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The employee, actor of his assignment
Resource management
Skills development

The employee, actor of his assignment

Content manager
November 10, 2020
9 min

If there is one industry that is particularly challenged by the issue of employee retention, it's the service industry. Employee turnover in service companies is close to 20% on average (according to an HEC study) and as demand for services is steadily growing, talents (and their skills) are driving the job market. Although the CoVid-19 crisis has somewhat changed the equation with the emergence of uncertainty, the trend does not seem to be reversing. Employees are more reluctant to move and resignations are down, but this is only a slight downturn and employee retention remains a key factor for the growth of service companies.

At the same time, these same companies are constantly faced with another major challenge, closely related to the first: managing management of assignment their projects.. Repeated unsatisfactory assignment is one of the main reasons why employees leave service companies. According to studies carried out in France by management consulting firms and IT services companies, 44% of French consultants say they are dissatisfied with their work. assignment.

Because resource management and employee retention are priority issues for service organisations, it is time to put the employee back at the heart of the project assignment process.

Indeed, why should project assignments feel like something that employees have to put up with? What are the advantages of engaging employees in resource planning? And practically, how do you empower your employees to take part in resource planning so they can work on projects that really meet their career aspirations and development needs?

Not enough time to read the article? Discover how to engage your employees in resource planning..

The benefits of engaging employees in resource management

‍Let's start with an overview of the direct and indirect benefits of greater employee engagement in resource planning.

✊ Improve employees' commitment to work and increase their motivation on projects

Employees who take part in resource planning by indicating their interest for certain projects or by providing their resource manager with key information such as their aspirations in terms of skills development are fully committed to their assignments.

👨 Improve employee retention and reduce company turnover.

A committed and motivated employee is an employee who stays! A French company IT services companies with several hundred employees, which implemented a transparent and collaborative assignment process, managed to reduce its departures by 13%. When you know that the cost of recruiting a profile in service companies is about 15k€ (direct & indirect), the return on investment is immediate.

📝 Match career aspirations and training requests with company needs

Encouraging employees to express their career aspirations helps build consistent training plans. This fosters skills development that is beneficial on two levels: for the employees who can progress in the areas that interest them, and for the service company which can answer client needs.

🤝 Maintain updated resource information

If employees are encouraged to express their preferences and needs, they are more likely to update their skills and aspirations profile. The dynamic competency map remains up to date, and time dedicated to assignment is reduced as resource managers can quickly identify the most relevant available profiles for each project. It's simple and it's a win-win situation.

Now that you are as convinced as we are of the benefits of involving employees in resource planning, let's get down to business.

In concrete terms, what can be done to give employees a say in their own assignment ?

Step 1: Improve transparency

In most service companies, there are few shared and collaborative tools, which makes the assignment process difficult to read. The only way for employees to know which assignments are about to start is to ask their manager or resource manager regularly. This not only makes it difficult to share information, but it can also be perceived as badgering. In addition, for employees working off-site or remotely, it is impossible to capture informal information at the coffee machine, and the lack of visibility becomes a real problem. ❌

The first step to solve this issue is to set up a sharedresource management platform, accessible to all, which will provide greater transparency to employees on future and ongoing projects.

With a view on current assignment requests, the frustration of a foggy resource management process is lifted. In addition to upcoming projects, employees are also informed in real time about requests for tenders or internal training courses. The sense of belonging is strengthened by the knowledge of what is going on within the company, which is not to be overlooked.

Step 2: Make the most of employee career aspirations

What if the decision to assign employees to a project no longer depended solely on their availability and skills? Wouldn't it be possible to effectively include employees' aspirations in resource assignment decisions? 🤔

This is the idea that we defend and promote at Napta. Among other things, we give employees the opportunity to indicate certain skills as "aspirations", skills on which they wish to progress and be mobilized during their missions.

Having valuable information about the key competencies and aspirations of each employee has significant positive effects:
1. Involve employees in the projects that interest them the most
2. Propose a coherent and individualized training plan for each employee.

We also strongly believe that skills are mainly developed on the job, through practice. This means that it is crucial to involve employees in projects that are consistent with their development aspirations. 🤸

The process of indicating aspirational skills can also work the other way round. By identifying the skills/projects that employees no longer wish to work on, you can avoid assigning employees to projects that do not interest them.

Step 3: Allow employees to express their interest for a project

At Napta, we also give employees the opportunity to express their interest in an upcoming assignment need.

The process is very simple: employees have access to a global overview of all upcoming projects, which they can filter to see those that match their profile, aspirations and availability. They can review the projects details - descriptions, duration, dates, criteria - and indicate those they would like to be assigned to. This process can also be used for internal projects (tenders, sales proposals, etc.) or for training courses.

With this solution, the managers and resource planners gather key information about the preferences of their staff. This allows them to consider assigning employees to projects that they might not otherwise have considered for them.

Among our clients, we see a smart approach to these resource requests. Employees usually express interest in projects that match their availability, skills and aspirations. In addition, as the manager or resource planner makes the final assignment decision based on the information provided, employees are encouraged to keep their profile up to date.

At Napta, we have noted that 20% of the wishes of assignment had been fulfilled, either by a pre-assignment or by a firm assignment, on a sample of 1,500 consultants, in the space of 6 months within an international management consulting firm.

A great achievement! 🎆

Step 4: Promote cross-department mobility and resource pooling

Most service companies are generally still very siloed.

The absence of pooling not only locks employees into a predefined and immobile assignment scheme, but also has another collateral effect: an employee who always works within the same department is less likely to develop skills ancillary to those required on the majority of his or her department's projects. This is all the more true when departments / BUs are defined around specific consulting offerings (Data, Digital Transformation, HR ...). Often, when an employee wishes to work for another department, the only place to express this is at the annual appraisal interview, where he or she can make this clear to Human Resources representatives or his or her hierarchy.

At the same time, organisations are striving to increase their project staffing efficiency and to do so they must be able to mobilise a wide network of expertise. This can only be achieved by promoting cross-assignment (i.e. an employee from department A being mobilised for an assignment in department B).

With a solution like Napta, the team in charge of the assignment With a solution such as Napta, the team in charge of the project can inform all of the upcoming projects to be staffed, without distinction of department, and a collaborator can therefore indicate his or her interest in the mission of another department. Of course, some rules should be set so that this scheme is beneficial for the organization as a whole: for example, it is possible to set up automated validation systems between departments. For example: as a consultant in department A, if I indicate my interest in an assignment in department B, the manager assignment of department A must be able to validate that the consultant can be staffed by the manager assignment of department B. Mobility without disorganization, which also helps to avoid an overload or underload effect within a department.

Best practices observed among Napta's clients and their results

Inspiring examples seen in Napta's customers:

1. Enabling the feature that allows employees to enter their key aspirations has provided service companies with valuable information about their employees. On average, on Napta, an employee will indicate 7 to 10 skills as aspirations that they want to develop or use in a future assignment. Extremely valuable information as we saw earlier. 💎

2. Within the department of a large company, every six months, operational managers enter the projects to be assigned over the next period. The supervised employees can then indicate the projects that interest them most. These are new rules that are very much appreciated by the employees! 💚

3. 20% of the employees who expressed an interest in at least one project ended up being considered for entering the project team or directly assigned on at least one of the desired projects. 🎯

4. In a large consulting firm with over 1,000 consultants, over 220 assignments were made outside the original department in the last 12 months. This represents 11% of all assignments. Cross-assignment was impossible before the implementation of the PickYourSkills solution. 🌍

If assignment projects are an absolutely crucial issue for service companies today, it is in the interests of assignment and HR managers to include employees in the project development process. assignment. This is the best way to deliver an employee experience that meets their ever-increasing expectations, and to ensure that projects are a success thanks to fully committed teams.

To find out how Napta can help you make your employees active participants in their assignment, ask to speak to an expert.

Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.

To complement this topic, find our review "6 tips to become attractive to your consultants again".

See also our guides, templates and checklists in the Resources tab.

See you soon at Napta!

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