In Professional Services, It’s All About Having Mad Skills

It may sound like a phrase straight out of Urban Dictionary, but in the world of professional services, nothing is more vital than having a deep pool of “mad skills” available for clients. These mad skills encompass the entire range of talent attributes your employees need to be successful—not just hard skills but also competencies, behaviors, languages, certifications, and more.

Prospects that are evaluating professional services firms move quickly beyond sales pitches and requests for proposals to your talent base. Successful delivery of projects depends on the people assigned to those engagements, so prospects typically want to dig deeper into your team’s qualifications and references. The best way to ensure customer success, acquire new references, and sustain repeat business is to ensure you assign the proper team to each client based on the skills required for the project.

Unfortunately, some professional services firms don’t have visibility into each worker’s talent profile to understand which employees have the right mad skills to successfully deliver client engagements. The challenge for professional services firms is two-fold: they must record talent attributes and keep them up-to-date, and they must incorporate this information into their operational and planning processes such as project resource decisions, hiring and capacity planning, and execution of learning programs.

Successful firms have accomplished this with a talent management strategy that’s incorporated into their resource management tools and processes.

Talent Management Strategy

It’s not enough to manage talent data only during the onboarding process. At a minimum, professional services firms need a quarterly—or better yet, continuous—process for updating talent profiles.

Your firm should have a formal talent management strategy that documents employee traits and makes them easily accessible for hiring, performance enablement, project resource staffing, and capacity planning. Automate processes when possible and incentivize employees and their managers, who influence their development, to track their skill and career progression.

An operational solution that provides insight into talent attributes can help firms understand which skills are driving the most demand today and in the future.

Each of your employee’s skills, competencies, languages, certifications, and other attributes should be tracked as unique components that make up a comprehensive view of their worker profile.

Leverage Talent Attributes in Resource Management

Allocating talent solely based on availability, and not suitability, has a short shelf-life for success.  An advanced resource management strategy should leverage skills, competencies, certifications, requirements and more when determining project staffing. By incorporating worker talent attributes into your resource management tools and processes, resource managers can understand the current and future availability of in-demand skills.

Invest in Solutions that Provide Worker Context

Firms often utilize tools, such as project management or professional services automation, that only provide them with the ability to capture time and bill customers. However, an operational solution that provides insight into talent attributes can help firms understand which skills are driving the most demand today and in the future.

An ideal solution should enable not only successful project tracking but also automated, intelligent talent management. Professional services automation with machine learning allows firms to automatically capture and update worker profile information based on project tasks completed, worker feedback, learning courses, and certifications.

We are at the crossroads for professional services firms. Those that take the path forward in gaining visibility into their employees’ mad skills and enabling robust worker profile data will have a tremendous opportunity to seize the market, and technology is here to help.