“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jill, as Talent and HR lead, you're responsible for leading Accenture Operations Talent and HR BPS globally. Does your diverse background help?
I think so, yes. Before Accenture, I worked in corporate HR and finance roles at Sara Lee, Verizon, Ford and Spherion—very different organizations with very different products, services, goals and objectives. When I joined Accenture as a product manager for compensation and benefits, my background helped me understand client and workforce needs across multiple industries. I have since served in all of the offering roles including leading the talent management suite of services and offering development for Talent and HR BPS. I've been global Talent and HR BPS offering lead since 2011.
Does your accounting background help?
Absolutely. I’m thankful for that experience just about every day. My background in finance enables a business-focused approach to HR and Learning. But beyond that it gives me a little more credibility and a language to help clients’ senior management teams understand how effective talent management and human resources translates directly into measurable business results.
Can you share an example of your ability to innovate in BPS?
Early on, when we began identifying the changing expectations of employees and managers as consumers of HR services, this recognition prompted us to redesign our services delivery model based on the spoken and unspoken needs of the workforce … so, rather than supporting an employee for a transaction like processing a leave of absence, we are now supporting an employee during a key moment of their life: “having a child.” This paradigm shift has required process redesign, expanding access channels and empowering/training our trusted advisors to better support employees.
Your mantra is that it’s not just about cost cutting, correct?
That’s right. To ensure we drive value to our client’s business and stay relevant to our client’s HR functions, we remain laser focused on improving the performance and productivity of our client’s workforce, in addition to operational efficiency and effectiveness.
How do you get a handle on emerging technology?
As the line between consumers and the workforce continues to blur, employees and managers are bringing consumer-based expectations into the work place. They want relevant information on demand, they want to be able to transact business 24/7 and they want to get real-time updates/status on open issues. Understanding this provides us with a directional roadmap that helps us to prioritize new and emerging technologies.
Can you name at least three specific approaches or programs you’ve initiated that have produced measurable results?
Yes, but when you have a team like this there’s not much “I” going on. It’s “we.” One thing I think we’ve done well is to broaden the definition of business outcomes. Beyond cost savings and process performance, we’re now looking at workforce productivity, employee engagement, and retention and the performance of new hires.
Go on, please.
Transforming employee services strategy is another key. I like to emphasize that the individuals who use and experience such services are employees and managers in a client organization, not HR practitioners. They think differently. So when you’re designing processes, you need to think in terms of personal and professional “moment of truth” situations. For example, when new hires join a company, HR must work with them and the hiring managers to coordinate many diverse events, inside and outside of human resources. Other moments of truth may include obtaining a uniform, making arrangements for a business trip, developing a succession plan or helping an employee find housing. These are big deals. Make them easier and you win incredible loyalty.
You’ve also got to maximize the value of analytics. In addition to showing how to improve operations, trend data and predictive analytics can show what is happening in employee turnover, new hire performance and time to fill open positions. That’s why we work with the client teams to embed data analytics into our service delivery. By understanding why employees leave their employer, the root cause of frequent absenteeism, and/or why employees and managers call a company’s contact center, we can improve the outcomes we deliver to our clients.
Word is you’ve helped transform HR and the HRO industry—after all, you were HROA Global Thought Leader of the Year and you’ve won Accenture-wide honors like the #beInspired Leader Award.
Oh my … that sounds impressive. In reality, that’s the power of a passionate, unified and diverse Accenture team, not just me. Together we’ve advocated taking a long-term view and focusing on our clients’ business and our relationships with them, which enables us to design more effective solutions. I also think it’s important to draw on personal experience, so it helps to have served as the leading HR practitioner in a number of large companies before joining Accenture.
An example of how newer technology can help?
Within the Talent and HR market, our clients have been progressive in adoption of cloud platforms into their service delivery models—such as Workday, Successfactors and Oracle Cloud—which have been available in the market for over 10 years. The maturity of the cloud HCMs have accelerated our client’s operational maturity through use of workflow, availability and adoption of self-service and analytics enablement. To supplement those capabilities we are deploying automation in the form of mini-bots, robotics process automation and other technologies. This focus on technology has enabled us to redeploy our BPS talent to more value-added activities.
What are you proud of?
The passion of our Accenture team and the value we are able to deliver to our clients. Also, I like the fact that industry analysts continue to rank Accenture’s Talent and HR BPO highly, like HfS Research naming us to the “As-a-Service Winner’s Circle.” But what’s really cool is when clients come back with that “wow” comment and a big smile.
Speaking of wow, what about some client results?
The numbers are powerful. We’ve increased regional sales by $50 million, increased new hire retention by 50 percent, improved average new hire performance by 25-35 percent, increased revenue per new associate by 114 percent, improved time to competency by 40 percent and improved sales manager retention by 68 percent. Want more?
We improved diversity of new joiners by 25 percent, reduced employee absence rates by more than 30 percent and reduced HR operating costs by over 30 percent.
Please characterize your leadership/management style.
Collaboration and influence. It is important to take the time to seek input on our strategy and innovation agenda. I also prioritize my time to get to know my team members individually, and the key activities they’re involved in. I am not one who is afraid to roll up my sleeves and pitch in when help or an extra push is needed.
Your education, Jill?
I earned my MBA in Human Resources at Loyola University of Chicago and a BS in accounting from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Accenture is a busy place. What do you do to unwind?
As little as possible. I spend time with my husband, as well as friends and other family, enjoying my local community. We spend time on the beach, sip martinis and eat the local cuisine … and to balance that all we spend time exercising.
What do you consider the greatest innovation of all time?
Recorded music. Recorded music has the ability to tell a story, share history, energize me, connect individuals and change the mood of the room. Amazing!