No confidence in consultants

by 19 Feb 2008

DESPITE THE large supply of human capital consultants in Australia, almost half of Australian companies are not confident that existing service providers meet their needs, according to a recent survey.

Organisations are most likely to seek the assistance of consultants to manage leadership development and the talent development of senior managers. The survey, which was conducted by Aon Consulting, also revealed these issues are two of the top human capital issues facing companies today.

“The biggest concern in companies is that they want to make sure the consultants understand them, their company, and their unique situation and have tailored solutions to suit them. They feel that some consultants don’t understand them, their culture or their particular needs,” said Ingrid Selene, principal of Aon Consulting.

Respondents generally regard their organisations as doing very well or well in attracting talent (59 per cent) but not nearly as well at retention (42 per cent) or leadership development (43 per cent). It is in this last area that they are most likely to see the assistance of consultants.

“Leadership development is where they are more likely to get consultants in for. A lot of leadership development programs rely on an independent third party who is not quite so involved in the day-to-day business,” said Selene

Organisations appear to be poorest at managing succession planning and talent development. The percentage rating their organisation as doing badly or not very well at succession planning for senior managers was 34 per cent and 41 per cent for other employees. The equivalent results on talent development were 29 per cent for senior managers and 32 per cent for other employees.

Attracting talent is another area where quite a number of organisations (23 per cent) expect to seek the assistance of consultants. This is despite the fact that respondents said they were already doing well in this area, and also that a high proportion (70 per cent) plan to develop their own in-house programs.

On the other hand, retention is an issue that organisations are more inclined to manage in-house. Only about one in 10 (11 per cent) expect to seek outside assistance from consultants to improve their retention despite the fact that only about four in 10 (42 per cent) said they are currently managing it well or very well.

The outsourcing of HR functions stands out as a ‘non-issue’ for at least 80 per cent of organisations. This finding suggests that companies are either not considering outsourcing or have already successfully undertaken any outsourcing they plan to do.

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