The case is about the importance of recruitment planning and talent management in Accenture under a competitive and a challenging environment and how it developed competence in the same.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Starting in the mid-1980s, the company began to relocate to various low cost and skill abundant locations in the world in order to scale up its IT as well as BPO services. Accenture implemented the global delivery network (GDN) in 2001. This helped in providing low cost solutions to clients regardless of location, thereby also enabling them to focus solely on delivery. The company implemented a series of measures to manage talent and recruitment processes for its IT services and the BPO wings, resulting in much success. In 2007, the company decided to enhance its management consulting work in India by hiring 2000 new management consultants within a year.
In order to tap into the talent pool of management consulting, Accenture India would need to expand its position from the present perception as an organization with a focus on hiring IT and outsourcing professionals. The broader challenge was to hire a 2000-odd top talent in consulting within a span of 1 year. The shorter lead times to staff consultants and the kind of skill sets required makes it all the more challenging to recruit ahead of demand.
The company would need to tweak or entirely change its existing recruitment model (of IT services and BPO) in order to hire complex skill sets that may not be easy to find. Hence, the immediate considerations were: partnering with key stake holders to demonstrate a best-in-class HR team and addressing Accenture’s business objectives to continue to deliver value in delivering value in deploying high performing talent across IT services and business process operations, as well as management consulting.
Evolution of Recruitment processes:
Global Delivery Network
•2001: GDN implemented to deliver low cost IT services regardless of location. Global Delivery Centers served global clients and focused solely only delivery.
•2002: Bangalore center opened. More than 1000 professionals hired serving about 12 clients
New Recruitment Model (from 2003)
•Surge in demand from a number of Accenture’s global clients necessitated rapid industrialization of recruitment process with very little lead time
•New functional model, applying supply chain management principles to recruitment, was implemented by breaking down recruitment in multiple components
•The recruitment process was broken down into the 4 strategic steps as given below 1.Candidate sourcing- Mapping business demand, manage recruitment channels to optimize supply of resumes and resume screening. 2.Candidate management- Administration of level-appropriate tests to candidates. Scheduling and executing interviews by HR and business managers. Separation of sourcing and evaluation process. More integrity in hiring. 3.On-boarding- Multiple touch points to connect with hired candidates. Background checks also made. 4.Capabilities- Apply technology to recruitment process and innovate process improvements. Tracking of progress against recruitment targets while maintaining quality.
•Adopted the functional recruitment model to BPO hiring in India by designing the team structure of such BPO processes as voice communications, HR back-office, finance and accounting, and procurement services and other employee retention methods
•HR was re-organized into a more centralized structure by restricting into three key components: oBusiness-aligned HR service delivery teams- executing employee life cycle process oCentralized HR service architecture team- compensation, capability development, policies and compliance oCentralized HR back office- perform repeatable administrate tasks 2005: Launched Accenture-XLRI HR academy to source enough HR talent to meet Accenture’s growth plans.
Measuring HR Performance
•HR control systems using 3 sets of key metrics (recruitment, effective of HR core functions and employee engagement) was implemented in 2002
•Each Accenture employee was required to complete an employee engagement survey that addressed 6 main metrics on engagement
•PCMM (people capability maturity model) was a framework to evaluate the maturity of work force practices, set priorities for improvement actions and establish a program of continuous workforce development. It was a tool to emphasize the human capital aspects of process maturity.
•In 2004, Accenture India chose to apply PCMM to help institutionalize its HR processes
•The functional recruitment model provide Accenture the requisite maturity levels to help in speedy PCMM certification
•By 2007, nearly 60,000 employees worldwide worked at Accenture delivery centers using people processes at or near PCMM level-five certification
•University hires: Since Accenture will require specific management consulting talent in a span of 1 year, they can look at a mix of experienced and fresh intakes. In India, there are top notch business schools that provide quality management talent. Even experienced candidates from various fields and specializations undertake management education from these institutes thus presenting a diversified talent pool. Accenture will benefit greatly in the long run through association with such Universities to source their required number with the said skill set and specializations ranging from statistics, economics and social sciences. The fresh graduates can be evaluated prior to the actual on-boarding through internships, live projects and other campus engagement activities. The campus engagement activities will also provide Accenture good visibility as a recruiter in the management consulting space.
•Experienced hires: Since management consulting is a new avenue in India, Accenture will require experienced consultants who will bring in the relevant industry experience in India. These requirements can be met through employee referral programs more efficiently rather than the present channels. Incentive associated with the program will motivate present employees to refer quality talents to Accenture and thus cutting down on sourcing cost and effort.
•Leveraging Global consulting expertise: In the initial years of consulting in India, Accenture can look at souring leadership positions for its operations in India from other established Global consulting locations of the firm. The expertise and experience they being in can be utilized to train and orient the Indian hires with global Accenture consulting standards.
•Building relevant HR capabilities: The management consultant’s pool required comes from diversified fields with complex skill sets. To ensure that quality hires and on-boarded the HR department should be competent enough to outline the requirement precisely and evaluate applicants accordingly. The present IT and BPO practices that exist in Accenture India is insufficient to evaluate the kind of talent required for management consulting. Hence building capabilities in this field is required to ensure quality hires in minimum lead time.
•Creating value proposition: Management consulting as a field is not mature in the Indian scenario, and mostly IT consulting was carried out of Indian centers. Whereas Accenture being a Fortune 500 company known globally for its consulting expertise, can leverage upon this fact to appeal to the Indian talent pool.