In 2022, competition is top of mind for business leaders. Organizations are raring to provide the best services they can, and for professional services firms, this means hiring, developing, and retaining top talent.
A skills-based approach to talent management can help firms keep up with today’s rapidly evolving world. Managers are using skills tracking to identify skill gaps, recruit ideal candidates, and uplift current talent. Skill development has taken on a new importance, with 60% of HR leaders saying it’s their number one priority for 2022.
A skills-based approach to resource management
A focus on skills can help organizations tackle a key talent management challenge — effective work allocation. Firms don’t just need top-notch talent, they need to allocate these resources in the most strategic way possible. Firms that fail to allocate work effectively risk blowing their budget, stressing out their staff, and disappointing their clients.
Skills tracking provides managers the workforce insights they need to successfully plan, schedule, and organize their resources. With the help of HR tech solutions, leaders can use skill data to manage resources in ways that allow teams to thrive and services to skyrocket.
How skills tracking supports better work allocation
Skills tracking simplifies resource management decision-making and improves the work allocation process in key ways. See how below.
Match the right people to the right projects
As projects come up, managers are continually tasked with matching workers to jobs. A large and varied talent pool makes it tricky to zero in on the ideal associate for a specific project. Unsurprisingly, organizations name work allocation as their third largest project management challenge.
Skills tracking provides clear visibility of each associate’s unique skill set and every project’s unique skill requirements. This allows managers to strategically match people to projects. Decision-making is made simple and methodical.
A skills-based approach supports a holistic view of work allocation. Project managers can zero in on employees whose skills not only match project requirements but also complement the skills of fellow team members. This allows leaders to pull together competent teams that are prepared to meet every aspect of a project.
Ultimately, managers can use skills-matching to create teams with the best chances of success, leading to top-quality client work. This means more competitive services, a better reputation, and higher profits.
Encourage growth with mentorship opportunities
Skill demands are changing, with the World Economic Forum forecasting that over a billion workers will need to be reskilled by 2030. And many leaders are feeling behind — 40% of HR leaders say they struggle to come up with skill development solutions on pace with changing skill requirements.
Mentorship opportunities offer an organic and highly effective approach to skill building. Skill data helps illuminate these opportunities. When assembling teams, leaders can easily match junior employees who are lacking certain skills to senior associates who already have these skills. This helps junior team members swiftly expand their skill sets and become more forceful and versatile members of the team.
These learning opportunities not only strengthen the talent pool but keep staff motivated and involved as they build their skills and progress within the company. With strategic work allocation, organizations help foster the next generation of leaders.
Ensure the equitable distribution of work
When allocating work, managers have their eyes out for the most capable person for the task. But without a clear system in place for finding that person, managers in professional services firms often revert to handpicking employees. This can inadvertently lead to favoritism, as managers choose team members based on familiarity, habit, or personal connection.
Implicit bias can leave marginalized employees to the wayside. For example, women — and particularly women of color — are underrepresented in leadership roles. With skills tracking, employees are selected for projects based on their skill sets, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or workplace connections.
Skills tracking is an unbiased, data-driven approach to work allocation that eliminates favoritism so that anyone with the right skills has an equal opportunity to work on meaningful projects. With equitable workplace management, women and racial/ethnic minorities stand to gain between 4x and 4.7x their potential.
In addition to creating a fairer workplace, skills tracking encourages teams with diverse perspectives, paving the way for innovation and progress. Studies suggest that diverse workplaces actually outperform competitors and make higher profits, so it’s no surprise that HR leaders are making diversity and inclusion one of their top priorities for 2022.
Engage and retain top talent
In a candidate-driven market, industries across the board are facing employee retention issues. Professional services firms face their own retention challenges. For example, half of consulting firms say recruiting became more challenging after 2020, and two-thirds of them say they were short-staffed in 2021. Also, the legal industry continues to face a talent war into 2022, with record turnover despite rising wages.
A strong focus on learning and development can help organizations attract and retain employees. Workers are increasingly prioritizing skill development — for example, 97% of employees want to continue or increase the amount of time they spend learning, and workers are 2.9x more likely to be engaged when they can envision opportunities to grow.
Skills tracking empowers employees to take the learning process into their own hands. Associates can note their own skill gaps and play an active part in developing the skills they need for the projects they want to work on. Organizations can help employees create a career plan, and then offer them opportunities to build specific skills with training or mentorship opportunities.
Effective resource allocation is a top project management challenge for firms. Skill tracking helps firms optimize their resource management process by intuitively matching skills to projects, eliminating skill gaps through mentorship opportunities, and ensuring equal opportunity for all staff members to grow and thrive. By keeping staff engaged, skills tracking improves employee retention, so that companies can continue to cultivate a skilled workforce and offer high-quality services.
Ready to sharpen your work allocation process?
HR tech solutions can help leaders harness the skill data at their disposal and revive the work allocation process.
vi by Aderant’s Resource Allocation system is an all-in-one solution for staffing decisions and was built specifically with professional services firms in mind. This comprehensive software incorporates skills tracking, availability tracking, and workload management to help firms make informed work allocation decisions.
Want to know if viResourceAllocation is right for you? Request a demo here.