Human capital consultancy Smart WFM expands into India

02 November 2021 4 min. read
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Global human capital management (HCM) consultancy Smart WFM is aiming to expand its presence in markets across the world, with India a key focus market.

The expansion follows consistent year-over-year growth for the Australian-headquartered company, achieving 67 percent growth and tripling both its team and client base in the past three years. Smart WFM is a UKG services partner and works with a range of public sector, global and top-listed companies, including leading healthcare and retail organisations. 

CEO Jarrod McGrath – who exited his former business Presence of IT (later sold to Deloitte) in 2016 – founded the company after seeing the need to deliver services in a modern manner. He told that India is a vital market for the company – both in terms of growth outlook as well as for talent.

Jarrod McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, Smart WFM

In the early part of the century, McGrath had the opportunity to work directly with the Kronos (now UKG) and partner services in team, where he says he saw “and had the pleasure of incubating, contributing to and learning from the incredible talent then being nurtured in the market.” 

He and others at Smart WFM have stayed connected to the Indian market as the market of HCM professionals has evolved and advanced. With the current skills shortages challenges affecting the industry and with the consultancy expanding at such a fast rate, McGrath says it’s an ideal time to form a deeper connection, expand in the region, and support local jobs and economic growth.

He adds that India is ideally geopositioned to provide follow-the-sun support to Smart WFM’s expanding number of US customers, another key region in the company’s expansion plans. 

McGrath says at the core of the expansion is unlocking people’s passions and developing their skills relevant to the organisations of today along with driving productivity improvements into the local and global economy. He believes the company’s ability to self-fund, maintain single ownership, and stay true to its unique people-first approach to human capital consultancy have driven its growth.

“Smart WFM simply doesn’t have profit & loss growth restraints like other consulting firms do – we’ve stayed nimble, grown through customer acquisition, bank factoring, and taking a balance sheet-first mindset which allows us to maintain our single ownership,” he said. “This has kept competing and external interests out of the company’s development and allowed us to retain our people-first approach to consultancy.” 

“Traditional consultancies – including the big five and major tech companies – fail to step outside of the ‘knowledge worker bubble’ they operate in. We look at digital transformation from the perspective of all people, from the coal face to shareholder and broader stakeholders while providing services that centre on modern people innovation.”

Investment agenda

Over the next two-to-three years, McGrath and Rob Scott (a Deloitter who was recently installed as Chief Operating Officer) aim to build out a wider global leadership team to support the growth ambitions. In parallel with its expansion into India, the firm has also established a presence in the US. 

Smart WFM is on the verge of introducing a skills development academy for its team, customers and partners focused on ‘maximising people value’, which is outlined in McGrath’s recently launched book ‘The Digital Workforce’. The academy will focus on how people, technology and the operating environment can be harnessed to improve benefits from HCM projects within organisations while driving economic growth through people.

The Indian and US-focused expansion will also aim to bring specific skillsets from those markets to bear for other markets. The enhanced service and support add to the global SLA-driven on-demand services Smart WFM introduced at the beginning of the pandemic, which focuses on key UKG Kronos workforce management services.

The expansion and skills academy will also heighten Smart WFM’s focus on trust and transparency, people wellbeing, and building long-term engagement with new generations of staff into the fabric of organisations – three defining issues for CEOs in the next decade, according to McGrath.

“Company leaders need to hit the refresh button on how they attract, retain, and build long-term relationships with the modern workforce. That requires more than just flexibility and getting work-from-anywhere right – that’s a given. They need to understand people’s passions and putting them at the centre of their companies’ ethos.”