Posted tagged ‘emerging markets’

Mercer on the Move

June 14, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

This week I attended Mercer’s always well managed and informative analyst forum in Boston, MA. The meeting was focused on the talent consulting line of business.

Talent Management on the Rise

Mercer research indicates that human capital issues are a top CEO concern and managing talent is becoming a board of directors’ issue, moving beyond the traditional CEO succession planning and compensation to overall talent and workforce planning. The new Mercer Talent Barometer Survey, which was introduced at the 2013 World Economic Forum, reports that 60% of the 1,200 global companies surveyed are investing more in talent, but only 30% feel that their workforce plans are highly effective.

The business of talent has become both exciting and disruptive, with possible new entrants, globalization, media, innovations, and opportunities. (Talk about new entrants, eHarmony is considering getting into the talent matching game!)

With a possibility of double-digit growth, the talent group looked at how to grow across the talent value chain by expanding its services, tools and technology offerings for talent, rewards, and communications to increase growth and leverage Mercer’s depth of experience and capabilities.

The answer will become apparent over the next few months as more packaged solutions are launched that combine consulting, information, and technology to meet the needs of clients that want a less-customized consulting approach with “off-the-shelf” packaged and reusable services and tools.

Workforce Planning Versus HR Analytics

Some elements that will be leveraged are already mature and solid revenue producers. Surveys, benchmarks, and analytics for compensation/total rewards and job structures are a more than $200m line of business. Globalization of the revenues is already well on its way, with about equal distribution from North America, Europe, and emerging markets across 57 countries.

Instead of focusing on HR analytics, Mercer is emphasizing data acquisition and integration, data modeling, as well as data visualization as it applies to a wide range of workforce and data that drives business results. This may mean a consulting and outsourcing services engagement, it may mean workshops and training, or self-service use of integrated SaaS technology platforms with one or more Mercer products.

Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast

There are a lot of moving parts in Mercer’s strategy to create an integrated talent solutions portfolio.

It is brought together under the go-to-market Talent Impact label that includes new and existing products and services to forecast, engage, mobilize, reward and assess talent. Behind the scenes Mercer will be streamlining its own architecture into fewer and more integrated technology platforms to support the new offerings.

There is a lot to be done in a short time, but that is in alignment with the “think big, start small, and move fast” philosophy of Orlando Ashford, senior partner and president of Mercer’s talent business. Mercer is on the move!

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How Mercer’s HCM Views Impact HRO

June 11, 2012

Would you build a $4.5bn facility in Africa if you were not sure you could find the skilled workers to run it? That was the comment of a real CFO at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. Human capital management (HCM) was one of the hottest topics at the forum drawing C-suite leaders into a full day of discussions. Concern about talent shortages has reached #2 on the risk management list, and top business leaders are recognizing talent as both a key competitive factor in growth and its lack as a risk factor limiting growth, especially in emerging markets.

This was the opening conversation at Mercer’s analyst forum focusing on its Talent, Rewards, and Communications (TRC) consulting practice and its approach to global talent growth. The TRC group is led by Pat Milligan, Senior Partner and President, and it accounts for $600m of Mercer’s $3.8bn 2011 revenues.

The forum was also about Mercer’s approach to its own growth. Mercer has increased its feet on the ground in emerging markets and is adding to its portfolio of services. Having completed seven acquisitions in the last sixteen months, including ORC Worldwide and CENSEO, expect to see more strategic acquisitions in the near future as Mercer leverages its cash on hand to build scale. Mercer’s TRC practice already has a great start with 55% of revenues from outside of the U.S. and 18% growth in 2011, 11% organic.

Mercer is focusing on more than consulting as a standalone service.  It is combining consulting with enabling technology and data to continue to win in its very competitive market space. Along with discussions on talent management, there were demonstrations of technologies and tool kits to gather, monitor, and manage information that helps clients make better people decisions, such as Mercer iknow and Human Capital Connect. 

Most clients cannot afford to immediately “rip and replace” their current tools and technologies, so Mercer will also help clients who say, “make what I have work.”  Its new Belong portal will be the front door to bringing together the information, tools, and applications – whether it’s Mercer’s own or a client’s blend of programs. Offering HR portals is not new, but Mercer is building in data extractors to offer the most needed information, dashboards, and limited functionality within the portal without having to go out to the full application.

There are other critical components to consider. This is where HRO comes in as part of the build and operations team to ensure cost-effective and viable end-to-end HR services for the participants, HR generalists and COEs, managers, senior leadership, and the enterprise itself.

Whether as a single source of consulting, solutions, and services or by using an ecosystem of preferred partners, is your HRO service provider(s) capable of helping you go from strategy to design, build, operate, and improve your HR capabilities and services to deliver full business value?

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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Social Media in HRO Needs to be NICE

March 23, 2012

To work my way into the topic of social media, I am going to start outside of HRO. IBM recently launched a Social Media Boot Camp for its small- and mid-market business partners and clients.

The social media boot camp is globally available for qualified candidates, including those from emerging markets such as China, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. It is designed to develop the skills and ideas that will enable participants to sharpen their social networking capabilities and build stronger and more interactive ties with their clients. The online course includes an eight-week session with live coaching. It is produced in conjunction with Profitecture and is available for up to 75 participants each quarter. The Q2 2012 classes are already full, and enrollment has started for Q3 2012.

The IBM-led conversation on social media provides a broader view in using new media channels. According to Ed Abrams, IBM vice president of mid-market marketing and strategy, “…remember that social media is all about conversation. You don’t want to use this forum for press releases, or collateral- type materials. You need to remember that social media is very much like a face-to-face conversation. People want to engage, they want the chance to participate.”

Starfire Technologies is one of the early business partners to complete the boot camp. Mary Spurlock, Starfire’s Vice President of Marketing, says that social media is a 2-way street and that while it is important to publish, share, and deliver value when using social media, it is also important to listen, read, and follow what your customers are doing with social media.

There are very practical aspects as well. In RPO it is already critical for a service provider to be on the leading edge of leveraging the latest social media trends, functionalities, and tools. For now, let’s stay with the broader view.

The use of social media in HRO needs to be NICE.

  • New: Use social channels to offer something of unique value. Don’t simply repeat the same content offered elsewhere, and keep it fresh—update, update, update! Offer something unique (or at least a unique take) in the content.
  • Interactive: Offer multiple ways and levels of interaction. Providing a “comments” section is not even table stakes today. People know how to find your corporate website. If they are on Facebook, they are looking for new ways to connect with you. Be creative.
  • Connective: Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the intended audience to continue, extend, and expand the conversations and weave connections across multiple channels into a whole. Each media channel should have a specialized point, purpose, and voice.
  • Engaging: Social media provides a unique opportunity to bring your brand attributes to life in ways that create enriched longer-lasting relationships. Here, “engagement” does not mean “interactive”; it means being invested in a mutually beneficial relationship.

How NICE is your use of social media?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

Success Factors for the Market Segments of MPHRO

August 9, 2011

Last week, I discussed the four market segments of multi-process HR outsourcing (MPHRO) as defined in my 2011 NelsonHall MPHRO report: multi-country standardization, client-specific shared service transformation, core business focus, and technology-led HR service enhancement.  This week, I’ll examine success factors for service providers within each segment.

In the “multi-country standardization segment,” which is the segment with the highest growth rate for the next five years, it is critical for vendors to be able to support a client’s operations across a wide range of countries including emerging markets. Providers must also be able to rollout standardized HR administration and payroll to create a global system of record. Examples of service providers operating in this segment include ADP, HP, and NorthgateArinso.

To be successful in the “client-specific shared service transformation segment,” the largest of the four, vendors must provide HRO support directly or through a partner for all HR service lines (i.e., payroll, benefits, learning, RPO, and workforce development services) and have a high degree of multi-shore delivery capabilities to support clients in various locations.  Equally important is a service provider’s ability to be able to work with the client’s existing HR technology.  One of the biggest challenges faced by vendors in this group is getting clients to transition more than just back-office functions to its offshore service centers to reduce operating costs.  Service providers operating in this segment include those that have been long-term players in the MPHRO market such as Accenture; IBM; Aon Hewitt; ACS, a Xerox Company; and U.K.-based Capita.

Within the “core business focus” market segment, success is contingent on a provider’s ability to quickly deploy HR services and be accessible when expertise is required.  In terms of HRO offerings, standardized HR administration and payroll are a must and providing support for talent management services is very appealing.  The biggest challenge for vendors operating here is all the competition that exists from some of the following vendors: Genpact, TCS, Talent2, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, and Caliber Point.

Success in the final segment, “technology-led HR service enhancement,” requires vendors to provide their own standard technology for HR administration and payroll that includes talent management functions.  Also, it’s important that this technology be rolled-out relatively quickly.  Providers that fall within this segment mirror the multi-country standardization segment, but also include vendors such as Ceridian.

There’s lots of room in the MPHRO market for all types of buyers, so it’s critical for service providers to decide which segments are of strategic value and to define their sweet spots in their MPHRO portfolios and fill in capability gaps where contracts can be lost to competitors.

Amy Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall