As clichéd as this sounds, it feels like 2015 went by too fast (can you believe it is already the last week of this year?). Like many of you, all of us at 9Lenses are busy chalking out our goals and plans for 2016, but we wanted to spend a little time reflecting on some of the things we were able to accomplish this year. And to do this, we really need to look at what our customers have been able to achieve by using the 9Lenses software platform. So we asked our super customer success team to handpick top insights from our work with consultants in 2015. Our team picked six consulting engagements from some of the boutique, mid-size, and large consulting firms we partner with. Here are our top consulting insights from 2015.
Consulting Insights for Large Consulting Firms
1. Client Win = Consultant Win
Our customer, a multinational management consulting firm, ran an HR 360 interview as part of a small-scale project to get their foot in the door at a multinational technology firm. They queried senior leadership, directors, and managers on the effectiveness of current HR systems, processes, and strategy through a combination of online and in-person interviews.
- HR’s internal customers were highly willing to become actively involved in the process of improving HR systems and processes. Willingness to Help (measured by volunteerism rates and recommendations given) was particularly strong in Performance Management, Rewards/Recognition, and Talent/Career Development (about 20% avg volunteerism rate).
- 67% of respondents felt Rewards and Recognition plans were insufficiently aligned to business strategy and were not encouraging the desired behaviors among employees.
The consultant team presented data-driven initiative prioritization to the client’s CHRO and senior leadership team. The firm’s leadership was so interested in these results that they asked the consultant to collect more data to capture the perspective of end users, as well. The results of the interview enabled the consultant to demonstrate need for a broader investment in revamping HR, leading to ongoing work and setting the stage for a long-term partnership.
2. Internal Consulting:Leadership Assessment
Client Industry:Global IT Infrastructure Provider
The leadership team at our customer’s company wanted to evaluate the state of their business. They were experiencing significant turnover in staffing, business was lagging, and morale was low. The intent of their strategic planning session was a turnaround initiative for their office.
In order to identify employee motivational concerns, operational difficulties within the organization, and cultural factors that could be improved, our customer chose to launch a 9Lenses virtual interview internally.
Silos and Lack of Transparency
- Participants identified significant communication gaps across all of the topic areas
- There was also a lack of visibility on what was being planned. Silos were mentioned frequently.
Turning problems into opportunities:Using the insights from the interview, the company chalked out a strategy to address issues and turn them into an opportunity for improvement.
Consulting Insights for Mid-Size Consulting Firms
3. Understanding members’ perceptions
Client Industry:International Finance
Our customer, a reputed mid-size consulting firm,was brought onboard by an international trade organization to help understand its members’ perceptions of the organization and to measure the value they received from its services.
Our customer created a virtual interview using 9Lenses with the goal to determine members’ understanding of the organization’s core values and shape the direction of major initiatives. The consultant gathered data revealing that:
- Members were largely aware that the organization was focused on global expansion in addition to expanding its existing presence in US markets.
- The insights suggested that members highly value their membership with the organization. A diverse range of benefits, including the high caliber professional network and relevant organizational publications, provided real value to members.
- Members were most interested in understanding major changes to the regulatory environment over the next five years. Members indicated that the organization’s ability to provide a clear, unified voice for those in the futures industry would be necessary to advancing their interests.
The consulting firm helped its client understand what members valued most and how it could add the most value to its members over the next five years.
4. Proving ROI
Client Industry:International Finance
Our customer, a mid-sized digital consulting firm in the DC-Metro area, needed to assess the current state of information security acumen and policies at a company closely involved in the global stock market.
While the interview results showed strong information security policies overall, it became clear that the client needed to address some major communication and training gaps:
- 72% of participants identified a communication gap in their understanding of how information security threats were evaluated. While most participants said they had received cyber security training, many expressed limited knowledge of what tools were being used to protect against and evaluate threats.
- 43% felt more training around threat evaluation was needed.
- Benchmark Data for Client and Consultant
The consulting firm ran a similar interview a year later to measure improvement in employee information security acumen, arming the client with valuable benchmark data.
- Account Renewal and Expansion
Using the data, the consultant was also able to prove the ROI of the engagement and previous recommendations. The initial interview results sparked more consultant activity with the client. They ran a pulse interview to track progress in which the consultant was able to demonstrate a near universal improvement in information security acumen and process effectiveness.
Consulting Insights for Boutique Consulting Firms
5. When strategy is on point, but execution isn’t
Our customer, a transformational expert, works with one of Australia’s largest integrated energy companies. The company’s new CEO called on her to provide direction around strategic vision and cultural health.
Using 9Lenses, the consultant ran a Cultural Assessment interview for over 1100 employees across all functions and levels. Questions covered a wide range of topics around Strategy, Culture, and Execution. While many strategy and cultural topics received strong scores, most topics around execution received low marks. 25–50% of interviewees identified communication gaps on each topic area, symbolizing a clear need for strong communication in the midst of a strategic shift. Even on topics that scored well, like Strategic Vision, participants communicated that they understood the high level vision but lacked visibility into how their functions connected to the vision.
The data equipped the consultant with several targeted recommendations to improve communication strategies and foster a culture of innovation.
- Cross-training and team building exercises to encourage collaboration
- Reward employees for innovating and allow “safe innovation” limited to one facility or function
- Invest in systems that facilitate cross-functional visibility
The consultant took the interview insights and used them to facilitate workshops at each each of the company’s major locations. The workshops provided additional input, and insights from both the workshops and the interview were presented to the senior leadership team to feed into the company’s 2016 roadmap.
6. Reputation Matters
A national food processing and packaging company needed our customer’s help managing public perceptions of their business practices. Our client, a leader in reputation and crisis management, was called on to help identify and manage issues that had the biggest impact on their public perception.
Our customer designed a 9Lenses interview with two primary goals:
- To identify which issues have the most impact on their client’s reputation now and may have in the future
- What actions need to be taken in order to manage public perceptions and promote a better understanding
- The consulting firm gathered data that revealed widespread consumer misunderstanding about food processing practices. As a result, the consultant recommended a visibility campaign to tackle the issue. Consumer education through intentional and compelling visibility campaigns about best practices would help change perceptions.
- Our consulting customer also recommended going beyond traditional visibility campaigns and engaging a wider set of stakeholders. Recommendations also included activities such as community education initiatives, supplier accountability initiatives, proactive communication about safety practices to consumers and suppliers, social media campaigns designed to inform consumers, and investment in new technologies to prevent food contamination.
Our customer not only identified the top factors contributing to public perceptions, but also helped prioritize these factors. The consultant firm received good reviews and appreciation from the client, ensuring a long-lasting relationship.