Posted tagged ‘talent’

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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ADP Meeting of the Minds 2013 – Another Success

March 22, 2013
Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

My second ADP Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) client event once again exceeded expectations. There were 170 sessions with tracks including HR BPO, talent management, benefits, payroll, time & labor management, and personal & professional development. The following highlights the opening session and one of the general sessions I attended.

Opening Keynote by Steve Wynn

It’s no surprise that Steve Wynn’s hotel has won awards as the best place to work. At Wynn, a great customer experience is achieved by interaction with your people (i.e., employees) as only they can make others happy. To achieve human aspiration and to best serve customers, self-esteem is most important. If you can enhance self-esteem, then a single employee interaction with one guest can change the history of the enterprise. Steve views the most important person in an organization as the next person you (i.e., a guest) encounters.

According to Steve, to achieve self-esteem you need to be recognized by your boss. One form of recognition is pre-shift meetings where the supervisor asks if there are any good stories of guest interactions. That employee then gets his / her picture taken, which gets hung on the walls including in the employee cafeteria, which then motivates other employees to provide an exceptional customer experience!  Several examples of how employees have gone above and beyond the call of duty to exceed guest expectations were also provided.

RPO

Terry Terhark, president of The RightThing and Neil Efron, account manager, presented with client Tom Osmond, managing director of talent at Goldman Sachs; Neil sits onsite with Goldman in NY. Terry began with an overview of what RPO is and then Tom spoke of their journey together. Goldman has $34.2bn in revenues with 34,200 employees. At the end of 2011, Goldman signed a contract with The RightThing that commenced in March 2012. In 2012, Goldman did 7,200 hires (2,500 experienced hires, 2,000 college hires, remainder were interns).

Key drivers that led to outsourcing included:

  • Leverage a scalable infrastructure to better support highly variable recruiting volumes
  • Engage with a single provider for global delivery
  • Reduce costs associated with onsite staff
  • Partner with an experienced provider knowledgeable of best practices
  • Incorporate advanced recruiting and sourcing technology, e.g. in 2010 job boards and mobile recruiting were not used.

The contract began with support for North America experienced hires via the NY office. Support is provided both onsite in NY and centralized from The RightThing service center in Findlay, Ohio. Today, The RightThing also provides support to the London office including scheduling of interviews.

Initial services included interview scheduling, coordination of travel, and job offer management. ADP resources are also leveraged for Green Card processing. In October 2012, a sourcing solution was designed for recruitment of niche specialist positions, e.g. how to hire investment bankers, which was expanded in 2013.

From the client perspective, ADP has enabled a more flexible and efficient recruiting model with lower cost including reduced administration and time dealing with issues.

Emerging is the ability to expand globally including sourcing for EMEA and then into APAC. Further recruiting cost reduction is to be obtained by moving from ~50% offsite/onsite to 60% offsite resources in Findlay.

Summary

If you are an ADP client and have the opportunity to attend MOTM, I highly recommend it for your personal and professional development and you will have fun!

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The Trajectory of Change for HR and HRO

September 28, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The 15th Annual PwC Global CEO Survey of 1,258 CEOs in 60 countries shows what CEOs want now from HR that transcends country and industry. PwC summed it up as:

  1. Protect the home market from uncertainty
  2. Attack new and emerging markets for growth.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretsky said that he skated to where the puck would be, not to where it was, anticipating the trajectory of change. This is hard for HR, which often takes years to complete a major change and looks to HRO with a focus on price and improving operational efficiency. Skating to where we needed to be yesterday is hard enough; how do we skate to where we need to be tomorrow?

CEOs Top Concern: Talent

For the last two years, the number one concern of CEOs in the PwC survey is talent. CEOs are personally concerned with developing leaders and the talent pipeline. Why? Because CEOs see that talent constraints and mismatches are already limiting opportunities. CEO talent concerns include:

  1. Talent-related expenses rising more than expected
  2. Not being able to innovate effectively
  3. Not being able to pursue a market opportunity
  4. Cancelling or delaying key strategic initiatives
  5. Not achieving growth forecasts in overseas markets.

Talent Gaps

Availability of key skills is a concern in every market outside of North America, especially for the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. This matches well with the drive to increase the global coverage of RPO.

Talent gaps are greater in some areas. In addition to global talent concerns, it is harder for some industries such as technology and pharmaceuticals / life sciences to find needed skilled talent. Of heightened concern is middle management talent. Will RPO best fit at the level of volume and skilled talent hires? Or will RPO further encroach into middle management recruiting?

The future is also about talent management and proof of HR’s business impact. This supports the movement we are seeing to strengthen talent management (TM) capabilities through M&A. Examples include:

  • SAP and SuccessFactors
  • Oracle and Taleo
  • IBM and Kenexa.

CEOs Want Proof

Proof of business impact is part of HR metrics and advanced analytics. Even what should be the basics in workforce information is not considered comprehensive enough by most CEOs; they would like more data including the return on human capital investments, the cost of turnover, and staff productivity. HRO is ready with HR analytics as one of the newest components of HRO offerings.

Today, most HRO remains pressured on price rather than on value delivered. In hockey, someone must put the puck into play. In HR and HRO, someone must pay to develop the capabilities CEOs say they want. In the meantime, HRO is doing a good job of getting ready to skate to where business needs are going.

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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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Insourcing American Jobs – The Risk and Opportunity for HRO

January 19, 2012

Offshoring is once again under the harsh glare of the polarized political spotlight in a presidential election year. As my NelsonHall HRO colleague Gary Bragar commented in his blog, President Obama is increasing focus on job creation including encouraging employers to insource jobs back to the U.S. This may cast a shadow of negative publicity on outsourcing that includes offshoring, but I predict the issue poses only minimal direct threat to HRO. In fact, I see increased opportunity for savvy HRO service leaders.

In listening to the President’s remarks and reading the insourcing and investment fact sheet issued by the White House, it is clear that manufacturing jobs are the primary target.

The U.S. lost millions of manufacturing jobs and in some cases almost entire industries, as companies pursued ways to remain competitive with lower-priced global competitors. Lower wages and benefits were a key part of the equation, but there were other factors including regulations, taxation policies, and the low cost of transportation in what was still a bountiful world of low-cost oil.

Offshoring dynamics are changing, especially for manufacturing. The time delay inherent in moving products around the world now creates challenges in meeting the rapidly changing market preferences and shortened product lifecycles of a connected world. With increased competition for limited energy supplies from the emerging economies, the cost of transportation has become a significant factor. Add in moderately decreasing wage gaps and we can see why companies will be able to insource some jobs. Others will be able to create more jobs in the U.S., much like Honda, Toyota, and Mercedes Benz have been doing for years.

HRO as an industry is already a blend of onshore, nearshore, and offshore technologies and workforces. A mix of right-shoring talent and technology helps vendors meet client needs for cost, service, and value. With time and transportation being minor factors in HRO or other BPO, talent remains a primary driver.

Access to pools of affordable skilled talent is an increasingly important element in the growth of all businesses, whether small or large, local or multinational. Who has access to comprehensive data on workforces around the world including costs, turnover, and availability? Who can see trends emerging on skilled labor capabilities and capacity shortages? Who has direct experience in building and maintaining global workforces both for clients and for themselves? HRO service providers!

Think about it, in our HRO community are the likes of Accenture and IBM, growing globalists like ADP and NorthgateArinso, modern tech heavyweights like Infosys and TCS, global research and analysis specialists like Aon Hewitt and Mercer, and RPO leaders such as Alexander Mann, Hays, and Manpower, we even have learning leaders that can handle rocket science like Raytheon RPS.

We need to have a large enough vision for what we can become as an HRO community. There is so much already that we can leverage. Be confident in our value and let our light shine bright!

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.

Infosys BPO Analyst Day: A Rounding Success

November 4, 2011

Although a little late, I wanted to give Infosys kudos for hosting a very informative and engaging BPO Analyst Day in late October, which included presentations by two very satisfied North American based clients.

First, I’d like to highlight the progress Infosys has made:

  • From 2006 to 2011, BPO revenue has grown approximately five-fold with the number of clients increasing almost four-fold and global headcount increasing nearly six-fold
  • Although I can’t disclose HRO revenues, they are rapidly growing globally, led by North America and followed by Europe
  • BPO delivery capability is global from centers across North America, Latin America, South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

What particularly impressed me at the event was the lengthy discussion titled “Our people are our biggest assets,” led by managing director and CEO Swami Swaminathan. The topic may sound cliché, but it was from the heart because Infosys truly wants employees to have a career for life that’s achieved by:

  • Leadership focus
  • Performance-based compensation
  • Recognition and reward
  • Career planning and development
  • Comfort with the working environment
  • Pride in being an Infosys employee.

There’s too much good business information to capture in a short blog, but to summarize, Infosys is helping clients build tomorrow’s enterprise by:

  • Enabling clients to transform their business
  • Moving operations up the value chain, including Centers of Excellence with benchmarking and best practices
  • Deploying new engagement models including business process as a service, technology enabled process automation, and cloud-enabled services
  • Leveraging technology to create value including dashboards and customer portals.

Client presentations were by a large apparel retailer and a large global telecom.  The retailer outsourced both F&A and HR.  HRO services included platform-based BPO with PeopleSoft 9.0 and modules for core HR including self-service; benefits including annual enrollment; time and attendance; payroll; and components of the HR helpdesk. Its reasons for choosing Infosys included:

  • Access to technology and tools to transform
  • Quality of resources to support the account and its ability to work with the client to achieve its goal
  • Cultural fit and reputation.

The telecom client outsourced to transform, leverage best in class processes, people and technology, and augment its sourcing group with new talent. F&A outsourcing included source to pay.

Concluding the day and joined by clients at the larger colloquium were two successful panel discussions.  The first was titled “Sustaining complex change” and included the buy-side from Montreal, Charming Shoppes Inc., and Cisco.  I had the pleasure of facilitating the second discussion that was titled “What is the defining role of HR in shaping tomorrow’s business: Globalization, convergence, social media, and talent management.  This panel included the buy-side from Charming Shoppes and Transfield Services.

In all, it was a very impressive day to round out numerous analyst events I attended in 2011, and this one will be memorable!

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, 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.

HRO Tips You Can Use

May 17, 2011

1.  Buyers, U.S. healthcare reform will continue — be prepared.

At the Mercer client conference last week, it was very helpful to hear its view of the precarious future of the U.S. healthcare reform. The healthcare reform act is being challenged in court in whole and in part and the outcome is uncertain. In the meantime, dates for further implementation are rolling near. Mercer posits that the act is unlikely to be repealed in total, but some amendments will likely be changed. Some are concerned large employers will dump employees into state healthcare exchanges and pay the relatively small penalties. Terms in the act make that unlikely as subsidies decline as income rises and are eliminated totally at $100,000. Also, larger employers need to compete in the war for talent and providing healthcare benefits will keep them in the game. The advice for smaller employers may be different and hybrid employee segment coverage models may develop.

2.  Misaligned expectations and poor implementation can still kill a HRO deal.

At lunch, a buyer told the sad tale of a failed initial outsourcing experience. By now, you know the too often told tale: misaligned expectations, a botched implementation, and an adversarial governance relationship that was not healed in time to save the deal. In retrospect, the benefits manager can see that they were 49% at fault, which includes failing to appoint a full-time implementation project manager or addressing the internal change management issues that come with first time outsourcing. The client is now with Mercer, providing a happy ending that was earned the costly way.

3.  Have a social media curator.

Brand management has changed permantly; any illusions of controlling your own brand are being shredded by social media and the same will be true of employment brand management. Can your HRO vendor manage its own brand socially and can they help you manage yours?

4.  An issue of passion can turn into a global wellness campaign and change lives.

Launching a wellness campaign to reduce healthcare costs and indirectly increase productivity is a worthy business objective. Levi Strauss, very early on, addressed HIV education out of deep concern for its employees and found it needed to first break through misinformation and fear. Now there is a new generation that will get the same education. Value-based passion, along with a great wellness program will be sustained for the long-term, helping employees and their families as well as generating savings.

5.   Vendors, invite industry analysts to your client conference.

Hearing the presentations and thinking about how they inform in ways that showcase the strengths of the service provider (perhaps stimulating further inquiries), speaking informally to clients, and looking for the consistency and continuity in what was said to industry analysts and now to clients. It all helps build a 3-D view into the vendor’s world.

Are you ready for your HRO 3-D close-up?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall