Full Sail Partners Blog

Improving the Employee Experience

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 @ 11:13 AM

Employee Experience

We’ve heard a lot about the customer experience (CX) and its impact upon professional services firms. However, another experience that is just as significant to firm success is the employee experience (EX). The employee experience involves not only firm culture, but also the means used by firms to encourage employee success. Let’s take a look at what can be used to ensure an exceptional employee experience.

Exceptional Onboarding

It is important to set the stage for a positive new hire experience. Therefore, the onboarding process needs to be effective and efficient in getting employees to the point of being productive as soon as possible. In order to avoid overwhelming orientation paperwork, there should be an online onboarding portal which can capture all relevant new hire information. For example, solutions like Deltek Talent Management offer such a portal. Additionally, there should be a person assigned to each new hire to provide guidance and resources needed for a smooth transition into the workplace.

Performance Management and Career Development

Employees need not only independence to do their jobs, but also room for growth. Another key feature offered by a solution like Deltek Talent Management is continuous performance management. Employee goals should be managed constantly giving them a chance to meet goals in realistic time frames. Both employees and managers can then see when those goals are met and what the next steps to take would be. For the future, employees need to see what upskills or reskills are needed for a transition into a higher or different level position within the firm.

Frequent Internal Communication

Internal communication within a firm not only disseminates significant information, but also helps develop a culture. Employees should feel a sense of community with their firm and be connected to the corporate brand. Providing frequent updates keeps employees in the loop which encourages engagement and productivity. This is particularly true for remote workers. Frequent internal communication will additionally earn employee trust which ensures longevity.

Follow Through on Employee Feedback

Employee feedback can be gleaned in a variety of ways. It could come from a routine feedback survey or even discussions during goal review. No matter where or how employee feedback is obtained, it must be reviewed and acted upon to ensure an exceptional employee experience. Generally, feedback is given because employees want to see changes that will positively impact the firm. Following through on employee feedback thus benefits everyone.

Share Positive Client Feedback

One sure fire way to keep employees motivated is to show how they have positively contributed to their firm. After hours of dedicated work, employees want to see how their projects came to fruition or how the product they sold solved their client’s problems. When employees hear compliments, it boosts confidence and proves that hard work does pay off in the end. Positive client feedback should be shared not only with the employee but across the organization as well.

Employee Experience Affects Employee Engagement

It is a fact that employee engagement directly impacts firm revenue. With an exceptional employee experience, many more employees will stay engaged meaning more success for your firm. Furthermore, those same employees will continue to grow with your firm eventually moving into higher level positions. This will avoid the cost of future top talent recruitment and save your firm money. Start working on improving your employee experience today and let Full Sail Partners know how we can help.

Talent Management

Topics: Professional Services, Employees, Communication

A How to Guide for Working Remotely

Posted by Wes Renfroe on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Covid 19

With the recent health crisis of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we’ve noticed an uptick in companies’ interest in working from home. Therefore, important questions remain: What departments are feasible to work remotely? What services should be made available? How do you secure such an environment?

Setting up a Home Environment

The first thing you need to consider is if your employees are prepared to work from home? Do they have the necessary resources? Critical gear such adequate hardware and peripherals like full-sized keyboards and local printers may need to be provisioned and adequate internet connectivity both at home sites and the office should be evaluated.

Connecting to Work from Home

How will employees connect to work resources? If you are already using Office 365 or other software as a service then a good bit of the heavy lifting for email, files (SharePoint) as well as availability and collaboration (Teams) is already in place. Deltek Vision is a web based application and making it available remotely is a straightforward evolution our IT consultants can assist with or it can be moved to our Hosting environment. A virtual private network solution whereby each employee creates a connection back to his home office may be required for accessing large CAD or Engineering projects.

A new approach that Full Sail Partners and some of our clients are now using is Server and Desktops as a Service provided by Desktops2go. In this scenario, local desktops and file/licensing servers are hosted in the cloud and remote users simply connect to their workstation from wherever they are, and all workload/file access behaves as if the entire company is working from the same office. This solution also removes a remarkable load from company IT by reducing the need for purchasing high end servers and workstations for staff and provides a predictable monthly IT cost.

Other Considerations

Wide format drawings from a plotter are unlikely to work well from home. However, for drafts, we’ve seen some clients print to PDF, then use Adobe Reader’s ability to print out posterboard tiles until access to the plotters or print shop become available again. Office phones should be forwarded to cellphones or voice mail messages should be checked frequently to stay in contact with critical clients.

Keep Communication Going

From a managerial standpoint, we recommend frequent team and individual staff stand up meetings. Working from home can be disconcerting and isolating for some so additional consideration and contact may help keep morale and productivity up during challenging times. Full Sail Partners has been a virtual company since its inception with everyone working remotely. Please feel free to reach out to us to assist with your work from home needs!

Reach Full Sail Partners

Topics: Professional Services, Employees, Communication

Creating the Intentional Client Experience

Posted by Full Sail Partners on Wed, Feb 05, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Intentional Experience

When it comes to your clients, building strong long-term relationships is priority. The quality of these relationships can make or break your business. Most importantly, clients desire an overall exceptional client experience. Two main factors should be considered when creating the optimal intentional experience for your clients. First, culture is a huge part of how a client feels when interacting with your company. Employees that are motivated and in good spirits provide great client service. Second, having an established process in place for your employees can lead to improved organization and consistency. Let’s take a deeper look at the intentional client experience and see how it benefits your company.

Intentional Client Experience Begins With a Plan

Some of the best client experiences simply begin with a good plan. One that is authentic and meaningful in your communication with your client is important. You can simply magnify the client experience through touchpoints that each add up to an overall exceptional client experience. Many clients these days expect more than the basic customer support. They want to feel significant and satisfied when they deal with your company. The intentional client experience has a clear mission with defined steps leading clients to have a great experience.

Intentional Client Experience Takes Being Client Centric

You want your clients to have a positive experience pre- and post-sale in order to drive repeat business. So not just offering great customer service but nurturing lasting relationships is tantamount to success. By understanding your clients and their needs, you can predict how they are going to react to certain things. This knowledge will help you figure out key touchpoints to keep those clients on track. You can look at client data to understand buying behaviors and to see their areas of interest and engagements. Intimately knowing your clients, you can also track places of opportunities to enhance client service and experience.

Intentional Client Experience Leads to Efficiency

The intentional experience leads to efficiency while prioritizing client experience. It reduces face-to-face interactions without compromising how the client is feeling. Using digital touchpoints, your company can skillfully keep clients happy. You can anticipate client needs and establish protocols. For example, if specific clients want to stay up to date on your company’s activities, then you can make sure they are signed up for notifications. In knowing exactly what your clients want, you save a lot of time.

Intentional Client Experience Ensures Positive Client Feedback

By creating a client tailored service, clients are getting what they want more quickly. Intentionally staying on top of client needs will lower the amount of negative comments and complaints a company may get. If your company receives complaints, taking these and tweaking your intentional pathway can certainly help your firm improve client satisfaction and promote positive feedback.

Maximize Revenue With Intentional Client Experience

The intentional client experience is an efficient, needs oriented and positive scenario for your clients which reduces frustrations among your employees. By eliminating opportunities for failure and reason for complaints, employees are more driven to create that amazing relationship with their clients. Satisfied employees that continue to offer fantastic customer service with an overall exceptional experience helps ensure clients continue to conduct business with your firm thus maximizing revenue. With constant advancements in determining client satisfaction such as the Client Feedback Tool, every company should be able to create the intentional client experience.

Blackbox Connector for CFT and Vision Webinar

Topics: Client Relationships, Employees

Get Ahead of the Hiring Competition

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 @ 11:15 AM

Resumes

Recruiting top talent especially for project-based firms is a crucial and effectively a non-stop process. Since projects come and go, there is always the need for qualified team members to be able to jump in and handle them. So how do firms stay on top of the hiring game and get ahead of the competition? The answer lies in automating HR processes with a talent management system. Let’s check out some ways automation would benefit your firm.

Work More Efficiently

Automation with a talent management system helps both candidates and recruiters work more efficiently. Everyone has limited time, so having a fast means of scheduling interviews, matching job skills and quickly getting desired candidates on board is a necessity. Particularly when a project opens up, and a team needs to be assembled, time is of the essence. An automated talent management system handles the core HR processes for you, so everything runs much more smoothly. Additionally, good candidates that may not be available to work at that moment can be kept in a standby position which is monitored through automation.

Better Candidate Experience

Your firm’s chances of staying ahead of the hiring competition increases exponentially when job candidates are excited to work for your firm. With an improved candidate experience in the hiring process, top talent will feel confident that working for your firm is a good choice. Automated recruiting allows for communications to flow via email and follow up to occur in a timely manner. Hired candidates will also be on-boarded quickly and placed where their tracked skill sets are required. With an automated talent management system, candidates are left with a positive recruiting experience that will be shared with others that perhaps may become future employees.

Hiring More Diversely

Another plus is that recruiting automation ensures that the best talent is hired based on the needed skill sets for your firm. Human recruiting has a lot of bias and sometimes the same type of worker is hired. However, there are so many great candidates that can offer the team a wider outlook on handling projects. Whereas, automated hiring takes the bias out of the equation and only looks at the required certifications and job skills for working on projects. Studies have shown that diversity leads to a more productive workforce.

Automation is Attractive

From the perspective of both recruiters and candidates, an automated talent management system saves time and in the end money. Recruiters can connect with top talent more efficiently and talent has the opportunity to see what is offered quickly. Since projects need to be started as soon as possible and managed well, finding top talent is essential for success. Fortunately, automation is an attractive option for all parties to the hiring process and helps keep firms ahead of the hiring competition.

Talent Management

Topics: Professional Services, HR, Employees

Improve Employee Engagement with Training, Learning and Development

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Sep 04, 2019 @ 01:56 PM

Employee Training

According to Gallup’s most recent research, only 13% of employees worldwide feel engaged in their workplace. Additionally, only 33% of Americans are engaged at work based on a report from the latest State of the American Workplace. Without employee engagement, there is limited innovation and problem solving which leads to a dissatisfied customer base. Converting these uninspired workers into engaged employees is a must for a firm to be successful. A sure-fire way that firm leaders can do this is with employee training, learning and development.

Effective Training

To encourage employees to become engaged, managers must first show interest in their employee trainings. They should speak to their employees before a training to discover what they are looking to get out of it. Afterwards, they should take the time to talk about what has been gained from the training. Additionally, there should be a balanced blend of training options to appeal to a diverse workforce. Embracing technology is also an excellent way to make training enjoyable. Managers should know their people and what works for them, and with well thought out trainings, employees will stay engaged.

Constant Learning

Another way to keep employees engaged is to provide them with constant learning opportunities. One size does not fit all. Some employees like a structured lesson while others prefer an interactive approach which gets them more involved. There is certainly more accessibility to learning activities with technology so again using technology as part of the learning options is ideal. Additionally, offering employees a yearly allowance for professional learning is a great way to get employees engaged. The allowance could be spent on books, on online classes or even industry conferences.

Career Development

Another big area for engaging employees is their career development. Managers should sit down with their employees and evaluate what the future holds for them. They should be offered the opportunity to experience different roles in the firm, gradually being given more challenging work and responsibility. This entails daily learning of new skills to help reach the ultimate position with the manager’s help. From the manager’s side, this means aligning firm needs with employee aspirations. Knowing that their managers are interested in what they desire in their career path makes for engaged workers.

Worth the Time Required

While the time required to provide a balanced training menu, a variety of learning opportunities, and personal career development is high, the cost of losing the firm’s key knowledge base or customer connections outweighs the burden. Employees are a firm’s best asset and keeping them engaged should be a priority. Engaged employees work harder for your firm and ensure customer happiness so it’s worth it to spend the time to make them so.

  Deltek Talent Management

Topics: HR, Employees, Deltek Talent

How to Reap the Benefits of Employee Engagement

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 @ 01:37 PM

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the extent to which individuals are personally involved in the success of a business. Interestingly enough, it does not mean employee satisfaction. Employees can be satisfied in their jobs, but still not be engaged. The fact is engaged employees are invested in their company, and they have an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals, so they will go the extra mile for their firm.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Gallup firm research shows that 68.5% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their current roles. This lack of engagement costs U.S. companies between $450-550 billion in lost productivity a year. When employees are engaged by their work, however, there are higher levels of productivity, a boost in the company’s bottom line, better retention rates, an increased sense of health and well-being and happier customers.

It is important that businesses create the conditions to engage employees. Doing so provides valuable loyalty inspiring experiences which will in the end drive profits. The best business leaders realize that an engaged workforce can propel innovation, increase performance, and grow the organization.

9 Key Areas of an Employee Engagement Strategy

  1. Purpose – This is the thing that drives the firm forward. A sense of purpose is crucial to creating the emotional bond between employees and their work. With a specific mission and clear company values, employees will become engaged.
  2. Communication – The emotional component of communication speaks to the basic human need to feel valued. When employees receive proper, frequent and constructive communication, they feel in the loop which establishes trust. It is critical to not rely too heavily on email in communication.
  3. Health and wellness – A Gallup study found 62% of engaged employees felt work positively affected their physical health. Established health and wellness campaigns play a role in creating emotional connections. Again, these emotional connections engage employees.
  4. Workspace and environment – How companies set up employee workspaces determines the feel of the environment. With functional and inspirational workspaces, a sense of pride is created along with a desire for employees to be there. Wanting to be at work increases performance.
  5. Well-defined roles – Defining roles connects the company’s mission with its employees’ daily activities. Firms must show how each employee’s efforts contribute to the overall mission. This identifies how each individual employee is thus responsible for the ultimate success of the firm.
  6. Relationship with colleagues – Numerous studies have shown that firms where friendships are common have more engaged employees and better business. Gallup research even found that people with a self-described best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged. Relationships create another emotional connection to the firm.
  7. Recognition and incentives – The act of being recognized for individual efforts makes employees feel like valued team members and creates another emotional connection. Also, certain monetary incentives like profit sharing activate an emotional response with a vested interest in making a profit. Engaged employees will financially benefit from their hard work.
  8. Buy-in from managers – According to SHRM, employees who trust their managers appear to have more pride in their firm. They are more likely to feel that they are applying their talents for both their own success and that of the organization. Management buy-in to encourage employee engagement is a necessity which goes hand in hand with frequent communication.
  9. Personal growth and development – Personal growth and development is the final emotional component that will support employee engagement. Employees need to know that they can advance in their firm, and they want opportunities for education and training. Seeing how they can progress in their contribution to the firm’s mission will also help maintain engagement. 

Benchmarking Employee Engagement

Having engaged employees is essential to a successful business. Creating and implementing an effective employee engagement strategy is crucial as well. What’s left to consider is how to benchmark the employee engagement. Using an employee engagement survey, firms can determine the types of activities employees want to participate in as well as their thoughts on the state of the workplace. Listening to the voices of your employees and sharing what you have learned will continue to encourage employee engagement and let your firm reap its benefits.

Employee Engagement  

Topics: HR, Employees

How Do You Measure the Success of Your Firm’s Talent Management?

Posted by Jennifer Renfroe on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

 

Talent Management Many people don’t realize that talent management is a key business strategy and is vital to a firm’s success. It begins with recruiting potential hires and follows employees throughout their entire life cycles with a firm. Since talent management has such a great financial impact on a firm, talent metrics should be used to show return on investment and to make informed business decisions. So, which metrics are the most significant?

5 Important Talent Management Metrics 

  1. Cost to Hire

It is very expensive to hire a new employee. Up front, you have ad placement and sourcing costs. Additionally, there is the time spent by the recruiter and managers to interview and determine the best candidate from the pool. As much effort and time will be put into selecting and onboarding the right match for a position at your firm, you want to ensure the new hire is a good return on investment. You also want to assess whether your ad placements and sourcing tools are getting you the quality candidates you desire. 

  1. Time to Full Productivity

Every new hire needs some time to become acquainted with the new position and learn the ropes. Generally, it requires several months before a new hire can be fully productive. However, it is imperative that your firm has an effective onboarding and training program to get new hires up to speed as fast as possible. The quicker a new hire moves to full productivity, the faster there is the return on investment. 

  1. High Potential Talent

As part of your talent management plan, you should hire a percentage of people that you expect to provide more value down the road for the organization. This talent should be the best of the best. These employees will be the ones you pull from for future succession into higher-level roles. Making sure you hire talent with potential is necessary to avoid more costs of hiring. 

  1. Talent Mobility

Retention of talent is another important factor to consider, especially when concerned with the financial impact of hiring a replacement. Employees need to know that there are opportunities for them to move within the firm, so they don’t stagnate in the same position after several years. Your firm should offer career paths for upward mobility for top performers who seek new challenges. 

  1. Talent Turnover

Turnover is probably the most relevant metric of all. Your firm will want to keep this number as low as possible to reduce its financial impact. With turnover, you have the cost of replacing the position with a new hire and the loss of the knowledge gleaned during the years of service. Additionally, turnover stops the cohesive flow of business and causes efficiency to wane.

Manage Your Talent Well

Of course, there are cases where turnover cannot be prevented no matter what the firm does. Overall though, your talent should be chosen wisely, trained properly and given opportunities for mobility. When you manage your talent well, you will in fact reduce your costs because word of mouth is free and high potential talent will come to you.

Talent Management

Topics: Professional Services, HR, Employees

How to Attract and Keep Great Employees Throughout the Employee Journey

Posted by Sarah Gonnella on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 12:23 PM

TalentIf I were to ask you which is more important to a successful business, the employee or the client, what would you answer? It's a tough call and either choice could be right depending on your circumstance. However, I would argue the employee is more important to ensuring a company is successful because great employees attract and keep great clients. So then why aren’t we investing more in our employees, and more importantly, how do we attract and keep great employees? The answer lies in mapping the employee journey.

To understand the employee journey and the imprint your firm is making, we will look at five key steps along the path of an employee.

  • It all begins with awareness or the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. The key word being perception. How do candidates perceive you? Perception of a potential candidate can come from many sources:

    • Knowing an employee
    • Speaking to your clients or vendors
    • Articles and information disseminated by your firm
    • Research on the internet
    • Your website and social media pages

All of these are related to your brand. Brand awareness is equally important for HR to comprehend. A simple way to start to understand your brand is to ask exemplary employees: What did you know about our company before you interviewed and what made you choose us? This question can give you insight into your brand and what to do more of to ensure you know employee perception and the source of that info.  

  • The interview phase is another area that creates an impression. Not only for those you hire, but those you don’t. There are resources like Glassdoor that provide potential candidates insight on what the interview process is like and what it’s like to work at the firm. Do you know what is being said about your firm? The interview phase should give a candidate a sense of what it would be like to work for the firm and what will be expected. Recruiting and interviews are also a great time to build your network. You never know where the best candidate or client might come from. Even if you decide this person is not the candidate for this position, think about these things:

    • Could they fit another current or future position?
    • Do you know another position outside of your company?
    • Is this a person that could be great for networking?
    • Did you leave a positive impression while telling them they didn’t get the position?

  • The on-boarding phase can say a lot about a company. Firms that don’t have a formal process may find employees quickly leaving. Employees want their own manager to take charge, not HR. Firms should still be focused on recruiting an employee even after hiring. Additionally, on-boarding isn’t completed within the first week or even month of hire. Here are some things to think about when developing your on-boarding program:
     
    • Do you have a checklist for your onboarding?
    • Does the new hire have a place to sit and a computer to work on?
    • Is the hiring manager there on the employee’s first day?
    • Who are the mentors to train this new hire?
    • Who is responsible for reviewing company policy items, i.e. Timesheets, Expenses, Social Media, 401k, Healthcare, etc.
    • Do you have 3, 6 and 9-month goals and expectations outlined?
    • If local, who takes them on a tour and welcomes them?

  • The retention phase is the most vital stage for both the employee and the company. The relationship between an employee and employer will have its ups and downs, but continuous feedback and formal reviews will ensure everyone is on the same page. The needs of both the employee and employer must be balanced. Establishing goals, offering feedback and discussing a career path provide multiple benefits to the organization:
     
    • Decreases turnover
    • Increases employee loyalty
    • Increases employee referral
    • Differentiates the firm from competition
    • Creates a more engaged company culture
       
  • The exit phase is not a phase that many companies plan for, but firms should have a process in place for when an employee leaves. Just like onboarding, your firm should have a checklist. How will you transition clients, projects and job duties? Capturing institutional knowledge and minimizing single points of failure can be critical to the success of the firm. Lastly, remember that an exiting employee could become a client, vendor, or maybe even return to your firm, so be sure to keep the line of communication open.

The entire employee journey with your firm should be as positive as possible. Each of the five key phases is significant to ensuring your firm is perceived well by employees. Creating a good impression of your firm is essential to attract and retain the best employees. Check out our webinar to learn more about how your firm can increase its HR effectiveness by properly marketing itself.

Talent Management

Topics: Employees, Deltek Talent