CONSULTING, defined as cooperation with the client on the issues focused on the company organisation and its systems.
The consulting intervention
In view of the need for support in decision-making processes and in the identification of solutions for the management of human capital, the consulting approach offered may vary according to objectives and contexts. One of the approaches involves the analysis of the company context and its specific needs connected with the business, the working processes, and finally with people, through the use of questionnaires, interviews or observation, and a subsequent plan for improvement (analysis-plan-implementation). Another approach is more experiential, involving changes for improvement introduced directly by the targeted people themselves through an ongoing interaction with the most important stakeholders (experience-verification-learning). Any consulting intervention, however, entails a specific cooperation modality that takes into account the abilities and possibilities of the organisation and of the people involved, still with the type and number of indispensable stakeholders.
The approach is co-creative and aims at the creation of working areas where the people involved can focus on the problem and contribute with their creativity to the ultimate purpose of a long lasting success. This takes place when the experts involved in the consulting project have sufficient autonomy and decision-making powers to get the most out of the consulting knowledge, which is the result of processes and practices deriving from experience and from the application of specific best practices. The approach aims to create conditions of sustainability and responsibility for those involved: making those who must make and implement decisions responsible; winning the challenge connected with the capacity to represent the organisation realistically, managing ambiguities and contradictions; and ensuring a holistic vision by encouraging interdependence, connections, and multi-disciplinary learning.
Analysis of the organisational culture and climate
The assumption of the leaders on the way to be successful is the most important aspect of the organisation’s governance. The organisational culture is the first tool to govern the organisational behaviours and is expression of the relevant explicit and implicit rules. To implement long lasting and successful changes, companies therefore focus primarily on the way people work. The analysis of the company culture and climate aims to resolve situations of resilience to change, poor communication, involvement of the wrong people, or lack of experience in integration processes. By way of example, consulting on issues of organisational culture takes place in the cases listed below.
- When companies undergo crucial mergers and are in search for a new identity.
- When companies acquire new entities and the existing managerial subcultures must be harmonised.
- When the clients’ need change and it is necessary to rely on new certainties, values, and behavioural principles: for example, at the end of monopolistic periods.
- When it is necessary to strengthen or consolidate one’s strategic position through company values and identity to affect motivation and morale.
Management Development & Learning Systems
Leadership is defined as the capacity of a group of people (Leaders) to bring about challenging and successful changes thanks to the maximum cooperation with its people. Talent development and the creation of learning and knowledge sharing systems are necessary actions to ensure the prompt and continued availability of the necessary human capital. Consulting helps in the realisation of effective Management Development and learning systems and processes. Below are some examples of needs arising in this context.
- When learning to learn is the challenge, and it is necessary to lay the foundations for a continued learning system.
- When it is necessary to update managerial/professional skills to bring them in line with the new challenges and create a different mindset, suitable to the new business, to new pressures or new people (new professionals and/or generations).
- During the company growth, when the need is felt to have a managerial structure and rely on sound principles and ethics in managing the organisation, people, and partners.
- In the phases of turnover of top executives.
- When there is the desire to rethink and adapt one’s leadership to the new organisational culture, the new business strategy or company mission, in order to attract energies and channel the efforts in the new direction.
- In the case of unresolved or incomprehensible organisational problems (wrong behaviours, systematic mistakes, etc.), searching for solutions that lie in the way people and processes are led.
- When there is the need to start processes to delegate powers and responsibilities and make a distinction between management and leadership to identify one’s own Leaders and create the conditions for their full empowerment.
- To increase the effectiveness of governance through an assessment of the degree of maturity of one’s management team and define a plan for improvement.
- When the promotion of talented resources requires, in any case, specific support in order not to lose their potentialities.
Age Management and Career Transition Systems
The transition from an age phase to another represents, for many, a moment of distress, which can have consequences on one’s personal life and work (for example, facing one’s own last period of work). When crucial professional figures are unable to adequately manage these difficult times, companies loose skills and abilities, and therefore performance. Targeted and preventive interventions intended to manage life cycles, in particular for those over 50, enable a better management of unpredictability and trigger virtuous processes to enable people to “rethink” oneself professionally, creating well-being for people as well as an increase in skills and performance for the organisation. Typical aspects in this context are, for example:
- When there is the desire to reverse the prejudice that over 50 professionals and managers are no longer able to evolve and rethink themselves professionally, and there is the willingness to benefit from their abilities by levering, on the one hand, on renewed positivity and motivation and, on the other hand, on a correct assignment of functions.
- When, concomitantly to the end of the life cycle of services or products, who held the relevant knowledge and know-how becomes obsolete, the company loses part of its human capital asset. If there is the desire to create the conditions for overcoming specialist obsolescence, it is necessary to think of, and plan, the skill cycles of people in the same way as the life cycles of products and services.
- People over 50 happen to ask themselves fundamental questions on their capacity to successfully face the years up to retirement, taking their ambitions into account. The company is often unable to answer such questions both from the organisational and from the human viewpoint. The people risk being disoriented and all the value of their contribution to the business risks going to waste.
- Sometimes the phases of career transition and the phases of evolution of life cycles overlap. People no longer understand who they are and who they want to be professionally, socially, emotionally, and the borders between these realms become less distinct. Providing organisations with appropriate transition management tools enables them to understand situations, make adequate choices, and protect their human capital.
Post-Merge & Outsourcing Change Management Systems
It is a strategic need for companies to understand comprehensively the variables of human behaviour before, during and after acquisitions or mergers, for the impact that this can have on their success. Consulting can provide with the right know-how from the very beginning until the end, and at the different levels of intervention (governance, decision making, project execution, and reporting). Similarly, the expertise to manage human relationships in processes of change is crucial in the cases of Outsourcing on both sides, the outsourcer and the company who outsources. The typical needs that may arise in similar situations are those listed below:
- When companies want to make sure that the HR strategy can produce the highest value in terms of human capital and motivation, in addition to other key criteria such as cost, reputation, and risks.
- When the organization has little experience, and needs to have a comprehensive picture and a thorough and consistent planning from the acquisition phase to the transition phase and the eventual integration phase.
- Companies that want to reduce or avoid the risk of conflict or extremely emotional reactions on the part of people that adversely affect the company’s image or reputation.
- Companies looking for M&A processes capable of ensuring long lasting social sustainability.
- When a model is required to compare the pros and cons of a case of M&A or outsourcing from the viewpoint of human capital.
- When there is a lack of expertise in managing human resources during outsourcing processes and this is essential to make sure that promises are kept.
- To make sure that all parties involved can lever on the full potentialities and capacity of human capital during outsourcing processes.
- To overcome resistances, especially when it is about knowledge transfer, and people fear losing their advantages or value.