Effectively managing talent is critical for project-focused companies who rely on their people to provide value to the business. Leverage these ten tips to ensure your people are working at peak productivity, delivering exceptional projects to delight clients, and driving organizational growth. Each of these tips will help you manage and retain more top talent while consistently contributing to the overall business strategy.
Keep Communicating – Make a conscious effort to listen and talk to your employees about their frustrations and aspirations within the company. Take time to really listen; remind them how much you appreciate their work and value their contribution to the firm. Keep the lines of communication open by leveraging continuous feedback sessions and implementing project-based appraisals.
The Stars Are Aligned – Keep your top performers in tune with the current corporate strategy. This creates a culture of reciprocity and mutual understanding for both the company and its employees. You will start to see personal goals align with the overall organization’s goals.
Emphasize Strengths – Use development plans to address the weaknesses and problems of your employees while honing in on their talent potential. Consider strategically assigning employees to projects that will help them strengthen new skills. Utilize development plans, career paths, and learning opportunities to help employees recognize their strengths while closing competency gaps.
Think Like a Headhunter – When it comes to your top talent you must know who they are, what skills they possess, and their potential within your firm before someone else does. There are few things worse than losing an important project leader or an individual contributor at a critical juncture in a project delivery cycle. Think like a recruiter and cultivate your existing talent by including them in succession plans. Employees are more likely to stay with you longer if they understand their path within your organization.
Be More Inclusive – Research shows that 75% of diverse organizations are more likely to see their innovative ideas brought to life. This statistic stems from leaders embracing diversity and encouraging their employees to speak up about their opinions. Creating a diverse and inclusive environment allows employees and managers to embrace innovation.
Know What Success Looks Like – Define success by creating competency models. The ability to measure your employees’ performance allows you to determine their success within the construct of your company. Best-in-class companies don’t rely on subjective thoughts to determine their talent performance, but rather, they create competency models throughout their organization to build a model of sustainable success.
Who’s Ready to Move Up? – Identifying potential leaders is one step towards filling vacant leadership roles. The second step is to have a clear path to identify and develop their skills. Most companies identify but forget to develop leadership skills. Take the time to identify, develop, and refine your potential leaders.
Plan, Plan, Plan – The best thing you can do to face the competition for talent is to plan. Creating and building a robust and comprehensive talent management solution strategy is a big feat. Take the time to plan and build your talent management solution strategy for effective and sustainable success that flows from within.
Embrace Data – Big Data seems overwhelming, but with the help of a unified technology solution, it can be a manageable and powerful tool to fuel the success of your company. Having a unified HR technology solution can help you handle talent-related data and provide straightforward and powerful analytics utilized in all stages of the talent management strategy.
Reduce Turnover, But Do It Right – Low turnover sounds great, but make sure that the small number of people leaving are not your best people. Turnover is expensive, but no matter the size, make sure that the attrition of your best talent stays low. Top performers are difficult to replace and can have a material impact on your project delivery
In life we are constantly looking for as many guarantees as possible. We are turning to predictive analytics to anticipate successful hiring, employee and manager behavior, etc. We are consuming massive amounts of data, reviews, and research when we buy items to ensure we are getting quality for our money. We are even looking up reports on people we are considering dating.
We should strive to be as certain as possible whenever we can, and make well-informed decisions, especially regarding people. With that said, studies continues to show how critical Learning and Development are towards retaining and engaging talent yet only 14% of firms report using a Learning Management System (LMS) according to the 40th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Report.
A recent EdAssist study indicates the following. When asked to choose between two similar jobs, nearly 60 percent of Millennials would pick the job with strong potential for professional development over one with regular pay raises.
So, why does this large gap exist? There seems to be a common misconception that the Learning function is one of the most expensive functions for HR to build and maintain. In fact, the Clarity Report indicates that 40% of respondents view developing and implementing Learning as one of the top three most expensive HR-related processes.
Despite having this viable solution to mitigate engagement and retention issues, firms don’t have an understanding of to afford a Learning Management System and even see a significant return from it. Keep reading to gain a full understanding of just how affordable this solution is, and how quickly your firm can be on the path to mitigating such challenges.
Generally speaking, there have several misconceptions firms have about implementing Learning:
Myth #1: We need to hire an LMS Administrator. An LMS Administrator’s salary can range from $50,000 to $75,000 base salary (or higher) plus 30% burden = $65,000 – $97,500. We simply cannot afford that.
Truth- We absolutely do not need a dedicated LMS resource to get the Learning function up and running. With the assistance of Deltek’s highly talented implementation team, this process is quite easy (and quick). After configuring the LMS, we can have access to powerful e-learning content less than one day later.
Myth #2: In addition to finding the LMS Administrator, we need time to build a full Learning function. On the e-learning side, it can take 1-2 weeks to build just one course.
Truth- As noted above, we have a solution to having a full library of content that we can access within a day of completing our LMS configuration. We do not need to have in-house expertise in building e-learning courses.
Myth #3: We have to plan Learning tracks in order to have a sophisticated model, and we just do not have time for that level of planning.
Truth- Yes, it is preferable to have Learning paths and a well-thought out strategy and plan for Learning; however, like most things, implementing this in phases is a great approach. With this in mind, simply getting great Learning assets in front of our staff is a significant first step that can provide immediate return. Paths can be developed in phase two, but why not get excellent material in our employees’ hands now?
The Promised Solution
Deltek has invested in a partnership with a premier 3rd party Learning content provider specifically focused on project-based businesses. Access to the full LMS along with a bundle of over 130 powerful e-learning courses can cost less on a per employee per year basis than taking that employee out to lunch one time during the year.
Yes, let me state that again. For what we would spend on an employee and a manager going to a nice lunch to thank the employee for his/her contributions (including meal and tip), that employee could instead have access to nearly 200 hours of project-based e-learning training, along with a robust LMS that tracks Learning history, certifications, and much more. This content includes: Project Management training, PMBOK training, Leadership, Compliance, HR Essentials, and more. So…a couple Turkey Reubens, iced teas, desserts and tip for that employee and manager, or nearly 200 hours of e-learning content access for the employee? Tough call, because you really can’t overestimate the value a good Reuben has on retention.
Let’s look at this one more way. If we failed to retain just one key member of our organization (perhaps an Engineer in this scenario), and had to pay a 3rd party recruiting fee to replace him/her, at a typical 25-30% fee on first year’s salary, we may be spending $25,000 or more on one employee replacement fee. With proof that Learning and Development fuel engagement and retention, what if we could spend roughly a third of this and have an LMS and nearly 200 hours of content to engage our entire workforce?
We generally don’t budget for these recruiting fees, yet they eat away at the bottom line. These extraneous Acquisition costs, generally unplanned, are paid frequently by firms like ours because we “have to have qualified staff for projects to support our customers”. Why not spend significantly less, retain those key team members who have intimate knowledge of and relationships with our customers, and yield even more profit (or even use the savings on more engagement and retention initiatives)?
We stated that simply hiring the LMS Administrator represents a substantial financial commitment. For a typical organization, the LMS and content can be implemented at less than 10%-20% of the cost of that LMS Administrator’s salary plus burden. Can we still say the Learning function is too expensive to invest in?
We would rather reduce turnover, retain our key personnel, and improve productivity in our staff with a much smaller investment than continue to spend unnecessary costs. These acquisition and attrition-based costs such as: project, customer disruption and dissatisfaction, increased unnecessary acquisition and recruiting costs, additional onboarding, training and administrative costs, and survivor’s burnout are completing eroding profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.If you are ready to act and are ready implement a powerful Learning function quickly and affordably, please contact us today to initiate the process. Our talented implementation team is ready to help you implement the Learning function quickly and effectively, mitigating and solving many of your employee-based challenges.
Did you know that over 60% of employees feel that they are not provided with opportunities to learn and grow! (Gallup) Learning accelerates employee development, fuels prosperity, and is about much more than continuing education credits. By offering the right learning opportunities for your employees, you can ensure your firm is leading the industry and that your teams will be ready to take on the next new project.
Learning plans are an underutilized, but powerful tool. According to HR Magazine, companies that invest even $1,500 on training per employee can see an average of 24% more profit than companies who invest less. Learning opportunities go hand-in-hand with employee engagement. They increase the productivity of individuals, teams, departments or locations; prepare the workforce for the planned turnover of key leadership positions; and align learning with employee development plans and goals.
Providing learning opportunities to your employees will drive a variety of positive business outcomes across the firm from onboarding to organizational alignment.
#1 Learning and Onboarding
Learning plans should be used to support the onboarding process. You can shorten the length of time it takes to get new hires up-to-speed and assigned to billable projects. Help new hires feel you are willing to invest in them by sharing all of the learning options your firm offers. By focusing on learning and development during onboarding, you can help your new hires get acclimated to their role (initial or transitional) and integrated into your firm’s culture.
You also have valuable information regarding skill and competency gaps for the initial role and an understanding of how the employee envisions bridging existing gaps quickly. You may have asked about the new hire’s preferred learning style and how they best implement learning and knowledge gains, as well as their preferred frequency, style and methods for receiving feedback. Effective interviews and early new hire feedback sessions will help you understand what motivates them to succeed and what you can do to incentivize them.
#2 Connect the Dots between Learning, Development, & Performance
Want to have a serious impact on your organization? One of the most overlooked opportunities to increase engagement is by shifting focus to development plans during performance reviews. We all know the traditional performance review process. Employees meet with their manager to discuss the results of their previous year’s performance, and learn their new goals for the next review. How effective is this retrospective approach? Does is motivate your employees and project teams to do exceptional work? Probably not. Instead, focus on the future with a forward-facing strategy to help your employees recognize a tangible benefit.
Development plans, when leveraged consistently, can help you to facilitate alignment between your business goals and employee performance and growth. Learning and development plans help to prevent stagnation in your workforce, which results in increased employee engagement AND improved client satisfaction. As a result, you will be able to more accurately identify the key strengths (and weaknesses) of your employees and course-correct to utilize those strengths or address the gaps.
#3 Learning is Larger than Certifications and Professional Licenses
Many of the industries we serve have very credentialed workforces, so tracking and maintaining the certifications, licenses, and even security clearances needed can be a handful. Regardless of tenure, career path, or level within your business, your employees need so much more than certification tracking.
Leverage learning plans throughout the employee life cycle to address gaps, and to prepare employees for stretch projects and growth. As part of employee growth, learning and development plans should also be used to prepare an employee for a lateral transition or promotion.
#4 Fuel Prosperity and Support Organizational Goals
Learning and development plans wrap objectives together to ensure an employee has accomplished a set of variable items, including things like internal learning, external learning, certification, stretch assignments, and shadowing, on-the-job learning, and skill and competency gains.
Managers need to balance corporate goals with an employee’s personal development goals to ensure the company’s success. Once the manager fully understands the employee’s career goals, they can collaboratively create a learning plan that will assist the company in reaching their growth goals, but also includes training and development for the employee to reach their personal goals.
By leveraging learning and development plans, you will gain the competitive edge you need to win the next contract or project by keeping your workforce on the cutting edge of your industry. A focused learning strategy will help your firm to attract even more great talent by cultivating a development culture that helps establish your employer brand in the talent marketplace.
At Brilliant HR, we live and breathe Talent Management and the project lifecycle. These two important aspects of the project based business share certain synergies that are often overlooked. We are unique in that we have a targeted focus on solving the challenges that organizations like yours face every day and delivering solutions like Deltek Talent Management that provides the features and functionality to help you deliver even better projects.
So, how do you cultivate the project life cycle by optimizing your use of Brilliant HR/Deltek Talent Management? Not every project is identical, but the basic concepts are consistent and by using that as a starting point, we can begin the discussion. It helps to think of a project that impacts us every day, but does not require a formal work breakdown structure and where, the process and requirements are the same. I’ll use farming as my example.
With farming the cycle is well defined, simple, repeatable, and reliable with a clear goal to produce a harvest of natural, organic goods. If we reduce the process to the most basic steps, you have to prepare the land > then plant your seeds > nurture, fertilize and water your plants > harvest your crop, then repeat the process for a new harvest.
Granted this is a highly simplified description of what goes into the process of growing food, but it gives us a good framework of the project from start to finish. Project planning can be that simple, as long as you have a clear and repeatable defined steps. You have outlined your tasks, considered the risks, created a contingency plan, and have the proper tools to accomplish the desired outcome. .
Now let’s shift that life-cycle model to talent management. Brilliant HR Talent Management is a critical piece in any project because your people are at the very heart of the project life-cycle. Talent Management is where the project begins by identifying, hiring, and cultivating high performance teams and then retaining that top talent for future project positions. Without the right talent solution in place, your project could very easily crash before it even begins.
Similar to the farming example, let’s take a simplified look at what the Talent process looks like when integrated with the project life cycle.
Recruit > Hire & Onboard > Review Performance > Teach or Train > Develop
A Talent Management solution can streamline the process by helping you:
Identify and recruit top talent to build the high performance teams you need to win more projects
Select candidates that best fit the project position(s) based on required skills, competencies and certifications to take the guesswork out of resource planning
Onboard new employees faster and seamlessly transfer their data to your ERP solution without manually duplicating efforts
Ensure employees assigned to projects are up to date on their certifications and provided learning opportunities to hone their skills. This will help you consistently grow the value of your most important asset, while minimizing risk exposure on your projects
Review progress and provide continuous feedback throughout the process on performance and achievements, by using the solution to facilitate discussions and manage goals
These five easy steps can all be accomplished using Brilliant HR Talent Management and that is only the beginning. Once you have the basic framework in place, you’ll be able to implement an even deeper strategy by incorporating in-house learning programs, succession planning, career paths, and mentor-ship programs.
A great talent management strategy is like a road map, but in order to plan, execute, and measure the success of that strategy, you need to have the right solution in place. Think about it. Can you say today that your solution is enabling the success of your talent management strategy? Are you able to find, nurture and retain the best talent to ensure that you’ll be repeatedly awarded the projects your organization needs to continue to grow? At the end of the day, are you able to measure how successful your firm has been in acquiring and retaining the very top talent in the marketplace? If you just shrugged your shoulders, it’s definitely time to start thinking about what an integrated talent management solution could do for your business.
I chose to relate project planning to farming because it is easy to identify with the common theme of cultivation. Doesn’t this sounds like what you do every day? Finding, recruiting, acquiring, developing and cultivating top talent? If you leverage and maximize Brilliant HR Talent Management in this way, you’ll position yourself to deliver more successful projects! It’s often said you reap what you sow – so get to cultivating!
When weighing the pros and cons of what training options are available to you, I’ve put together my top list of nine ways to get the most out of a subscription-based product training platform. Read through each and hopefully you can come away with helpful ideas to consider when evaluating training options for your organization. Here’s what to look out for:
Continuous learning over time – traditional approaches to learning and training generally mean signing up for a live or online class, with a continuous learning approach, you can start and stop on your own schedule. While there is always a time and place for onsite and customized training, long-gone are the weeklong, eight-hour days of non-stop training!
Preferred learning styles – everyone learns and retains information differently. While some are visual, others may not, which is why a training platform that offers multi-modal learning options is so critical to users’ success. From live virtual classes, to on-demand recordings, infographics and more, you want a learning style that will suit everyone.
Expert training from product experts – you wouldn’t trust a doctor to fly a plane, would you? While both are experts in their own field, you want to learn from experts who build the product or solution you are ultimately trying to become an expert on. A learning and training platform should have curriculum content developed right from the experts themselves, not second hand content that may not be as robust as you need.
Hands-on workshops – don’t let the word “workshop” fool you. Workshops can be virtual and just as effective so that you can get hands-on and step-by-step training to get you closer to your learning goals.
24/7 access – sometimes everyday work can hinder your training schedule and productivity. It’s ok, we’ve all been and have felt like we’re racing against the clock to complete a training exercise critical to our job. Look for a platform that offers 24/7 access so you have the flexibility you need to meet your demanding schedule.
Right-Sized Learning – it’s important to remember that training content should be easily consumed and put into practice quickly to ensure that you transfer the learning to your job. Right-Sized Learning allows you flexibility scheduling and consumption of learning assets in your busy schedule.
Continuous content added – as product innovation continues, so should learning and training content. Just because you have mastered a module or other product add-on, doesn’t mean you have to stop there. A robust learning platform will always be innovating and iterating – just like you!
Public classes – having class flexibility on an ongoing basis is essential to a user’s expertise. With a variety of courses and available times, there’s no excuse that you can’t find a class to fit your schedule. Jump into a class if your calendar frees up and check-out the public class calendar frequently – you never know when a new virtual class may be added.
Learning paths by process flow – sometimes you just don’t even know where to start. A comprehensive learning and training platform will provide recommended and individualized training paths so you take the right courses and complete the required progress steps to ensure you’re learning course material, following the right steps.
I encourage you to check out the Deltek Learning Zone or as we like to call it, the DLZ. The DLZ offers a range of options to achieve your Deltek product learning objectives through multi-modal training so that you can learn at your own-pace, with the type of training medium that you learn best. There truly is something for everyone in your organization to become a Deltek product expert!
Every human, animal, plant and nowadays even some machines have the ability to learn. So what is learning? Learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. Researchers disagree on the attention span of a human. According to Statistics Brain, some think that most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time, although they can choose repeatedly to re-focus on the same thing, however, others disagree and state that a human attention span is as short as 8 seconds which is less than a goldfish.
Different people have different learning capabilities and pace. There are different learning methods. Some people learn better visually. Visual learning is a style in which a learner utilizes graphs, charts, maps and diagrams. Others learn better auditory. Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning. So what are the best methods to keep employees/students engaged during the learning period?
1) Use their devices: Use traditionally known distracting devices as educational devices. This keeps them more excited making sure you keep it an engaging session and not a lecturing one.
2) Gamify your classroom: Use games as a source of learning and quizzing your employees’/students’ knowledge. This makes the learning process more exciting and engaging for all parties.
3) Learning ownership: Empower employees and give them ownership of their learning so they understand how important what they’re doing is.
4) Explain to them the bigger picture: Show them why it is important to take care of the intellectual health and what there is in it for them.
5) Be enthusiastic: Be positive, funny and active. Speak their language. If employees/students see you as a human being who is on their side and trying to help them, they’ll look at what you’re saying through a different lens and are more likely to actually pay attention.
6) Incentives: Give employees/students incentives to take a class and if successfully passing they would receive an award that can be either monetary or for example tickets etc.
7) Experience/opinion sharing: Discuss different topics. Take employees/students opinions. Allow a conversation/ ideas’ sharing session. Maybe even a competitive game session through splitting them into groups. This improves team work skills and which could motivate some employees/learners to stand out among their peers. This keeps the learner more engaged and excited throughout the learning session.
There are different learning methods that you can use to suite different learner types. However referring to the points above visual and auditory combined methods create the best learning methods which also leads us to emphasize on the importance of communication and interaction between the different parties to ensure the best learning outcomes. This might differ from one culture to another. So which of the above do you think is a suitable learning method for your organization?