The focus for Business Services is shifting. Increasingly organisations are not just looking to save costs, there is now also a much greater demand to demonstrate value. In addition, the digital era is upon us. Robotics, big data, cloud, analytics and ever-expanding technologies are emerging and challenging companies to react, respond and leverage them for a competitive advantage.
Particularly in GBS, we face a lot of technology changes and increased automation. The more we automate, the more the work profiles of tasks to be done by human employees change. We are facing an ever increasing technology adaptation speed, which results in the skill equirements to also change rapidly. These days talent management is not just a buzz word, but a real tangible risk and a mandatory task to resolve as part of the challenges brought to us by the digital age and the millennials working environment adaptations. The implications are far reaching and the requirements for talent management need to be identified, closely monitored and continuously developed.
To successfully manage a broader range of work in the digital age, GBS staff must master a wide mix of business skills and subject-matter expertise. High-level cognitive skills such as
business acumen and strategic thinking and analysis, as well as pragmatic business skills like relationship management and problem solving, are essential. Communication and language
skills are also required for interacting with GBS clients throughout the organization. Management must devise demand-planning strategies to cope with variations in both the level and type of service requests, and translate these into Talent Management staffing plans and skill requirements. Crosstraining and use of contingent workers are strategies being used to meet demand.
Key to embracing changes in Business Services is a culture that supports learning, encourages sharing of best practices and engages employees.
This in turn will lead to employees who are curious to find out about new practices, who are proactive, innovative problem solvers and want to collaborate.
The people factor is a hugely important, well recognised but too often neglected one. In a recent Hackett Global Business Services performance study (Figure 1), the ability to attract and retain talent leads the list of external factors impacting GBS performance. Organisations are looking for the right talent for their service delivery.
GBS talent management differs from that of the rest of the organisation for a number of reasons:
DEMAND MANAGEMENT: GBS workforce needs to be flexible and knowledgeable to meet varying customer demand for services.
RETENTION: Effective talent management reduces uncontrolled attrition, lowers costs and provides more consistency in.
RECRUITMENT: Having an attractive value proposition provides an edge in competitive GBS locations.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT: Active preparation for career development to move people from role to role and business to shared services and vice versa.
TRAINING: Is valued by employees, increases competencies, improves morale and productivity and the ability to add value to business customers.
SKILLS: Skills and competencies over and above technical skills are essential to successfully manage interactions with clients and deliver customer excellence efficiently.
And getting it right matters. There is a positive correlation between those organisations who invest in GBS talent management and those who perform well (Figure 2).
If we look at training specifically, Hackett has found that world class organisations (those who are in the top quartile in both efficiency and effectiveness) invest twice as much time in training their employees (Figure3). Training is important to help drive and embrace the constant changes required within GBS.What organisations are looking for is a learning programme which support their GBS training needs. The Hackett Group and CIMA (Certified Institute of Management Accountants) have developed a training programme (‘Certified GBS Professionals’) with globally relevant content designed to develop future-facing GBS competencies.
The programme consist of 3 levels (see Figure 4, Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma) and is designed to meet the varied needs of individuals at different stages in their career: from those who are new to or unfamiliar with GBS, those who run process work teams with a focus on operational excellence, to current and future leaders who are building GBS strategies.
Training is an important part of Talent Management. If done right, it can help attract, develop and retain the best talent. In today’s environment, individuals need to be smarter, more agile, and more innovative than ever.
A GBS culture supporting those individuals, keeping them engaged and curious will give the organisations the best chance to meet ever changing business demands and those presented to us in this digital age.
This article was published in the Outsourcing Journal Special Edition. For more interesting articles, download the Special Edition here:
Sabine McGuin, European Sales Manager – CERTIFIED GBS PROFESSIONALS, is working with clients across Europe and their business services organisations, assisting them in managing their talent more effectively through the Certified GBS Professionals training programme. She has been with The Hackett Group for over 10 years, working across different parts of the organisation, including advisory, transformation and marketing.
Tom Bangemann is Senior Vice President Business Transformation at The Hackett Group. He has been with The Hackett Group for over 14 years in various regional and practice leadership roles. His experience includes a set of over 100 globalization/sourcing projects. He is a regular event speaker, chairman and panellist, and author. He has been voted onto SSON expert panels G6 Europe, G6 Australia, D6 Germany and C6 China.
Tom received the award of “Thought Leader of the Year” from SSON in May 2010. Tom chaired the Hungarian Shared Service Community for three years and established the Baltic Shared Service Community.
Tom was a regular Board member of a publicly listed software company. He was also named “HR Superstar” by HRO Magazine 3 times and has performed CHRO mentoring. Within the Certified GBS Program cooperation with AICPA/CIMA, Tom has written the top tier Advanced Diploma training and certification program.