Winning the “War for Talent” in the Professional Services Industry

January 5, 2018      By Ultimate Software

Keeping and attracting hot talent is a challenge in the professional services industry

professional services talentThe professional services industry is highly dependent upon people as its biggest revenue driver, making it crucial for firms to retain and nurture their high performers and high-potential employees. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult for professional services HR leaders to do so. But with cash flow, project staffing, and customer satisfaction on the line, HR leaders must continue finding ways to put their own people first to boost engagement, productivity, and retention.  This blog post will help you to start winning the war for talent.

Consider these statistics: The industry currently employs more than nine million Americans and has less than a 2.8% unemployment rate, yet attrition has risen to 12.9%—the highest it’s been since the Great Recession. It’s a candidate-driven market with fierce competition.

Here are several key initiatives professional services HR leaders should consider implementing to help improve the employee experience (and, therefore, the bottom line).

Ongoing Training Drives Engagement

People are the primary assets for professional business firms, and they want to know their employers are invested in them. As training and development programs continue to improve and become more available and intuitive, spending has jumped, hitting the highest growth rate in nearly a decade in 2015. And it’s not surprising, considering that effective training is a proven driver of engagement and satisfaction, combating workplace boredom, and contributing to an increased overall sense of value. Employee development is also particularly beneficial for professional services firms, who can then leverage the increased aptitudes and skill sets of individual employees.

Leadership Planning to Keep A-Players on the Team

While employees leave companies for a variety of reasons, it’s often due to the desire to move up—either in responsibility or in salary. Increases of more than 10% are not uncommon when changing jobs, compared with an overall average of just 0.8% of real hourly earnings increases from June 2016 to June 2017. Some commentators even suggest employees change jobs every two years to maximize long-term salary growth.

The best way to combat this tendency is for professional services HR leaders to commit to transparent leadership development within their firms. Creating a proactive, executable strategy for professional growth and career advancement within the organization encourages retention by outlining development opportunities while decreasing the risks of talent gaps.

Measure Employee Satisfaction

Considering the extremely high cost of replacing even a single valuable employee, it’s also imperative for HR leaders in professional services to keep an active pulse on employee sentiment, to monitor red flags and pinpoint flight risks before it’s too late.

Sophisticated survey technologies utilize advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to uncover employee sentiment in real time. By interpreting a combination of quantitative and open-ended survey responses, these solutions can accurately pinpoint the topics most important to employees and decipher their true feelings. Specific, data-based, actionable insights are invaluable for improving satisfaction, giving professional services HR leaders a real edge when it comes to improving retention and performance.

By incorporating these initiatives and solutions, HR leaders are supported in their strategic efforts to combat industry pressure and improve their organization’s key performance indicators KPIs. Professional services firms face unusual challenges, but these tools and strategies can help nurture high achievers, develop future leaders, and boost engagement and retention, all while streamlining payroll and HR intricacies and generating accurate visibility into compliance, staffing, and analytics.


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar LIBT on February 12, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Amazing post! I truly agree with the above mentioned key initiatives professional services HR leaders should consider implementing to help improve the employee experience. Thanks for sharing all the facts in details. It was very interesting & helpful.

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