Category: Talent

How the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Can Impact Customer Experience Management Services and Alternative Locations to Consider for CXM Outsourcing | Blog

With Eastern Europe serving as a major hub for Customer Experience Management (CXM), the Russia-Ukraine crisis poses a serious threat to service delivery. Now is the time for enterprises with large presences in this region to diversify delivery locations and mitigate risks.

Read on for our expert analysis on the state of CXM outsourcing here, the potential disruptions, and alternative countries to consider for multilingual customer service and tech support to ensure continued CXM services.      

Just as the world was looking to emerge from the global pandemic that caused a seismic shift in work and collaboration models, another highly disruptive crisis looms on the horizon. The recent geopolitical developments in Ukraine and Russia have caused the whole world to take notice, and with new sanctions kicking in every day, many are already preparing for adverse scenarios.

Given that this rift involves nuclear heavyweights in Russia and the NATO countries, the consequences could be far-reaching for the entire world. Consequently, these tense developments have created a lot of uncertainty and consternation for companies having a presence in the affected region.

Eastern Europe, which forms the immediate vicinity of Ukraine, is a major hub for delivering a plethora of customer experience management services for end-users both within and outside this region. Let’s take a look at the potential impacts to CXM outsourcing and alternative locations for CXM services.

Eastern European region CXM snapshot

As a strategic location for CXM services, eastern Europe offers strong multilingual capabilities, relatively inexpensive skilled talent, and cultural similarities and a minor time difference to western Europe. Leading global enterprises and Europe-focused players have a significant footprint in this region, putting them at risk in the current situation. The heatmap below illustrates the country-wise vulnerability index based on the number of delivery centers and corresponding CX agents present in each of them.

Screenshot 2022 03 23 084703

Potential CXM services disruptions and alternate solutions

Due to its skilled and relatively inexpensive IT talent pool, Eastern Europe is highly leveraged for its multilingual support for not only the regional languages such as Russian, Czech, Serbian, etc. but also for many of the major west European languages such as German, French, English, Spanish, and Italian. Poland and Romania also are sizeable talent sources for technical support.

Major cities in Ukraine such as Kyiv and Dnipro have been the most severely impacted by the armed conflict with Russia, and enterprises must accelerate Business Continuity Planning (BCP) measures to relocate affected CXM agents to safer parts of the country or outside of Ukraine to provide immediate relief.

If the conflict escalates beyond the borders of Ukraine in the coming weeks, major cities in Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria – which have the highest concentration of CXM delivery centers – could also be directly impacted.

We also envision a potential threat of cybersecurity breaches in Ukraine, inevitably causing collateral damage to its neighboring countries as well. While no one can foresee how the situation will unfold or its duration, enterprise clients must stay well informed and start devising backup scenarios and activate disaster recovery plans if needed. Although we believe the disruption will be temporary, a long-protracted war can’t be ruled out.

Alternative locations for CXM support services

Considering the uncertainty and volatility, let’s look at some viable alternate locations to help enterprises mitigate their emerging risks:

  • Multilingual customer support – Enterprises should consider new offshore and onshore locations to support major European languages for CXM outsourcing, as illustrated below:
    table
  • Tech support – The best strategy for enterprises is keeping their complex tech-related support in-house through onshore locations. However, for simpler queries, alternative nearshore locations such as South Africa and Egypt offer similar advantages that Eastern European locations can provide at lower price points without any dip in the talent pool. Even offshore locations such as India and the Philippines are suitable alternatives to consider as long-term tech support outsourcing locations

Mitigate risks

The last two years have taught enterprises the glaring importance of risk mitigation as a strategic priority to ensure service continuity, and this year seems to be behaving no differently. Customer experience has established itself as a true differentiator for enterprises of all sizes and shapes in every industry. As such, ensuring that customer support services run unhindered is vital for enterprises to achieve their business outcomes.

Now, more than ever, diversification of service delivery locations will become increasingly relevant to counteract the rising instability that the current geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as similar such events could bring in the future.

While we hope that this devastating humanitarian crisis comes to an end as soon as possible, enterprises that closely re-examine their service delivery footprints and proactively mitigate their risks will be better positioned to absorb any shockwaves that could potentially arise in the coming months.

With the continuing escalating events, it is important to stay informed on the latest developments in this region. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to discuss your situation and solutions.

Discover more about the impacts to the service delivery ecosystem in our LinkedIn Live event, How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery.

You can also keep up on the impact of service delivery from Ukraine and the CEE region in our  resource center where you’ll find our consolidated coverage.

Five Actions GBS Organizations Must Take to Address the Global Business Services Trends and Challenges of 2022 | Blog

2021 was a milestone year for Global Business Services (GBS) with most enterprises reporting the model exceeded expectations for global business services solutions and delivery. GBS provided the needed strength and agility to seamlessly supply value without disruption from the pandemic. GBS organizations also saw higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a metric showing customer satisfaction and loyalty, with an increase of 10-25% in 2020 and 2021, and established higher stakeholder engagement and service delivery expansion.

With this steady stride set in motion, GBS organizations are now looking to approach 2022 with a renewed focus on increasing the value of delivering global business service solutions. They are striving to boost proficiency, digitalization, and customer-centricity while taking steps to adapt to current challenges like inflation, a talent deficit, higher costs, and the ripples set in motion from the pandemic.

So, what should GBS organizations focus on now to establish and meet expectations for 2022 and beyond?

Challenges Abound – A Global Talent Shortage Compounded by Rising Costs

Based on our report, It’s Not a Talent War; It’s a New Reality – 2022 Key Issues in Global Sourcing, GBS headcount growth is expected to be steady, with average growth moving from 4-5% in 2020 to 8-10% in 2021. However, with the current global talent shortage and inflation rates reaching as high as about 15% for some roles in 2021, expectations for salary will increase by about 8.1% in 2022.

The talent shortage will not be a brief bump in the road and will require short- and long-term strategies. We’re seeing declining population pyramids across North America and Europe, which means fewer new working-age people in the coming years. Specifically, 2.4 million fewer new workers are coming into the market than in the past five to ten years. India will bring 1.8 million more people into the workforce in the next few years but is showing an impending decline about ten years out.

Top Priorities for GBS Leaders in 2022

GBS leaders should act swiftly in 2022 to make addressing these challenges a priority. Our Key Issues study reports that GBS organizations plan to make cost improvement their number one priority. With the current talent shortage, GBS organizations must also focus on shaping the workforce they have today, including better integrating a future hybrid working model and reskilling and upskilling their workforce to meet evolving needs, among other strategies. Finally, even though GBS organizations thrived during the pandemic, many are getting back on the innovation and growth path and picking up projects that were sidelined during 2020.

Five Actions GBS Leaders Should Take to Address 2022’s Challenges

As GBS leaders rethink cost and talent strategies in 2022, what actions should they consider today and in the coming months to continue delivering value?

Action #1 – Advance Efforts to Shift to Hybrid – If You Fail to Plan, You Should Plan to Fail

In 2022, GBS leaders will look at adjusting their leadership, governance, operating, and talent models to ensure career growth and preserve productivity.

As workers moved to a work from home (WFH) model during the pandemic, most were surprised to discover how well employees and organizations adapted. The GBS industry learned ways to manage remote teams very quickly, and many workers today prefer to continue working from home. The hybrid model is emerging as the preferred working model to reach a balance and retain the benefits of working from home and the office. Our research shows that 70% of teams are likely to operate in hybrid models moving forward. However, many have reservations about maintaining performance benchmarks and ensuring data security, among other concerns. But with the pressure to meet the needs of their employees, many are bending to incorporate the hybrid model to avoid risking losing talent to other more flexible organizations.

Action #2 – Reset Expectations on Cost Arbitrage from the GBS Model

We saw wages increase significantly in 2021, many by 10% and more. This increase is more apparent for IT and engineering skills; however, we’re seeing increases across various roles and skills, including finance, supervisory, managerial, senior executives, business operations, and others. We expect an average wage increase of 8.1% in 2022.

GBS leaders will need to rethink how best to control operating costs. This could be done by assessing the scale of real estate needed or managing talent to retain value without overspending. Leaders will also need to reset expectations in light of the current changes and challenges and focus more on business impact than historical expectations.

Action #3 – Pivot GBS to Support the CEO Agenda Through Innovation, Transformation, and Operation Resilience

GBS organizations will want to pivot this year to focus on supporting the CEO agenda. With the current challenges top of mind, CEOs are looking for innovation transformation and operational resilience. Mature GBS organizations that aim to deliver an increased services evolution beyond arbitrage can deliver twice as much total business impact, whether through enhanced end-customer experience, accelerated digital transformation, increased productivity, or other methods. To do this, we’re seeing many GBS organizations develop multiple types of Centers of Excellence (CoEs), either within or outside of the GBS, to alleviate cost pressure, an absence of existing capabilities or innovation, or an urgent need for business model or digital transformation. The CoEs might target core operations, IT, talent, automation, or sourcing and vendor management, to name a few, and focus on optimizing and innovating various aspects of people, processes, and technology.

Action #4 – Execute Battle Plans to Navigate the Talent Wars – Understand the Talent Shortage Poses Serious Risks to GBS Model Success

A multi-pronged strategy with various tactics is needed to address short- and long-term talent challenges. These approaches could range from making the best of existing talent through engagement, reskilling/upskilling, and evolving the delivery model to rethink talent acquisition altogether. For example, GBS leaders could consider ways to stand out during college recruiting, find new methods to retain talent, or even look into different locations through options like impact sourcing. Finally, many are considering if now is the time to partner with universities to improve education and training programs and develop more project-ready talent.

Action #5 – Obsess Over Employee Experience

For our final action, GBS organizations should consider how to drive GBS employee experience at the enterprise level. It’s no surprise that enhanced employee experience results in improved productivity, efficiency, and innovation, better retention rates, and, ultimately, increased customer satisfaction. If GBS employees have thriving employee experiences, they will better serve the enterprise functions, business units, and internal and external stakeholders. Further, GBS organizations that focus on improving the employee experience and offer hire-to-retire services will maximize their capabilities and help deliver a better overall customer experience.

To learn more, watch the webinar, “5 Success-driving Actions GBS Organizations Need in 2022,” for expert insights from our analysts and the complete, in-depth breakdown of these five strategy actions. You will also hear from leaders from Cargill and Novartis on their employee value proposition and plans for future working models.

Short-term and Long-term Picture of Talent Shortage | Blog

Fiscal policy and spending, inflationary pressures, combined with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic recession, resulted in our current overheating economy that demands a larger workforce. Combine that demand with the multi-year global talent shortage plus the social dynamics of the “Great Resignation” and early retirements post-COVID. This adds up to far more than a short-term staffing and attrition dilemma. At Everest Group, we have studied this situation and what it means for short-term and long-term business concerns. Read on to discover the reality of what’s ahead.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

How Companies Can Find Required Skills despite Acute Talent Shortage | Blog

Companies today face a global acute talent shortage for the next three to five years. The pressing issue in this situation is finding or accessing the necessary talent to meet a company’s business needs. We at Everest Group launched an ongoing initiative to research and understand the different techniques and channels for talent acquisition. This blog explains some of the techniques that we uncovered.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Talent Shortage Driving Return to Campus-To-Work Pipeline Model | Blog

As I blogged previously, companies now face an acute talent shortage for the foreseeable future.  Two factors causing the demand/supply gap (especially in engineering and IT) include the post-COVID economy rebound and, in the US, the “Great Resignation” of workers retiring early or switching jobs or careers. Another factor is the proliferation of digital platforms, as companies recognize that they can compete much more effectively and create new value for customers and employees, but the platforms require ongoing engineering and IT skills as they evolve. How can companies access the skills they need despite the acute talent shortage?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

IT Talent – Winning the Short-term Battle and the Long-term War | Blog

With the cost to secure IT talent internally and through third-party providers only continuing to rise, attracting and retaining technology workforce will require immediate and long-term tactics. Participate in our study to identify best-in-class IT workforce development strategies in leading global organizations.

Take the survey

July Quick Poll | How Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining IT Talent Changed in Q2 2021

The cost of hiring top-tier IT talent is escalating by the day. The persistent skills shortage has been exasperated by increasing post-COVID digital transformation spend and pent-up business demand, creating an intense short-term talent scramble.

Despite enterprises using known offensive (attraction) and defensive (retention) tricks, a demand-supply gap of 15%+ for critical roles in cloud, data, automation, agile, and security is being seen across regions. Offering compensation corrections and counters, bonuses, flexible location options, or job rotations are keeping companies in the race, but more ingenious measures are needed.

July Quick Poll | How Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining IT Talent Changed in Q2 2021

Insights to win the short-term battle

Enterprises are realizing that classical attraction and retention strategies are being relegated to “common differentiators.” Many enterprises are starting to max out on the stretched end of their annual IT workforce budgets – even as attrition levels spike beyond 30 percent for key roles.

We see this scramble persisting over the next 3-6 months. However, as pointed out by our CEO Peter Bendor-Samuel recently, fulfillment of pent-up demand and potentially increased cross-border talent movement is expected to start narrowing the demand-supply gap from the current dizzying levels as we enter 2022.

IT Talent War

 

Here are a few novel approaches enterprises can take to alleviate workforce challenges to a certain extent, especially around access and time-to-hire:

  • Relax shortlisting criteria: Recalibrate technical competency thresholds (e.g., the stringency of HackerRack test ratings and additional technical rounds), within reasonable limits, to broaden the talent funnel in the short term. Consider increased training at the start and onboarding graduates with dedicated training investments
  • Involve business and operations: Follow the lead of best-in-class enterprises by having:
    • IT engineers, product managers, and agile coaches – actively recruit and scout in online communities
    • Senior IT and business leaders – elevate brand value and excite prospective candidates via informal discussions
    • IT teams – screen candidates to cut down shortlisting efforts, especially for critical/complex roles
    • Team members – approach candidates before the on-boarding to build rapport
  • Upskill rapidly: Stagger skilling and training for new employees joining the organization and existing employees switching roles to reduce deployment time (e.g., from 8-9 weeks to 4 weeks)
  • Focus on internal mobility: Re-evaluate internal career progression designs and create better growth opportunities for employees by properly mapping competencies, clearly articulating alternative roles/paths, and incentivizing critical skills development
  • Explore alternative channels: Expand staffing partnerships, leverage hackathons/online competitions, proactively reach out to developer communities (Hacker News, Github, Stack Overflow, and Reddit), and engage with boot camps to improve channel access
  • Hire location-neutral: Hire talent remotely with no requirement of the work location to tap into the broad IT pools and push decisions on Work from Home (WFH) or visas for later. Consider pods, satellites, and Centers of Excellence (CoEs) to access niche skills
  • Increase referral premiums: Jack up referral premiums by 50 to 100 percent, especially for critical positions
  • Award retention bonuses: Offer retention bonuses with a time lag of only a few months to counter immediate attrition

Staying ahead in the long-term talent race

With IT at the front and center of every business, enterprises across industries are inevitably competing for the same target talent pool. With demand expected to outstrip supply, only enterprises that take their tech workforce destinies into their own hands will survive. And the planning and structural interventions required to drive IT talent self-sufficiency need to begin today, if not already.

IT Workforce Strategy and Planning

If you are interested in learning how other organizations are addressing the IT talent shortage, Everest Group is currently conducting an extensive study to identify best-in-class, or Pinnacle, IT workforce development strategies in leading global organizations. Take the survey

We will share a complimentary summary analysis of the survey results highlighting how your organization compares against the peer group with respect to capabilities created and business outcomes achieved.

Please reach out to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] to discuss this critical topic.

Also watch Peter Bendor-Samuel’s two-part video series about the ongoing talent war.

How Long Will the Acute Talent Shortage Last? | Blog

Companies now face an acute talent shortage, particularly for digital skills. As I described in my recent blog, this talent shortage means companies must now pay a lot more for new talent and pay more for existing talent to keep them from leaving. Consequently, it will bust corporate budgets for 2021, and it is already causing a boom in offshoring. Company executives now ask me whether I believe this will turn out to be a short-term imbalance between supply and demand or if secular forces at play that will make the talent shortage a much longer-term issue.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Acute Talent Shortage Set to Break Budgets | Blog

Companies that create annual budgets will find their 2021 budget busted because of the rapidly increasing rise in the price of talent – both for internal employees and for talent provided by third-party service providers. Even the wage situation six months ago is significantly different from now, as are the chances for hiring and retaining the necessary talent to meet business needs. What should your company expect, and how can you manage this situation?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

GBS Talent and Skilling Strategies for 2021 and Beyond: A Pinnacle Model® Study | Blog

Take the Study

Global Business Services (GBS) organizations have positioned themselves as valuable partners of the enterprise, driving enterprises’ top priorities and aligning with overarching objectives. Currently, GBS organizations are evolving to become global talent hubs that house deep-domain expertise and next-generation skills for enterprises. However, with the pace of technology adoption intensifying, it’s becoming more challenging to find talent that can fill next-generation positions.

GBS organizations need a robust, futuristic skilling strategy and will want to take steps to hire talent and educate, train, upskill, and reskill their current workforce to fill these necessary roles. The below image illustrates talent-related issues that are arising for GBS organizations.

GBS talent-related challenges

Getting on the right path with a future-ready workforce

To deliver maximum value, GBS organizations should begin to strategize how to bring in next-generation talent and deliver development opportunities to advance current employees’ abilities and skills. With future-ready talent, GBS organizations will bring even more value to the table, encouraging enterprises to view them as operating units with increased leadership contributions and less as helpers. Having the right talent could also lead to expanding into additional areas in which GBS can be more involved and entrenched with enterprise strategy and decision-making.

Further, skilled talent will provide a competitive advantage for GBS organizations, with the most success coming from those that have invested heavily in their employees’ skills and competencies. Enhancing skills within the workforce will be key to augmenting strengths and differentiators for the GBS model in 2021 and beyond.

Talent strategy focus areas

There are a few specific areas where GBS organizations can adapt when it comes to acquiring talent and advancing current workforce skills, including:

  • Enhancing brand perception in the talent market
  • Utilizing out-of-the-box talent acquisition methods
  • Offering learning and development (L&D) and talent reskilling and upskilling

GBS organizations that are proactive with their talent strategies, open to adopting new tactics, and not tethered to traditional methods are among those that may see the most success.

Enhancing brand perception in the talent market

With access to high-skill capabilities being a top priority for GBS organizations in 2021, there are expected changes to GBS talent-related performance metrics, including a higher bar for quickly finding and hiring talent. Turning to non-traditional methods to catch attention is becoming more common. One of the most effective approaches is a stronger social media presence to boost brand awareness and to be viewed as a desirable place to work. Hiring strategies now include being active in niche group conversations on social media and using hashtags to get in front of the right crowds.

Out-of-the-box talent acquisition methods

GBS organizations are searching out a variety of ways to find talent. Some have found success by hiring talent with specific skills from alternative and adjacent industries. There is also a different approach when it comes to reaching junior-level talent. Organizations are partnering with educational institutions, not just to offer internships, but to co-develop classes and implement projects like campus ambassador programs and hackathons. This gives the student an opportunity to get to know the organization and develop relationships with employees. One other method of attaining niche talent is through acquihiring, where a company will acquire another company, primarily for the skills of the staff.

L&D and talent reskilling and upskilling

As GBS organizations strive to deliver higher-value and multi-function services, they will not only need to find the talent, but work to keep that talent. This could be carried out by incorporating career paths and L&D opportunities, so talent stays trained and relevant on new skills. Many organizations are developing in-house learning for employees through gamification-based programs, making learning fun and improving employee engagement. Another method taking shape is peer-to-peer learning, where employees can come together to be innovative and learn from each other.

By creating a culture of learning, investing in talent, and helping the workforce to continually develop skills, GBS organizations can create a cycle of upskilling and reskilling, which could ultimately close the talent shortage gap for good.

The 2021 Pinnacle Model study for skilling strategies in GBS organizations

To discover more about talent and skilling strategies within GBS organizations, Everest Group and The Conference Board have developed the 2021 Pinnacle Model study. The research accumulated from the study will narrow down future skilling and talent strategies and provide valuable insights around best-in-class, or Pinnacle, skilling strategies in leading GBS organizations based on our proprietary Pinnacle Model framework.

How will this research help you?

By contributing to this study, you will learn how your peers – and the best of the best – are designing and implementing their skilling strategies. We will share a complimentary summary analysis of the survey results highlighting how your organization compares against peer groups with respect to capabilities created and business outcomes achieved.

Take the Study

How can we engage?

Please let us know how we can help you on your journey.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

Please review our Privacy Notice and check the box below to consent to the use of Personal Data that you provide.