changing business landscape in order to effectively manage talent and avoid losing staff to competitors. One way to do this is to implement a robust talent management strategy.

To help your firm win the war for talent and respond to industry pressures, this article will cover the top five points to consider.

Align your talent strategy with your business strategy

Don’t just leave the talent strategy with your HR department, discuss it at board level. If the talent strategy is intertwined with business operations it effortlessly provides a broad overview of your talent needs compared to your projects planning, making it easier to select the right people for the right projects.

Taking this approach helps your firm be quick to respond to new projects requirements. HR can forecast when new hires are needed and start recruiting as soon as projects are won.

Value diversity

Diversity is critical in enabling firms to innovate and adapt to meet the changing demands of the market and clients. Employees of diverse organisations are 75 percent more likely to see their innovative ideas brought to life.

The success of your firm depends on your people’s skills and abilities to work together. The focus should be on building synergy by including different characters in your team with skills complementing each other.

When we think about diversity, gender and race comes to mind. We tend to forget about the different generations. There are currently three generations (Baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) working together.  Each one brings its own mind-set, work habits and technology knowledge so make the most of it by mixing their skills and knowledge.

Communicate with your staff

The best way to avoid losing staff is to not give them an opportunity to leave the firm. Open the lines of communication with your teams, and collaborate on project planning and upcoming activity. Additionally, give your team the chance to choose the projects they would like to work on rather than mandating activity. By making your team feeling included and appreciated it will increase loyalty and a sense of belonging, so too will showing you understand their aspirations and frustrations – ultimately reinforcing the connection between staff and firm.

Develop your people

Studies show that while companies spend time identifying potential leaders there is very little follow through in helping these future leaders grow.  Yet, one of the top reasons employees leave a firm is a lack of development opportunities. Your performers are more likely to stay if they feel they are being developed and add value to your firm.

In order to differentiate yourself, take the time to identify and develop talent within your firm. Development plans help you address skills gaps for project requirements and keep your employees happy by providing them with career advancement – helping them gain the skills they need to move into projects they want.

Make the most of your employee data

A recent IDC survey found 60 percent of consulting firms don’t have a talent management system.

Technology should play a central role when it comes to talent. A unified technology solution can help you get a handle on talent related data. You can have all the information you need on objectives, performance and training in one place to support decisions around who should be on your next projects.

By implementing a data-led talent management programme it will allow you to forecast your future needs. Look at your existing data to create a talent strategy linked to the operational strategy of your business. Who needs more training? Who is ready to move to upcoming bigger projects?

Rethinking your talent management strategy will ensure your firm receives three key benefits.  Firstly, aligning operations and talent strategy you will be able to manage resources more effectively. Secondly, including your employees in project allocation decision making and ensuring development plans are in place will make staff feel more engaged in their role and the business. Finally, going through your company data and furthermore, understanding it, will ensure you are coherent in your strategy and assist in advanced planning for any recruitment needs.

For more tips on building the right talent management strategy download your free e-book Talent Management for Dummies Deltek edition.