Posted tagged ‘rewards’

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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RPO, A Bright Future on the Path to Business Impact

September 7, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The future of RPO is bright with growth opportunities in every area of the world. According to NelsonHall’s “HRO Market Forecast 2012 – 2013,” RPO will remain the fastest growing area within HRO.

RPO is still evolving as a service line, moving from back-office paperwork administration to the front lines of recruiting, predictive assessment, and employer brand management. Contract renewals and extensions are now a regular part of the RPO news stream. Among those with announcements of renewals and extensions are:

  • Alexander Mann Services
  • Capita
  • Manpower Group
  • Novotus
  • Pinstripe.

RPO is not for the faint of heart

With great opportunity comes increased risk. Growth is seldom in a straight path upwards and RPO is also on the leading edge of any business downturn that impacts hiring. It is not uncommon to see up and down swings in revenues of 20% or more between good and bad years. RPO providers need to be ready to rock and roll incredibly fast and be flexible in responding to changes in demand while balancing its own core of subject matter expertise.

RPO is the trail blazer

It is hard for any business including HRO service lines to keep up with new technologies, global service delivery networks, social media, and open device access. To recruit highly skilled multi-generational talent anywhere on the planet, RPO needs the latest tools and technologies to bring capabilities to employers they could not easily and affordably duplicate.

RPO has a direct path to business impact

Dr. John Sullivan, a respected HR thought leader, recently said that RPO has the greatest business impact of any HR function. Dr. Sullivan is referring to The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) “Realizing the Value of People Management from Capability to Profitability” research that rates the relative business impact of different HR functions on growth and profitability.

This was a major study of over 4,000 respondents across 102 countries, comparing the difference in revenue growth and profit margins at firms with “very high capability” individual HR functions to the business impacts of “low capability” HR functions. The firms studied had been named to Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work For” list at least three times in the last ten years; their stock price growth was then compared to the stock price growth of the S&P 500. The “best companies” with great HR saw their stock price increase an average of 109% when the S&P 500 rose only 10% over the last 10 years, up to 10 times higher. Wow!

BCG found that the top ten performing HR functions in rank order were:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding and retention
  • Managing talent
  • Employer branding
  • Performance management and rewards
  • Leadership development
  • Mastering HR process
  • Global people management and global expansion
  • Enhancing employee engagement
  • Providing HR shared services and outsourcing.

In addition to the good news for RPO, the broader picture is the need for integrated talent management and the boost for HR outsourcing. Great HR can and does directly support great business results, and great RPO and HRO can be a part of that success story.

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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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