Lancaster-based consulting firm RKL’s human resources practice saw substantial growth in the last 18 months as clients reached out for COVID-19 related help and beyond.
RKL opened its Human Capital Management practice in 2018, focusing on providing the firm’s existing clients with help on matters such as hiring, compliance and training. The practice has doubled its client base in the past 18 months, becoming one of RKL’s fastest-growing practice areas.
That growth can be attributed to a surge in demand in 2020 from businesses in need of help navigating COVID-19 regulations and continued use in 2021 as employers look to hire and retain talent.
“There seems to be understanding among employers that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option,” said Bethany Novis, who oversees RKL’s Consulting Services Group. “There’s an appetite for trying new approaches like enhancing compensation structures, engaging teams differently and even automating and outsourcing some roles to sustain a company’s talent needs.”
In three years, the practice has expanded from three to 11 employees, partnering with consulting services across the firm in areas such as data analytics, process improvement and payroll.
As its clientele has grown, the practice has led companies through issues such as shifting to remote working and maintaining staffing levels due to quarantines, and more recently, giving employers a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining talent.
“Out of the pandemic, many companies learned that they were more resilient and adaptive than they may have thought,” said Stephanie Smith, consulting practice leader for the Human Capital Management practice. “It’s those companies that are coming to us now and saying ‘we know we need to think differently’ in order to retain the best talent while still driving profits and winning in the marketplace. And we’re in a unique position to help them do that.”
Most employers are no longer on the defensive like they were in early 2020. Instead, many have taken a more proactive approach, looking to the practice for answers to questions such as ‘how do I know if I am paying my employees competitive wages,’ said Smith.
That question speaks to the tight and competitive labor market companies are currently facing, said Smith. She added that employers need to know which positions, roles and responsibilities will be critical in an evolving business environment.
“Today’s employers need to pick their staffing battles, do their homework and then prioritize initiatives related to work conditions (such as communication, flexibility, paid time off and mental health offerings), culture and competitive pay/benefits that will help them emerge as an employer of choice,” said Smith.
RKL operates locations in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, including Spring Township, Berks County and Allentown and Bath.