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Management of Change Series: The Role Human Resources Plays in Effective Change Management

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on March 08, 2024

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The goal of change management is to facilitate successful transitions within a company from the current state to a desired future state. This involves effectively managing the people, processes, systems, and culture impacted by the change to minimize resistance, mitigate risks, and achieve the desired outcomes. In every company, HR’s main role is to function as the “grease” if you will between the goals of the company and how the people in the company contribute to achieving those goals. 

According to an article from AIHR, HR plays a variety of roles in supporting change:

  • Being an active member of the change management team.
  • Being a coach to a manager who is a change leader.
  • Providing training on change management.
  • Helping to build processes the organization can follow for change management.
  • Leading the change as HR professionals.

Managing the People 

How do HR professionals help employees embrace change?

Companies are truly the embodiment of the people who work there. Each employee is both a distinct, individual working personality and a significant piece of the whole company. And because company leaders recognize the importance of their people, the HR function plays a vital role in the overall change management process. Communicating directly with leadership, HR helps people get ready for change by supporting employees throughout the change process, providing transparency, addressing concerns, explaining the reasons behind the change, and soliciting feedback. With employee buy-in, morale will remain strong through the journey of change.

Managing the Processes

How do HR professionals help engender a culture that accepts and supports change? 

Training and Development: HR identifies the skills and knowledge gaps that may arise due to the change and develops training programs to equip employees with the necessary competencies to adapt to new processes, technologies, or ways of working. They also provide coaching and support to managers to help them lead their teams through change effectively. 

Change Readiness Assessment: HR conducts assessments to gauge the company's readiness for change, including evaluating the current culture, identifying potential resistance, and assessing the capacity for change adoption. Based on these assessments, HR develops strategies to address any barriers to change.

Change Planning and Implementation: HR collaborates with other departments to develop change management plans that outline the objectives, timelines, resource requirements, and communication strategies for implementing the change. They coordinate with project teams to ensure that change initiatives are executed smoothly and effectively.

Employee Support and Assistance: HR provides ongoing support to employees during the transition period, offering resources such as counseling services, employee assistance programs, and access to relevant information to help them cope with any challenges or uncertainties arising from the change. 

Performance Management: HR revisits performance management systems and processes to align them with the new objectives and priorities resulting from the change. They may adjust performance metrics, goals, and feedback mechanisms to ensure they support the desired outcomes of the change initiative. 

Culture Alignment: HR works to align the organizational culture with the desired state by promoting values and behaviors that support the change. They may initiate culture change initiatives, promote collaboration and teamwork, and recognize and reward behaviors that demonstrate alignment with the change objectives. 

Feedback and Continuous Improvement: HR gathers feedback from employees and stakeholders throughout the change process to assess the effectiveness of change initiatives and identify areas for improvement. They use this feedback to refine change management strategies and ensure that future changes are implemented more successfully. 

Minimizing Resistance to Change

How can HR professionals prevent common roadblocks to change?

Suggestions from a Principal Change Management Advisor at Prosci are:

Getting in Early to the Process: HR must be present at the early stages of the change process. Often, team leaders, project managers and executives forget about the “people side” of change in their efforts to move forward. It is very important for HR to be there at the beginning of the change process to advocate for the employees.

Having Clear Communications: Lack of clear communications in companies can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings. HR will be the mediator between change management teams and employees, so they need clear communications to update people on the change timeline. In order to have a successful employee experience and keep morale high, communication is a necessity.

Getting Leadership Support: Leadership must back all processes in change management. There needs to be a clear vision for change that HR professionals can understand. Then they can relay change objectives to the rest of the company in a consistent manner.

Managing Expectations: HR professionals should manage leadership and employee expectations during change initiatives. With good communication and the right support, HR teams can manage expectations, preventing push back and increasing buy-in from all team members.

Explaining Cultural Shift: Many people comfortable with the existing culture become resistant to change. HR professionals can work with those individuals to show the value of the cultural change and how it will benefit everyone in the long run. This will take the fear out of those resistant to the changes and make the transition easier.

Leading an Effective Change and Getting Desired Outcomes

HR professionals taking proactive steps to avoid the challenges that come with change management can increase the likelihood of success in change management initiatives. Getting buy-in from leadership at the outset will lead to employee buy-in and increased morale. Furthermore, clear communication, employee engagement, careful planning, and ongoing support are essential for navigating change successfully. As HR plays many roles in supporting change, it is an essential part of any change management plan and should be included from the beginning of the process.


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What to Look for in an Outsourced HR Consultant: Tips for Professional Services Firms

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on September 21, 2023

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In my years of experience as an HR Consultant, I have seen many professional services firms struggling with a variety of HR issues. Let's take this one example for instance - the HR Administrator at a professional services firm has the responsibility of performing complete benefits administration for employees. She has found herself bogged down with benefit administration duties like monthly bill reconciliation, employee enrollments and terminations, and employee questions on coverage and claims processing, etc. She has been spending so much time handling benefit issues that she has not been able to effectively manage the employees’ performance and productivity.   

So, in order to handle this situation, this professional services firm decided to hire an outsourced HR Consultant to assist with Benefits Administration to complete the benefits lifecycle from open enrollment and plan changes to billing and terminations.The HR consulting services freed up time and focus for the HR Administrator to manage other employee affairs more efficiently.  

Determine Firm’s Needs for Outsourced HR 

Outsourcing has become increasingly necessary as HR professionals seek ways to reduce time and resources spent on transactions and administration, so they can concentrate on more strategic activities. According to an article on Essential HR Outsourcing Statistics by ZipDo, June 13, 2023, 56% of organizations have outsourced at least one HR task and 39.8% of businesses outsource HR functions to improve their focus on core business areas. Furthermore, 68% of companies accept that outsourcing their HR functions improved their employees’ overall experience. 

However, it is important initially to understand what the ultimate objective is for each professional services firm to determine how the HR consultant will help you meet that objective. To determine what services you will need, look at your main employee-related pain points and deficiencies as well as your professional services firm’s growth plan.   

Are there very specific issues that need pointed focus like Recruiting/Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations/Employment Law, or Compensation Analysis, or is there a need for an overall evaluation or overhaul of the HR function in general? This will help you determine if you need a consultant or agency with global HR experience or a more specialized HR professional, such as one who specializes in Employment Law or Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), etc. It is also beneficial to find an HR partner who understands your industry or even geographic area to provide more relevant and accurate guidance.

Do Your Research  

Once the outsourcing HR needs have been determined, then the hunt for the right Outsourced HR Consultant begins. It is important to research Outsourced HR Consultants that offer the level of service you are seeking based on the scope of the task(s) and desired outcomes for your professional services firm that you have determined based on the assessment of the services needed. Look for HR consultants who have a proven track record or reputation for delivering desired results. This can be acquired from client referrals and research from reputable HR-related or specific industry sources, like SHRM, HRCI, and industry websites, Glassdoor, etc. You should additionally consult with other companies in your industry for referrals.   

Establish a Budget 

HR leaders and the executive committee must also determine the budget designated for Human Capital Management (HCM). It is not always necessary to spend an excessive amount of money on Outsourced HR consulting services. You must take into consideration if the consulting will be on an as-needed General Services Agreement (GSA) basis, which will let you pick and choose your services or even come in to help you with specific projects and training topics. Some may offer the option to call when you have an urgent question or concern. Another choice is a full-scope project contract or agreement with pre-determined goals and targets. The available options per consultant will also help to narrow down the right consultant choices for your professional services firm. 

Get Proposals When Looking for an Outsourced HR Consultant 

We recommend that you request proposals from interested HR consultants. The proposal should include a clearly stated overall objective to ensure it is in line with the professional services firm’s expectation, specific details about what tasks they will complete, the steps involved in accomplishing this goal, estimated time for each task, and final completion target date, and estimated costs of services delivered.  

The HR leaders and the executive committee should compare the proposals and determine which proposal overall best meets the needs of the firm. Then they should conduct interviews to gather details about their services, confirm their ability and desire to meet the expectations of the company, availability, and costs, and obtain references. Be sure to give specific situations that your professional services firm is experiencing to see how they would handle those real situations.  

Find the Best Match for Your Firm 

When looking for the right Outsourced HR Consulting situation, you should have a clear understanding of your company's culture, values, and overall vision. It is very important that as you are vetting consultants, you should communicate this information to them to determine if they would work well with the structure/culture of your professional services firm. All of this should be taken into consideration as they assess and advise the firm. It’s important that you find a consultant that respects the culture you’ve built and won’t disrupt the current dynamic or morale.   

Get Ready to Start Looking for Your Outsourced HR Consultant 

Based on the same ZipDo statistics article referenced above, companies that outsource HR management can see an average cost savings of 20-30% and can save an average of 18 hours per week on paperwork and administrative tasks. Moreover, 60% of businesses with outsourced HR processes have been successful at improving employee morale. These statistics provide compelling evidence of the numerous advantages that come with outsourcing your HR functions. With these insights, you should be motivated and prepared to begin your search for the perfect HR consultant. Want to hear more about the Full Sail Partners’ Outsourced HR Consulting Services? Click the image below to get started.


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From Good to Great: How Strong HR Practices Propel Professional Services Firms Forward

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on July 20, 2023

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It is often the case that many professional services firms underestimate the need for robust Human Resources (HR) functions until they find themselves in a critical situation. Some firms may recognize the need for assistance but struggle to determine the specific type of support required. Here are common statements we frequently hear from clients:  

  • “We have purchased our new HRIS system and are ready to implement but we don’t have structured HR processes and procedures in place, so we don’t know where to start.” 
  • “We are a small family-oriented company that has managed so far with payroll, our admins and our executives taking care of the main Human Resources needs.” 
  • “The managers are responsible for addressing the employee concerns and needs for their departments.” 
  • “We have experienced so much turnover, especially in our HR Department. We need to assess our job descriptions and determine what we really need as a company.” 

Do any of these situations resonate with your firm? If so, it is clear that your organization would greatly benefit from the expertise of an HRNA (Human Resources Navigational Analysis). 

The Consequences of Neglecting HR Guidance 

First and foremost, let us consider the profound impact of operating a firm without an HR department or the guidance of an HR professional. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

  • The potential for litigation issues such as discrimination or harassment lawsuits. 

  • Low employee morale results from insufficient workforce engagement efforts, ineffective recruiting practices, subpar performance management, and undefined company culture. 

  • Non-compliance with company policies and relevant governmental regulations. 

  • High turnover rates due to non-competitive benefits and compensation plans, inadequate or unstructured training and development programs, and a lack of employee recognition initiatives. 

Statistics That Highlight the Necessity of Dedicated HR Personnel 

According to a recent 2023 article in LegalJobs, several HR statistics support the essential requirement for dedicated staff and leadership in managing HR functions. Consider the following: 

  • 43% of HR professionals find it challenging to recruit employees due to intense competition. 

  • 60% of candidates abandon job applications if they are overly complex. 

  • Nearly 30% of new employees quit within the first three months. 

  • 74% of new employees believe they have not reached their full potential. 

  • 61% of newly hired employees do not undergo company culture training. 

  • Onboarding processes have helped 71% of employees better understand their roles and responsibilities. 

  • Diverse companies are 70% more likely to penetrate new markets. 

  • Highly motivated and committed teams are 21% more effective.

  • 41% of highly motivated teams exhibit lower absence rates. 

  • 67% of employees value a respectful relationship with their employer. 

  • 84% of HR departments believe that employee recognition increases engagement. 

  • 82% agree that recognition enhances morale and happiness. 

Build a Strong Foundation with the HRNA Approach  

Our HR Consultant can assist your professional services firm in addressing and potentially avoiding these challenges through the Human Resources Navigational Analysis (HRNA). This comprehensive evaluation provides your firm with a thorough review of current HR systems, documents, and processes, encompassing the entire employee lifecycle. 

The process commences with a discovery phase, involving gathering information through written and verbal means with key stakeholders. This enables our HR Consultant to assess your firm's goals, mission, leadership perspectives on HR, and the existing organizational practices and policies. Subsequently, a meeting with decision-makers is held to develop an action plan based on critical business issues and leadership priorities identified during the discovery phase. 

Next, our HR Consultant compiles a detailed assessment report that includes findings in the focus areas identified and provides recommendations to address the areas requiring further attention. Upon distributing the HRNA report to the client and reviewing it together, we determine the subsequent steps and how we can assist in implementing the recommended measures. 

The Benefits of Pursuing an HRNA 

Clients who have undertaken the HRNA process have experienced a transformative journey. They have found themselves more receptive to change and transition than they initially anticipated. Moreover, this process illuminates the significant impact of effective HR functions on a professional services firm's brand, reputation, longevity, success, and bottom line. 

If your professional services firm is eager to move forward with a Human Resources Navigational Analysis, click the image below to take the next step towards strengthening your HR functions and driving your firm's growth. 


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How Phased Retirement Can Benefit Both A&E Employees and Firms

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on April 20, 2023

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By 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 42 million people will fall under the category of people working that are 55 or older. So, this equates to almost one-fourth of the workforce in the U.S. While an aging workforce is becoming more prevalent in firms including those in the architecture and engineering (A&E) industry, this doesn't mean seasoned employees have to immediately say goodbye to the industry they love!  

With phased retirement, A&E firms or any professional services firm can help these senior employees transition into retirement while still retaining their valuable skills and experience. Not only are there many benefits for both employees and employers when implementing a phased retirement program, but leadership can also customize the plan that meets the needs of individual A&E firms. Going forward, let’s discuss this concept of phased retirement in some more detail and see how it will be advantageous for your A&E firm.

What is a Phased Retirement?  

As defined by Stephen Miller’s article for SHRM Online, “Phased retirement is an employer-based program that allows employees close to retirement age to reduce their working hours and transition into retirement. These programs may include a partial drawdown of funds from defined contribution or defined benefit retirement plans and continuing employer-sponsored health coverage.” 

The idea of phased retirement is not new. In fact, a worldwide survey of 1,736 HR Executives, by Mercer LLC, indicated that around 38% of these executives said they offer phased retirement which is more than double the 17.2% before the pandemic. Clearly, these executives see the slew of benefits for considering a phased retirement plan that will be advantageous for both employees and employers. 

Phased Retirement Benefits for Employees 

The following are just some of the benefits of a phased retirement for employees: 

  • Lowered Responsibility: Experienced or knowledgeable professionals tired of dealing with their current level of responsibility are looking for less-stressful roles or roles that are project-based, and those where their schedules can be more flexible. 
  • Guidance from Employer: As they see the unknowns of retirement fast approaching, these senior employees can look to their employers for a source of assistance on how to proceed forward in their ultimate career plans. 
  • Addresses Longevity in Life: People are living longer, so there are both financial and personal reasons employees close to retirement age may want to and/or need to phase into retirement, which includes continuing to save as much as possible before their career comes to an end. The days of guaranteed pension plans have been replaced by 401k plans and other sources of retirement savings. 
  • Offers Partial Retirement Earlier: Given the opportunity to reduce hours while still getting a salary and benefits allows employees to save money and invest carefully now so they can enjoy a retirement while still young enough to appreciate it.  
  • Can Test Drive Retirement: A phased approach to retirement lets senior employees ease into a new chapter in life. They get a chance to try things out before totally committing or “test drive” how retirement will work for them. For example, with a reduced workload, they will have the chance to explore other interests outside of work. 
  • Helps Adjust to New Life: Employees close to retirement age must consider making life changes that may be a bit stressful. Phased retirement provides a chance to see what these changes look like going forward without being overwhelming. Like, if married, starting with reduced hours is a handy way to help a couple ease into a new living arrangement. Or for those that are used to working all the time, they can see what it is like to have more time without work. 
  • Get an Encore Career: With changing responsibilities or the type of work that senior employees can take on whether upskilling or reskilling, phased retirement can offer these employees an “encore” career. This mindset allows for the eventual transition to retirement to be a positive one and has employees “go out with a bang.” 

Phased Retirement Benefits for Employers  

Employers also benefit by offering their employees phased retirement options. Below are just a few of those benefits: 

  • Knowledge and Skill Transfer: Seasoned employees generally have strong skill sets and knowledge that comes from experience, or the work ethic that can be transitioned to another position through reskilling or upskilling. Firm leadership needs to keep these valuable employees by granting pre-retirees the opportunity to continue earning income while feeling significant to the firm. During the phased retirement, skills and knowledge can be transferred to the next generation and the employees feel valued by their employer who works with them to provide a comfortable transition. 
  • Opportunity for Younger Generation: Again, skill sets and knowledge come from experience and are not learned immediately out of school. With phased retirement, transitioning senior workers gives younger workers opportunities to move up, making skills coaching by experienced workers vital. These younger workers will have the chance to get exposure to what the experts know before they transition out. 
  • Mentorships: Pre-retirees can offer their skills and knowledge and help with succession planning, mentoring, and training of the younger workforce. With phased retirement, there is time for this significant evolution to occur with no sense of major urgency. In fact, morale can also be improved when senior workers are given the chance to mentor their younger coworkers and see the value they still bring to the future of the firm. 
  • Ease of Transition: With phased retirement plans in motion, this facilitates a more seamless transition for these workers. With guidelines in place, and a mutual understanding of what is to come, there is no abrupt ending to their careers.  
  • Offers Employee Flexibility: Phased retirement gives pre-retirees the flexibility to retire on their own terms, which shows them that they are valuable and that the firm cares about them. When structured, firm leaders can help senior employees make a comfortable transition to retirement while not losing the trust of long-term employees.  

Examples of Requirements for Eligibility for Phased Retirement Program 

A&E firms looking to introduce a phased retirement program may want to start with determining eligibility requirements. Below are a few examples of such requirements: 

  • Minimum 5 years of Service 
  • Minimum Age 55 
  • Minimum Hours Reduction 10% 
  • Maximum Hours Reduction 50% 
  • Minimum 6 months, Maximum 3 years 
  • Minimum 20 hours/week 
  • Agree to retire at the end of the specified timeframe 
  • Arrangement must be mutually agreed upon 

Additional Items to Consider When Creating a Phased Retirement Plan 

Other considerations when exploring if a phased retirement plan option is right for your A&E are: 

  • Participation in the program must meet the needs of the department and the firm as a whole. 
  • It is not a guarantee of employment. 
  • Employees must be in good standing. 
  • Employees must adhere to company attendance policies. 
  • Employees have the option to accelerate their retirement date.  
  • As an employer you do not necessarily have to agree to a request if you have a good business reason for your refusal, but you must deal with the request in a reasonable manner and accommodate employees' needs wherever possible. 
  • Attention needs to be paid to the details of the transition. 
  • It should be presented as any benefit, so eligibility is like any other firm benefit. 
  • Program needs to be communicated throughout the firm and speak to “all demographics.” 

Get Started with your Phased Retirement Plan 

With a phased retirement plan in place, A&E firms or any professional services firm can navigate the transition of valuable, seasoned employees with ease, maintain careers and skill sets, all the while helping the next generation be prepared for the future to ensure continuing success. Each plan will be specific to an A&E firm’s needs, focusing on what makes sense for that firm and determining which roles it would apply to. If this is something you would like to explore further, feel free to reach out to our HR Consulting Experts. Click the image below to get started. 


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Top Talent Acquisition KPIs

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on January 19, 2023


Have you heard of doing a temperature check to help you gauge the health of your relationships? While Employee Engagement Surveys are temperature checks for the Employer-Employee relationship, equally important is the Employer-Candidate (Talent Acquisition) relationship. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are great ways to measure the effectiveness of a company’s recruitment process.  

To stay competitive in the Professional Services industry talent market for 2023, HR professionals and business leaders are reevaluating their recruiting strategies. Determining your company’s top talent acquisition KPIs is an effective way to identify critical strategies. KPIs provide data to recruiters and HR professionals on areas of improvement and show the value and ROI for specific recruitment actions. So, what are some popular talent acquisition KPIs for this year? Let’s look at 5 top talent acquisition KPIs for 2023. 

1. Time to Hire 

Unlike the Time to Fill, which measures the number of days it takes to fill an open position from the date a job requisition is posted to the date a new hire accepts the position, the formula for the Time to Hire is the day they accept the job minus the day the recruiter first contacts the candidate. According to the 2020-2021 Recruitment & Retention Report of AEC Firms, “most firms (56%) need between 30 and 60 days to hire. According to each firm’s listed recruitment and retention metrics, the median time it takes to hire a candidate is 43 days. This is higher than the U.S. average of 36 days according to SHRM’s Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, which is common for a technical sector like the AEC industry.” However, statistics show that the best candidates are off the market in 10 days, so employers are trying to streamline their hiring processes, trim down the number of candidate interviews and firm up their candidate evaluation process to make more timely and efficient hiring decisions.  

2. Application Completion Rates 

Calculating the Time to Hire requires that candidates are able to successfully complete their applications. The number of completed applications by prospective employees shows how well a company’s application process is set up. A poorly designed application process is either too long, too cumbersome, or too complex. Research has shown that as much as 73% of candidates will abandon a job application if it is taking too long to complete.  

Furthermore, longer applications are directly correlated to higher costs per applicant. According to Recruiter.com, an application that takes less than 5 minutes to complete costs around $4 per applicant. When the application takes 15 minutes to complete, the cost-per-applicant rises to $13.85, which is 65% more than the shorter application process. Consider these steps to improve your application completion rates: 

  • Evaluate your abandoned applications to determine the most frequent points of the drop-off in the applications.   
  • Ensure your application process is easily accessible and user-friendly. Almost 90% of job seekers will use their mobile phones when searching for new job opportunities. Most candidates are anxiously looking to start their new opportunity, so too many steps and obstacles create a delay in the process, so they will just move on to the companies that have less delay in their time to fill. 
  • Keep questions to a minimum. Save more detailed, position-related questions for the interview. On the application ask identifying, work history, and availability questions like the candidate’s contact details, availability, and work preferences (the location, number of days, and shifts they would be available to work).  

3. Sourcing Efficiency 

The sourcing channel metric gives insight into the effectiveness of a company’s sourcing channels. The formula for calculating sourcing effectiveness is (the total number of hires via the channel /total number of applications via the channel) x 100. For example, if you get 100 applications via LinkedIn and 12 hires, then your sourcing efficiency would be 12/100 x 100 = 12%. It is important to understand the difference between determining your sourcing channels’ Source of Applications efficiency versus their Source of Hire efficiency.   

This brings into question if the company values quantity or quality. According to a study posted on Jobvite.com, job boards yield the highest percentage of applicants, but the lowest percentage of actual hires. It also revealed that the most effective sourcing channels are internal hiring (18X more effective) and referrals (5X more effective). You’ve heard the phrase “consider the source.” This 100% applies to the talent acquisition process.  

4. Offer Acceptance Rate 

Sometimes the issue is not that you can’t find enough qualified or top-tier candidates to extend offers to, but that not enough are accepting your company’s offers. The formula for calculating the offer acceptance rate is (the number of accepted job offers/the number of all offers) x 100. According to an article in Inc. magazine, 5 reasons candidates reject job offers are: 

  • You’re too slow. 
  • You didn’t make a good impression. 
  • Your job description doesn’t match the role. 
  • You unknowingly raised a red flag. 
  • They just weren’t that into you. 

Basically, the longer you keep a candidate waiting, the more they will question their interest in your position and your interest in them. This also gives the candidate time to re-think if they even want to leave their current position. Often, managers have the mindset that it is the candidate’s job to impress them because the candidate is the job seeker, however, the hiring managers need to remember that they are the employee seeker and want to acquire the best talent available. Companies also have a need to fill a vacancy, and just as they have choices, candidates have choices as well.  

Yes, companies are encouraged to make their job descriptions stand out by highlighting the company culture and company benefits, but the actual description of the job duties needs to be as accurate and as detailed as possible so as not to be misleading. You do not want candidates to feel like they have experienced a bait-and-switch during the interview process. Sometimes there are even factors that the company has no control over.  

As an example, the culture of the company or nature of the position may have been revealed in the interview process or job offer process that confirmed for certain candidates that either the company wasn’t a good fit for them or that they weren’t a good fit for the position. The hardest truth to accept is that sometimes candidates simply lose interest in your company, which results in them moving on. The candidates may not communicate this with the company to avoid any awkwardness, so they keep the door open to receive an offer even though they are not intending on accepting. 

5. Candidate Net Promoter Score (NPS) 

The NPS is the number of people who promote the company minus the number of those who detract from the company. Promoters are candidates and former employees who speak positively about their experience with the company and would recommend employment there. Detractors are those that provide negative feedback and cause potential candidates to question their interest in the position and/or company. This illustrates the importance of ensuring that an employee has a positive full life-cycle experience at a company, from application to termination (whether voluntary or involuntary). Also, it is a reminder to be mindful and professional with all candidates, whether they move forward in the process or not. 

Is it Time to Re-Visit Recruitment Strategies?  

So, which recruitment strategies yield the top talent your firm needs to ensure future success?  

By using these key performance indicators in their recruiting metrics, firm leaders can evaluate which strategies are worth keeping and which are not beneficial. Need help with deciding which talent acquisition KPIs to focus on? Full Sail Partners can help with our HR Consulting Services. 

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Outsourcing HR Functions Can Help Professional Services Firms Meet Their Human Capital Management Needs

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on September 21, 2022

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The professional services industry is still currently facing challenges ranging from financial rebounds and technological transformations to the need for human capital management (HCM) adjustments. Specifically, some of the top HCM trends affecting the professional services industry are:

  • The expectation of mobility - Employees and job seekers are looking for companies that have the structure and technology to accommodate remote work. Also, many companies have redesigned their physical office layouts and performance management plans to account for remote staff.
  • Power shift to employees and applicants - The shortage of viable talent has shifted the supply and demand dynamics where the employees and candidates feel empowered to ask for what they want and have options if those requests are not accommodated. 
  • Struggles to find the right fit for positions due to skills gap issue - Due to the great resignation and the influx of early retirees, there is a gap between those seeking work and those actually qualified for the hiring needs. 
  • Workplace balance is no longer a “buzz” term or trend; it’s a real thing - The pandemic caused most to reflect on their priorities and many changed their mindsets, habits, and lifestyles to cater to the well-being of themselves and their loved ones, even if it involved making employment sacrifices.

What does HR have to do with these trends?

The human resources function is key to effectively addressing these HCM shifts. Organizational leadership is increasingly aware that attention to the needs and wants of their current and potential employees is pivotal to their growth and success. So, they are reevaluating their processes, procedures, incentives, and benefits to account for these trends, and outsourcing HR is a part of that consideration. 

What are the primary essential functions of HR? 

The primary HR functions are Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), Benefits Administration, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding, Employee Relations, Training & Development, and Compensation (Payroll/Total Rewards). These functions are all critical to addressing these impacting HCM trends. 

What role can these HR functions play in affecting these trends aka challenges? 

The expectation of mobility: 

Having an effective HRIS system to electronically manage and house employee data has become common and necessary to maintain efficient communication, consistency, integrity, and security. This also allows the data to be managed from any location where technology is accessible. 

Power shift to employees and applicants / Struggles to find the right fit for positions due to skills gap issue: 

Development and management of attractive, competitive benefits and compensation plans will impact retention of existing employees and attract top talent. Offering performance management and training & development that supports career development is a sign to current and potential employees that their worth is valued and sends the message to them that being with the company also brings and ROI for them. Employee relations and training & development are being redesigned so that the quality, availability, and frequency of meetings and training are consistent whether in-person or virtual. 

Workplace balance is no longer a “buzz” term or trend; it’s a real thing: 

Efficient benefits administration ensures that providing the best health insurance options, a fair and generous leave policy, a well-structured retirement plan, and additional employee perks are top priorities for a company that invests in the well-being of its greatest asset…its employees. 

“Total rewards” is the combination of benefits, compensation, and rewards that employees receive from their organizations. Where wages and bonuses are still important to employees, intrinsic rewards are equally important. So, recognition, workplace flexibility, and career opportunities provide them with that. 

Having a dedicated, experienced HR professional is a must for all professional services firms 

The HR functions needed to address HCM trends require specific skillsets and knowledge bases, such as: 

  • HRIS – Knowledge of HR software, familiarity with business analysis tools, exposure to technological functions and jargon
  • Benefits Administration – Foundation of most benefit plan designs, knowledge of benefit coverage laws and market trends
  • Talent Acquisition & Onboarding – Negotiation skills, data analytics, experience with recruiting software, social media management, sourcing experience
  • Employee Relations – Excellent communication and people skills, great listening and observation skills, conflict management techniques, knowledge of performance management plans, experience conducting appraisals and grievances
  • Training & Development – Project management skills, coaching skills, knowledge of and experience with training software, presentation skills, organizational skills
  • Compensation – Financial education background, proficient Excel knowledge, payroll experience, total rewards knowledge, ability to conduct salary analysis 

Furthermore, these descriptions just skim the surface of what’s required to perform these HR functions. The extent to which each skill set is needed or required depends on factors like the firm type, size of the firm, and firm goals. Surprisingly, some professional services firms have designated a payroll manager or executive for the task of performing these HR duties in addition to their primary responsibilities. Yet, to be most effective in addressing these HCM trends, these professional services firms need a dedicated, experienced HR professional. 

How can outsourcing HR functions help professional services firms? 

HR outsourcing is the use of an outside service to handle some or all of a firm’s HR tasks. Many firms have designated teams within the HR department to handle the different functions. Often, though, smaller organizations (100 employees or less) don’t have the physical capacity or financial ability to support multiple people performing those duties or even one full-time dedicated HR person to work in a generalist capacity. Moreover, firms that are not necessarily small but are transitioning into larger organizations, and may be assessing their needs, may want to slowly grow their core teams.   

Outsourcing HR functions can provide the necessary resources without requiring the full commitment of new employees. Especially in cases where an executive has been the designated HR professional, outsourcing HR functions will allow that business leader to focus on core business processes. Also, the employees will appreciate having a person who is specialized in employee-related issues and is not a direct decision-maker in their career trajectory. Finally, HR consultants can be an additional resource to professional services firms by providing additional support, guidance, and advice in areas where there may be a skills gap, knowledge gap or even a lack of time and resources. 

Outsourcing HR functions has many pros to help meet HCM needs 


  • Access to HR expertise 
  • Saves money because firms don’t have to hire new full-time employees 
  • Opens access to additional benefits 
  • HR connections can lead to lower cost benefits and access to other global resources 
  • Maximizes compliance 
  • Minimizes legal risks 


  • Leadership may feel a lack of control 
  • Might feel impersonal to employees 
  • Risks with intellectual property access 
  • Service quality control  

Undoubtedly, every professional services firm requires certain functions that are focused on HR needs/wants and provides a neutral, trusted and knowledgeable resource that supports both the firm’s and the employees’ well-being. To address the shifting Human Capital Management trends in the present and future of the professional services industry, HR professionals are a necessity. For those firms that are not able or do not want to hire a designated HR professional to handle these significant HR functions, outsourced HR is the right choice to meet these changing HCM needs. Click the image below to learn more and see if this is an option for your firm.

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Tips to Address Top HR Challenges from the 43rd Deltek Clarity Study

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on August 24, 2022

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Finding, recruiting and retaining top talent affects nearly every part of architecture and engineering (A&E) firms, as evident in the 43rd Deltek Clarity Study. In a previous blog article, we dove into the specific human capital management (HCM) challenges. Today’s focus will be on sharing tips that A&E firms can use to address those challenges.  


Acquisition & Retention Connection 

The number one initiative that respondents to the survey were considering taking was improving the opinion of their organization in the marketplace to attract better talent. Firms should be thinking about their brand as a sum total of all of their processes, actions and culture. It’s not just a mission statement on a website. It’s critical to start with the firm’s brand and ensure it’s authentic.  

How well does the firm’s brand display authenticity and empathy, as well as showcase modernization with firm processes and utilizing technology? Also, it’s not enough to just focus on the brand. Firms have to additionally communicate the brand outwardly, and not just by the firm’s employees, but by clients and customers who know other people in the marketplace.  

Another tip is to review the firm’s hiring process. Ensure everybody in the hiring process understands the experience the firm’s trying to create and follows through on. Candidates will drop out of the process and/or won’t accept positions because they weren’t treated well throughout the process. The firm should create an experience specific to the acquisition process. Everyone involved in the firm’s hiring process should understand the critical role that getting the offer accepted depends upon creating a great experience and following through on commitments. Every touchpoint with the candidate is a way to demonstrate the firm’s culture. 

Onboarding talent effectively is another tip to address HCM challenges. According to the Clarity study, it’s taking around four months from when the job is posted to the new hire producing billable work. So, the better the firm is at its onboarding program not only will that new hire be quicker to bill work, but it’s also a key time to keep that person’s retention and engagement high. New hires are already excited about coming onboard, and if there’s a lag in their training and they don’t feel like they’re having an impact on the business, their engagement level can drop quickly.  

Acquisition and retention are connected. If the firm can create a good retention strategy, especially through branding, it will have less need for acquisition and thus fewer acquisition costs. This frees up more budgets to continue with retention and engagement programs which in turn helps increase retention.  

Culture & Communication 

One of the most important things to the modern workforce is relationships, specifically, relationship-focused employment experiences. So how do A&E firms get to that? Here are a few strategies: 

  • Continuous Feedback Discussions – The relationship between employee and manager is pivotal.  Annual performance reviews can be expensive and not many people get a lot out of them. Firms should maybe at least supplement their annual review process with continuous feedback discussions. These are times when people can connect frequently and start to feel value.  
  • Pulse Surveys – Pulse surveys are a way to demonstrate an interest in employees’ perspectives. 
  • Authenticity & Empathy – The modern workforce craves this, and this can be demonstrated through continuous feedback discussions and frequent interactions between employees, project teams, project managers and direct supervisors. People want to work for somebody they connect with, somebody they align with, and it’s never been more important. From a modernized performance management perspective, firms should implement processes that allow for frequent connection and allow opportunities to display authenticity and convey empathy. 
  • News & Information – Employees desire company news and information and want to know how the firm is doing. They also want to know where they stand. In the absence of information, people create their own, and when they don’t know how the firm is doing, they start to think that maybe things aren’t going well. How can the firm create a great culture and engagement by just making sure it’s transparent as possible? Furthermore, how can the firm make sure that information is shared frequently and consistently? 

Modern Performance Management Tools 

Three modern performance management tools include continuous feedback, continuous goal management and recognition. Below is a summary of each. 

  • Continuous Feedback – Good continuous feedback discussions are not just “check-ins” but are opportunities to drive goal discussions, career development discussions, and improve engagement and retention. They can also serve as an opportunity to recognize people in a one-on-one setting. They are very highly desired by the modern workforce and can replace or supplement the appraisal process.  
  • Continuous Goal Management – This approach removes the time box traditionally associated with annual goals which is not how people work. Instead, this approach focuses purely on the alignment of the employee and the firm, driving them both mutually forward.  
  • Recognition – This is key to engagement, retention and boosting productivity, morale and happiness. When employees are recognized for good work, it releases dopamine in their brains and creates feelings of pride and pleasure. This then tells the brain that if they do more things like this, they’ll get more praise and recognition and feel this way again. As a result, the behavior starts to change, but be careful not to just recognize people haphazardly and constantly to a point where it’s meaningless. So, think about what a formal recognition program can do for not only the firm but from a brain chemistry standpoint.  

Learning & Development 

The two top initiatives for managing talent from the study were "create/improve success and career development planning" and "create/improve employee engagement programs." Here are some tips to take action on learning and development. 

  • Organizational Focus – Learning and development has to be a firmwide focus with buy-in from executive leadership. Managers need to promote learning, and time has to be devoted to it.  
  • Career Mobility – Firm leaders have to allow for career mobility. Retaining a great employee, at least in some aspect of the firm, is better than losing them totally.  
  • Development Plans – There should be plans for all levels supporting onboarding, employee growth and gap fills. 
  • Project Focused – There should be project-focused learning and development. Many survey respondents said that PM training is key. Firms should invest in that project management training. 
  • Upskill & Reskill – This strategy supports career mobility, improves employee engagement and retention and improves productivity. Watch this webinar to learn more about how to deploy upskilling and reskilling at your firm. 

Dig Deeper into the 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Report 

Hopefully, A&E firms will consider all of these useful tips to address their HCM challenges. To get more details on A&E firm HCM trends or other interesting findings, download the full Deltek A&E Clarity report. Click the image below to grab a free copy of the report along with a scorecard to chart the firm’s results. 

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Top A&E Firm Human Capital Management Challenges from the 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Study

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on August 10, 2022

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It’s no surprise that finding and retaining top talent is a challenge facing every architecture and engineering (A&E) firm in North America but what specific human capital management (HCM) challenges are there? How do firms compare to the industry and what do the numbers really tell them? This overview is the first piece in a two-part series that will dig into the HCM specific challenges revealed from the 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Study.  

Every Department Impacted by Staffing Shortages

Almost every area of the Deltek Clarity Study cited human capital management (HCM) towards the top, if not the number one challenge to growth. Many industries, including A&E, have been affected by the great resignation. Specifically, firms are saying it’s hard for them to win more business because they’re not necessarily certain that they can go ahead and staff projects. Hiring additional staff has become of paramount concern for A&E firms right now.  

The top financial challenges indicated from the Clarity study are finding and retaining qualified staff. This isn’t about a certain number of staff, but really finding qualified people that can handle the type of work and the different projects the firms have. This need is leading to more career development and training initiatives by A&E firms.  

Similar top challenges are cited in the project management area, including staff shortages and inexperienced project managers. So, how do firms develop project managers? How do they get the project managers up and running so they manage projects effectively? Part of the solution is hiring more experienced project managers, but other top initiatives include developing internal project manager best practices and investing in internal project manager training. 

Top Challenges for Human Resources 

The study asked what the top three challenges were for managing human resources. The number one response was retaining employees followed very closely by employee engagement/experience. Firms are realizing that they need to really become proactive in their retention and engagement efforts.  

No longer are firms just competing with companies in their own geographic region. With the rise of remote work, A&E firms are competing with other firms located across the country and talent is being recruited away from other areas. Other top challenges included career development, planning and performance management.  

Top Talent Acquisition Challenge 

The Deltek Clarity Study asked about the top acquisition challenges A&E firms are facing. The top response was the availability of good candidates in the marketplace. Based on this, it might be a good time for firms to step back to look at how they can change their practices or modernize their efforts to support recruiting.  

Specifically, this requires identifying what a good candidate means to the firm. The firm should ask what makes somebody who handles a role in the firm successful at it? Does the firm basically just review previous job descriptions or job profiles and reuse those? Has the firm really looked at what makes people successful in their specific role and in the firm as a whole from a culture perspective? 

After doing this initial analysis, the firm should evaluate what it is doing to diversify. Diversifying the talent pools makes sure that the firm is putting itself in the best position to find candidates that meet the profile developed. Also, the firm should consider what roles can be handled remotely. 

Firms should think about this from both angles – first doing a good job of understanding what makes people successful at the firm and then diversifying the talent pools to widen the marketplace. 

A&E Industry HR Statistics  

To give some idea of how a firm fits within the North American A&E industry, here are some high-level statistics related to human resources from the 43rd Deltek A&E Study: 

  • Employee turnover has increased a little from the previous year and is at 13.6%. 
  • Staff growth overall is up to 3.2% which means that despite a higher turnover rate, firms are still growing.  
  • However, offers accepted decreased and is sitting at 77.4%.  
  • Only about 50% of firms in the survey had more open positions last year, while this year’s survey saw 65% of firms with more open positions.  
  • The time to fill positions is becoming longer and longer, with 50% of firms saying it’s taking 60+ days to fill open positions.  

Gen Y Has Taken Over 

The Deltek Clarity Study looked at both generational composition firm wide and by management level. Firm wide, the Millennials (Gen Y) have taken over the greatest portion of staff making up 39%. It’s important to note that Gen Z is coming right up behind which really starts to play into how firms develop their culture and organization.  

The top-level leadership roles in organizations are currently held by Gen X, nearly 70%, but the study reveals that in the first to lower-level management, the younger generations are beginning to take over a lot of those positions. This is great because firms are starting to see new thoughts, new processes, modernization, and a lot of variety and diversity. A&E firms will continue to see this trend in terms of those generational shifts to the younger generation from a management perspective which will affect recruiting, retention, and talent development.  

Top Tools Used to Develop Talent 

Firms cited coaching and mentoring, external education programs, and leadership development programs as their top three tools used to develop talent. The very top method is coaching and mentoring. Firms should ensure that coaches and mentors are available to make the best impression on employees. Firms should not just rely on who has been at the firm the longest for choosing their mentors and should make sure that these mentors are equipped with the right skills to bring other staff along.  

Engaging Employees Too Late 

The Clarity study showed that 86% of firms conduct exit interviews, but these interviews are often too late. Many times, these type of exit interviews are not as effective for getting honest responses from the employees because they are simply trying to get through the exit process and leave the firm. Unfortunately, many firms are spending a lot of time on this strategy rather than on other strategies such as stay interviews or pulse surveys.  

Only 30% of firms conduct pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are quick hit surveys where the firm can get answers. They can be sent to the recent hires on their onboarding experience, for example. The idea is to gauge the pulse in real time throughout the course of the year.  

Dig Deeper into the 43rd Annual Deltek Clarity Report 

To get more details on A&E firm HCM trends or other interesting findings, download the full Deltek A&E Clarity report. Click the image below to grab a free copy of the report along with a scorecard to chart the firm’s results. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the second installment in this series that will share some ways firms can use this information to improve processes and help meet some of these HCM challenges. 


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How AEC Firms Can Stay Ahead of the Talent Game with Reskilling and Upskilling

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on June 01, 2022


IIn life, the good news must always be taken with the bad. In the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, the good news is that a massive federal infrastructure bill was signed into law that will help keep the industry growing in 2022. The question, though, is whether bad news will outweigh that good news for the AEC industry. Much like the impacts of the 2008 recession, according to an article in Civil Engineering Source, throughout 2021, supply chains, high prices for construction materials and labor shortages were affecting the entire AEC sector. So how can Human Resources departments address some of the trends that are being seen?   

AEC Trends and Tackling the Challenges 

Many leaders in professional services firms are tackling labor-related obstacles by evaluating their retention and talent acquisition programs. With the ongoing retirement of Baby Boomers, the increasingly technical (and digital) nature of work, rising wages and the “Great Resignation” of 2022, many employers at professional services firms are faced with skill gaps, problems attracting and hiring top job candidates and employee engagement retention problems.  

 Let’s take a closer look at each of these challenges:  

  • Feeling the Boom: With the departure of Baby Boomers, replacing the most senior and experienced professionals is an overwhelming challenge facing the industry. Most firms agree they can find new graduates, but their employment doesn’t replace those with 40 years of experience.   
  • Transform or Die: The pandemic required firms to rethink their digital adoption, but much of the AEC industry is still managed on paper including blueprints, design drawings, supply-chain orders, progress reports, punch lists, etc.  
  • Under Pressure: In the past, the main challenge was finding the work. Now one of the main challenges is how to keep the workers. Employers are feeling the pressure to raise wages or be forced with losing key talent. 
  • Gap-o-Rama: Graduates unfortunately don’t learn all of the necessary skills required for real-life work in the AEC industry. Additionally, with the constant change in technology, existing employees require learning new technology skills to stay competitive.  
  • Retaining Talent: During the pandemic, many employees re-evaluated what they wanted in life and from their employers. Many firms learned this lesson the hard way.  

Despite these talent woes, there is a solution for Human Resources professionals that is right up under their noses. Reskilling and upskilling are trending talent management tools that are being explored and implemented to address these challenges and ensure that growth stays consistent and progressive. Let’s take a deeper dive into what reskilling and upskilling are and the benefits each can bring to the professional services industry.   

Reskilling Versus Upskilling 

Reskilling is theprocess of employees learning new skills to move onto new roles within their current company while upskilling is a workplace trend that facilitates continuous learning by providing training programs and development opportunities that expand an employee's abilities and minimize skill gaps. The primary difference is that reskilling prepares an employee for movement into a new role within the company whereas upskilling prepares an employee for movement in their current career track within the company. Reskilling and upskilling are not just trendy or popular remedies. The professional services industry has found benefits for both the employers and employees, so it ultimately is a win/win. 

Benefits to Leaders 

  • Improves retention. Employees stay longer when they see evidence that their company is invested in learning and development. 
  • Keeps up with the industry. Maintaining highly skilled and knowledgeable employees keeps the organization competitive in the industry. 
  • Moderates recruiting costs. With the increasing costs of backfilling positions, reskilling might be a good alternative to letting go of current employees and hiring new ones with a different skill set, if the needs of the organization change.  
  • Attracts desired talent. Offering continuous staff training enhances the company’s reputation and brand image as an employer. 
  • Improves employee engagement. Potential and current employees want professional development and training opportunities in their job, and they will look for opportunities that provide these options. Upskilling satisfies these employee demands. 
  • Optimizes employee productivity. Improving employee engagement will ultimately increase productivity. 
  • Bridges the age gap. While generational differences can sometimes be a source of conflict in the workplace, when managed effectively, they can be a powerful source of innovation and adaptability.  

Benefits to Employees 

  • Feel more valued. When employees believe that the company is investing in them to improve their professional profile or give them new opportunities, it reinforces their loyalty. 
  • Have more opportunities for career advancement. Upskilling focuses on improving current employees' skill sets, usually through training, so they can advance in their jobs and find different roles and opportunities within the company. 
  • Increases their professional confidence. One of the primary benefits to employees is that upskilling can help to boost confidence anddevelop stronger, more capable teams in the business. 
  • Builds better relationships between employees and managers. As managers and employees collaborate on their employees’ career paths and provide leadership and mentoring during the training and development process, knowledge sharing, trust, and respect evolve organically.  

Repurpose Talent 

The bottom line is professional services firms are in the best possible position with continuous technological advancement, growing leadership flexibility, and external financial resources to successfully develop and implement upskilling and reskilling programs. Executives, senior leaders, human resources professionals, talent acquisition professionals, training & development specialists, or even HRIS experts, should join the upcoming webinar “Rebounding and Staying Ahead of the Game:  Attract and Retain Top Talent using Reskilling and Upskilling” on June 9th. During this webinar, find out what the so-called “Great Resignation” of 2022 is, hear case studies about other firms (especially in the AEC industry) who have successfully implemented these programs, and learn steps that organizations can take to develop a program that caters to firms’ talent management needs and goals. 



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Workplace Trends for the Professional Services Industry for 2022

Posted by Tasia Grant, PHR on February 02, 2022

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It may be a new year, but 2022 comes with a similar vibe as 2021 still dealing with the impact of a pandemic and the shifting workplace as a result. Change begets change, and successful professional services firms have had to go with the times in order to stay competitive with others in their industry. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the workplace trends for professional services firms in 2022.

Work Culture

The pandemic has most professional services firms evaluating their work culture and figuring out how to adjust their practices and policies to accommodate the necessary changes but not compromise the foundation of its culture. As leaders, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the company culture is and how this culture is perceived by employees. To attract and retain the best employees, the workplace culture needs to be attractive itself. In other words, it should be a win/win for all.

Hybrid and Remote Workplace

It is a fact that technology will be a constant part of the workplace culture going forward with online portals and systems in the cloud. Working remotely, which became a necessity during the pandemic, has become a trend that is likely to continue even when the pandemic is over. The hybrid work environment where time is split between home and office has become a shift in the workplace of today which HR will have to continue to manage.


Flexibility has become one of the most desired attributes of any company considered a “Great Place to Work”. It is not exclusive to the option of working remotely or in the office, but it extends to the workday structure. Set work hours are becoming a thing of the past and quality is valued over quantity. A professional services firm’s success with embracing autonomy boils down to trust with leadership trusting the employees to meet expectations and goals without the rigid structure of the past as well as employees feeling assured that they are worthy of that trust.

Prioritizing Employee Mental and Emotional Health

Leadership empathy is necessary to sustain loyalty throughout a professional services firm, therefore, these organizations are prioritizing employee mental and emotional health needs. With a hybrid and remote workplace, employers are finding creative ways to promote reconnection and engagement among employees. Also, benefit plans, EAP programs and policies on PTO are being evaluated to provide employees with support during these changing and uncertain times.

Multigenerational Workforce

Additionally, in most professional services firms, there is a multigenerational workforce to take into consideration. These different employees are working side by side on the same teams and the culture needs to understand and reflect their unique expectations. The newer generations of workers have different priorities for their workplace and their career. Their expectations are more flexible schedules, more regular feedback on performance from managers and more collaboration on projects. HR and leadership must provide continuous performance management to acknowledge high performance and provide incentives to remain on staff.

Reskilling and Upskilling

With talent shortages being a reality, professional services firms will be focusing on other ways to meet the firm’s organizational needs. Options such as reskilling and upskilling the workforce help firms with filling in the gaps. Reskilling is when new skills are developed from an expiring skill set that is no longer in demand. Upskilling is building upon current skills to enhance or add adjacent ones.

To do so, HR and leadership will be evaluating and revising the firm’s learning and development offerings. “Learning in the flow of work,” a phrase coined by Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst, has been gaining attention. Using this method, employees will access small pieces of knowledge to help solve skills-related matters that happen at work. This way, employees can learn as they work at their own pace, and using a turn-key Learning Management System (LMS), they can have access to content on demand.

Outsourcing HR

HR roles have become a lot more complicated over the years with technological advances such as online employee portals and cloud-based management of employee activities. To be more efficient, it has made sense to make the change toward outsourcing the HR functions to specific professionals that have the needed expertise. According to FinancesOnline, research has found that by 2024 the global market for human resource outsourcing is expected to reach $43.8 billion.

Outsourcing certain necessary HR functions will handle the burdensome administrative responsibilities of HR in professional services firms. These firms will not outsource all HR functions though. There still needs to be internal HR departments to manage employee relations issues and the other human elements of the firm.


Although not a new goal for professional services firms, there will be renewed HR effort to recruit and retain a diverse workforce including more workers of varying genders, races and nationalities. Bias in the hiring process is a well-known and widespread problem, however, even with the best of intentions, these biases can impact sourcing and recruiting decisions outside of the awareness of the recruiter.

Again, technology provides a solution to the issue of creating more diversity in the workplace. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), candidates can be sourced and screened objectively. AI recruiting software can even be programmed to ignore demographic information and socioeconomic status. Even more, human recruiters will be able to save time by allowing the AI to do the redundant screening work for them. When the bias is removed from recruiting, a more diverse workforce will prevail in professional services firms.

Diversity awareness is not only addressed with increasing the number of professional services firms’ employees with varying backgrounds and beliefs. Also pertinent to this awareness is the implementation of training, programs, practices and policies which encourage knowledge, education, recognition, effective communication, sensitivity and accountability in a diverse workplace.

Differentiation & Branding

Being evident about what the corporate culture is and what the company goals are is from what a professional services firm’s branding is structured. It helps to identify the professional services firm’s differentiators from the competition and the type of talent the firm is seeking. HR plays a key role in the reinforcement of the branding of a firm

Talent acquisition practices should always incorporate branding because it’s the first impression a professional services firm makes for prospective employees and has the charge of selling the firm's greatest qualities. Communicating that the professional services firm is aware of and keeping up with workplace trends is a reflection of how it treats its employees and also evidence that the employees’ opinions about the company culture are recognized and considered.

Follow the Trends

These trends have all become standard and are expected for professional services firms to remain competitive in 2022. They may be new to your organization, but many firms that have already started implementation are experiencing their rewards. So, stay at the top of the professional services industry by following these workplace trends to succeed.


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