In this chapter, we will take a case study to understand the value of nurturing employee productivity.
Before their acquisition by JACOBS, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) was one of the largest infrastructure service-providers and construction companies. In this sector, companies compete mainly on the efficiency of its work-force with their skills, their excellent dealing with the clients, delivering output within deadlines, etc. So it was very important for their HR personnel to acquire, train, and retain top talent. The company encouraged an open and diverse management style.
SKM were wary that some competitor might someday beat them at their own game if they don’t stay ahead of the curve. And curiously, it was their management style that was causing a situation. Their way of working lent almost complete autonomy to every employee to choose his style, time and pace of work, partly because the company was hugely dependent on its employees for getting clients, to maintaining relationships, to developing networks.
To find a balance between the freedom of operations for its employees, and staying ahead in the competition so that the right skill-sets be recruited, nurtured and marketed to clients, SKM asked Accenture to implement a Human Capital Development Framework. The objective of this framework was to enable HR personnel to effectively assess and analyze talent and recruit them. It provided them state-of-art tools of Human Resource Development and all the competitive evaluation methods.
When the Human Capital Development Framework was implemented, many of SKM’s strengths were confirmed and validated. The company’s processes, efficiency, finance all got high scores. However, it also found out areas on which improvements could be done.
The HR Department had scored very highly in the data collected from the framework, however the areas of improvement were identified as “workforce planning and local recruitment”. Using this feedback, SKM renewed its central recruitment policy and started placing internal recruitment personnel in all its global units. This immediately reduced the time to recruit staff and maximized the company’s ability to go for mass-recruitments as per the needs and demands of a project.
The framework was also able to identify that effective leadership development was an area of improvement in SKM. Because of the mode of operation, a person was more likely to be given a free-pass in the way he handled and interacted with his clients, however, these people were now also asked to groom people who joined the organization so that the inductees can learn the ropes from their senior colleagues.
SKM also made changes to their rewards policy. The employee’s preferences were taken into account while making a reward offer to him. Efforts were given better recognition. The framework managed to determine the areas on which the management had to focus the most and working on these areas brought in further improvements that provided SKM great competitive advantage over its peers.