Right now is the time to actively seek to help your clients in any way, even if it doesn't fall into your typical book of services. Clients will appreciate the work you do now to support them during this time. And, they'll remember the gesture for years to come.
Here are 10 ways professional services owners can begin to think through the challenges of providing a higher level of value to their clients. Help ensure that your clients’ workforce is successfully transformed into a high-performing team that can operate remotely and become a flexible employee base:
1) Encourage clients to take talent optimization one step at a time.
For clients rushing to stabilize their business, talent optimization can be daunting. During your engagements, position talent optimization as a series of surgical, highly-effective interventions. Encourage your clients to take it one step at a time.
2) Help clients tailor their communication style to fit the organization's needs.
When disaster strikes, it's important that clients have a clear communication plan in place. They'll need to provide regular, candid updates to the rest of the organization. Encourage your clients to tailor their communication style to the behavioral needs of each department. For example, finance or legal may require detail-heavy updates. Sales, by contrast, may prefer bigger-picture plans accompanied by a list of action items.
3) Appoint a fast-acting response team.
Clients should also form a crisis response team. This team will be responsible for making key decisions quickly. So, it must be small enough to stay agile and fast-moving and have the authority to take action. Consider that your clients likely want to act fast, but need to be measured in their response. You'll want to recommend executives who are decisive, yet detailed enough to consider the data available, before moving ahead.
4) Help clients adapt their business strategy.
Your clients will likely need to adapt their strategy to meet the evolving needs of the organization. Start a dialogue among the key decision-makers. Work to determine which strategic priorities still make sense in light of an economic downturn. Likewise, help them decide where they should refocus their efforts.
5) Take the role of a mentor and guide.
Tensions can run high during a crisis. This is your chance to facilitate and provide your clients with key data, trends and fact-based recommendations. Position yourself as a mentor and guide, helping your clients align on strategy, make tough workforce decisions, and emerge from the storm stronger. In a time when emotion can derail good intentions, help keep clients on the right track.
6) Encourage clients to develop self-aware managers.
For clients to make it through this crisis, they need resilient leaders. And this resilience stems largely from being self-aware. Clients should encourage their most senior executives s to tailor their leadership to employees' behavioral needs. Using a tool like Collective 54’s Clarity Diagnostic, you can help business leaders visualize how their behavioral styles can strengthen the team dynamic. In doing so, leaders can have the confidence needed to lead through times of uncertainty.
7) Use behavioral data to help restore high-performing teams.
You can also use behavioral data to help clients uncover areas where team performance has faltered. Take a team of highly dominant personalities that likely has no shortage of opinions or ideas. They run the risk of failing to come to a consensus and driving the execution forward. To fill this communication gap, you could recommend that clients add more reflective thinkers to the team.
8) Understand how remote work affects existing team dynamics.
Some teams perform well in an office setting, but struggle doing remote work. You could have a team of outgoing collaborators that work well in person, yet lack the same energy in this new virtual setting. Using team analytics tools like Collective 54’s Clarity Diagnostic “Work Styles Assessment”, you can shed light on existing team dynamics, providing clients with actionable solutions.
9) Diagnose the pains facing client organizations.
During a crisis scenario, employee engagement will likely diminish. If your clients don't have a way to measure disengagement, it becomes difficult to diagnose, and resolve. Using a tool like an employee engagement survey, you can help your clients pinpoint where there is the most pain and friction within the organization, and help them focus their efforts to address those areas.
10) Fill organizational gaps by having clients hire from within.
Hiring may have slowed, but as clients restructure, new roles will inevitably surface. Consider helping your clients hire from within to fill the need. When hiring from within, clients should act as if they're hiring externally. Stakeholders must first determine the role's requirements. Then, they determine the appropriate behavioral and cognitive benchmarks. From there, they select candidates who best fit the job target.
Be there for your clients in their time of need.
When so much is uncertain, take time to protect the relationships you’ve established, nurtured and developed over time. This is a time to focus on client retention. Throughout these difficult times, try to remain flexible – and find ways to help your clients survive now, and thrive later. They’ll remember your generosity for years to come.
White, Laurel 2020, 10 tips for consultants during an economic downturn accessed, Accessed April 15, 2020 <https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/10-tips-for-consultants-during-an-economic-downturn>