Posted tagged ‘workforce’

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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HRO – Cloudy with a Chance of Sunshine

July 20, 2010

One way to while away the long hot days of summer is to speculate over the timing and pace of economic recovery and when it will translate into a return of workforce growth – which in turn adds units of volume to new and existing HRO contracts.

According to Accenture’s interesting The High-Performance Workforce Study 2010, the mood of senior executives around the globe is turning more positive, indicating that companies are starting to shift focus from cost control to also investing in growth. Compared to 12 months ago, those focusing primarily on cost control dropped from 41 percent to 15 percent. Eighty-five of the 674 surveyed executives said they are now evenly focused on cost control and growth (45 percent), or are primarily on investing in growth-oriented activities (40 percent).

While workforces are generally the same size or smaller, some hiring continues, often while other jobs are being eliminated as companies adjust to changed business direction. The top rationales for selecting where to trim employees included skills and workforces not critical to the future direction of the business. New employees were primarily added to meet specific needs for launching new products or entering new markets, and to add skills and workforces needed for the future.

In asking if the workforce will return to its pre-recession size, U.S. respondents were more positive, with 54 percent saying yes within the next two years. Globally only 35 percent said yes, while 65 percent said either no or probably not. Companies, as one would expect, cut back most in hiring-related activities during the downturn, with training the next most common reduction.

The senior executives indicated their workforces were pretty well prepared for managing during economic uncertainty. Forty-five percent felt their workforces were better than most of their competitors, but only 16 per cent considered them industry leading.

The return of a focus on growth and workforce expansion will bring back some volume to existing HRO contracts, and presents opportunities for added scope and new sales. But we need to understand and prepare for what will be different. Buyers and providers alike should be talking now about changes in business planning and what those changes mean for outsourced HR services.

Recruiting is already ticking up, but existing clients may need to gain skill sets in new areas, and more thoughtfully build a global workforce. Where are new pipelines needed, where can providers handle specialty recruiting, how can we help applicants understand salary offers that are perhaps a bit more modest? How will re-skilling the workforce and a renewed interest in leadership development be addressed?

Multiple surveys show a positive tone returning, yet, so far, moods and intentions are improving more than actual new sales. But then summer days often include pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoons. All is not yet sunshine, but the clouds are lifting a bit, so be sure to be prepared.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall