Skip to content

Prevent consultant burnout: 3 proven strategies

This article is written by Lindy Thompson, Product Marketing Specialist at Certinia. Her focus is to help organizations understand the power of running Services-as-a-Business (SaaB) and what it means for enterprise agility, intelligence, and business connectivity. Get her insights here on the importance of proper resource allocation.
You can also find a host of resource allocation best practices content here. 

How is the current morale of your consultant teams? 

Consultant morale and satisfaction have always had an impact on productivity — and as we continue to field the blows of an uncertain economy, this job has become particularly daunting in the services economy. With satisfaction and morale dipping lower and lower with each report of a layoff round or interest rate hike, consultant burnout is directly impacting an organization’s ability to retain its top talent and deliver an exceptional customer experience.

In April of 2023, Certinia deployed a market research survey to get a glimpse into how the uncertain economy is impacting a company’s ability to effectively and efficiently staff projects in a way that serves the bottom line, and how employees are responding to a shifting utilization outlook. The research surfaced some interesting insights — one of the most compelling was that of the 900 consultants surveyed, 52% of them reported that unfair allocation or not getting to work on projects of interest were the most significant causes of dissatisfaction (beating out compensation!) 

How do your resource management practices stack up?   
Take the survey

What is “unfair resource allocation”? In a services business, this refers to a consultant feeling overlooked or forced to work on projects they aren’t prepared for, interested in, or skilled for. If an organization doesn’t have visibility into skills, interests, and aspirations, they are most likely dealing with unfair allocation sentiments. The dissatisfaction and burnout that unfair allocation causes have a direct impact on talent retention, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Let’s look at three ways a company can improve its resource management strategy to improve satisfaction and productivity.

1. Include skills in the project staffing process

33% of our survey respondents reported that using their skills to solve tough problems is the number one source of satisfaction in their jobs. Generally, schedules and level of work are the two factors that go into staffing a services project, and most project management tools can handle this level of staffing. What happens to project outcomes when an organization has accurate and up-to-date information about each consultant’s specific skills? Knowing client objectives and building a team based on the right skills for the job takes project delivery and customer satisfaction to a new level.

2. Allow consultants to raise their hand when they are interested in a project

In a big, busy consulting environment, it can be difficult to envision a scenario where consultants pick the projects that interest them based on current demand — surely this would slow the staffing project to a halt! It doesn’t have to, and the positive impact this practice has on both employee and customer satisfaction will not only improve an organization’s ability to retain top talent, but it will also impact an organization’s ability to delight and retain customers. 25% of our respondents confirmed that not getting to work on a project they’d like to was the biggest source of job dissatisfaction.

3. Understand consultant aspirations 

This isn’t just about talking to consultants during their annual reviews, it’s about a collaborative approach to tracking aspirations and utilizing the data to encourage professional development. This approach allows consultants to be added to a project where they can learn a new skill from a colleague or gain more experience to further develop a new skill. 33% of our respondents reported wanting clearer career paths and more developmental opportunities. Offering consistent instances for professional development is a surefire way to retain your top consultants and attract the right new talent. 

63% of senior managers reported that the best way to accelerate business results would be to improve resource allocation. Now is the time to take a serious look at current resourcing strategy and how it impacts not only employee satisfaction but also the ability to staff projects in a way that delights customers. The economy isn’t done wreaking havoc — a modern approach to resourcing will conserve resources and costs — but having a solid recovery-time strategy in place is absolutely integral to the health and profitability of your business.

Find even more resource management content focused on trends and best practices here.

Call Now
Schedule Demo