The services industry is seeing professional services leaders take additional steps to effectively manage their global talent pool. As the SVP of services at Mavenlink, I stand by all of these tips for more effectively managing your resources globally.
Understand incoming demand from sales opportunities earlier
The demand for resources starts in sales. If you know what is coming early, you will be able to react in time with your “supply” against the demand.
In great organizations, services members are participating in the sales process. They have automated the creation of projects within their services delivery technology platform, so that when a certain sales stage is reached, a project is automatically created within their system. This project has a default estimate of need and an estimated resource load based upon the opportunity type. All of this, of course, may be adjusted by the services team later on to better fit the particular opportunity, after further engaging with sales and the prospect.
Skills tracking can be a challenge but it is required to effectively manage your resources.
Services leaders are incorporating skills tracking information into their resource planning process, for good reason. This allows them to staff the best resource for the job while also incentivizing their teams to maintain their profiles, in order for them to land the next great assignment they are seeking.
Sharing resources has become easier in the age of remote and offsite project delivery. Shared resources are by definition more highly utilized across larger teams. Often times these resources can become very efficient in executing repeatable tasks, as in an assembly line. They are also typically in lower cost locations, which helps you bolster both utilization and margin.
Services leaders can use this type of resource sharing by centralizing their resource management across geographies. They can also leverage partners as part of their global resource pool. Once they do this, they can effectively scale up (or down) while protecting their own human capital from either burnout or reductions in force.
"Resources who went through bootcamp shaved 14 months off their success." — Chris Scalia, SVP Services
Develop a boot camp for new hires
Help your new hires be successful, for both you and them. A boot camp helps them quickly ramp up and remain committed to their goals. At my last company, my Vice President of Services Operations measured our boot camp results. Here’s what we learned about the before and after of a three-month immersion program we deployed:
Before Boot Camp
- Resources took 12+ months to achieve 60% utilization
- Resources took 18+ months to achieve 75% utilization
After Boot Camp
- Resources took 3 months to achieve 50% utilization
- Resources took 4 months to achieve 75% utilization
Let’s put this into financial terms: If employees are 75% utilized at month four instead of a year and a half in, we could accelerate $1M in revenue — per month! — based on just ten new hires.
Get your incentive plan down
Incentive plans that encourage collaboration also have an impact. You can do this a couple ways.
One of the best ways is to include a team goal, such as revenue attainment, in addition to an individual utilization goal. This keeps team members focused on getting a project done in the most efficient manner in order to get to the next project to help achieve the team’s revenue goal (and get their bonus).