PCL Builds Success with PeopleInsight & People Analytics

No more status quo metrics and reports. Connected data enables analytics and dashboards designed to address business needs.

Reporting and dashboards inspire new dialogue with teams and executives that is robust, vibrant and two-way. Big change for HR.

Ability to tailor dashboards to different audiences makes a big impact.

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In this case study, we talk with Paul Trudel, National Director, HR and Professional Development and Jaime McGavin, Senior HRPD Advisor, of PCL Construction, one of North America’s largest general contracting firms. Talking with Paul and Jaime you can’t miss the message that they love what they do – they admit to “geeking out” over data, analytics and communicating the story with the business. Read on to hear how Paul, Jaime and the HR team are tailoring the HR message to their audiences and building success with people analytics.

If you think of how you were doing analytics and engaging with leadership say, a year ago, how would you describe your approach.

Paul: The best way I can describe our previous approach to analytics and information was that it was static and one directional. We were in that stage of familiarity - “this is what we’ve always done” and “these are the numbers we’ve always shown”. At best, we were showing numbers and data that we thought leadership wanted to see but we were constrained by the data and our ability to ask the right questions. I think it’s easy to get stuck in this status-quo mode, and, for a while, this is where we were.

What prompted you to look for a new way of doing things with your data, your analytics and your communication with the business?

Paul: There are a couple of things that prompted us to take action. We weren’t getting reactions or responses from our organization based on what we were sharing. It was time to shake things up. We needed to find a solution to help us bring together all of our data into one system and get the different pieces talking to one another. We were both driven to make the move from “we only know what we know” to connected data and analytics focused on delivering what the business needed from us.

How did you get from “status quo” to where you are now with your analytics?

Jaime: Well, we knew we needed help getting where we wanted to be. It was important to find someone to partner with us, taking on the crunch work of the data at the same time as providing expertise and helping us evolve our analytics. We needed to be able to switch the focus to addressing business needs with our data.

PeopleInsight helped us by connecting and visualizing our data. We literally dumped spreadsheet after spreadsheet to them and they made the connections. There is no way we could have ever made the connections or visualizations like they did.

How, if at all, has the conversation changed with senior leadership as you have evolved your analytics?

Jaime: We’ve experienced a big evolution from static reporting to dialogue that is now robust, vibrant and two-way. The turnover story is one Paul used with our executives to show what we could provide that was different from before. Paul started with the familiar story and a broad statement “Turnover is down”. With our new analytics, Paul was able to pivot from this statement to a very important business conversation. In this case, the message was turnover is down BUT if we look at turnover by dimensions of key positions, star performers and different tenures, we see important implications for business decisions and actions.

Paul: Having our data all in one place and connected means we can drill down, find the nuggets and get to the information that matters. It means the conversations can focus in on business priorities. In the case of turnover, we now know which groups need attention and where to focus. This was eye-opening for us and for the executives.

"PeopleInsight helped us by connecting and visualizing our data. We literally dumped spreadsheet after spreadsheet to them and they made the connections. Now we can pull together information quickly, credibly and seamlessly, and connect to our executives in ways that matter to them." - Jaime McGavin, Senior HRPD Manager

One of the new ways you are communicating is through an Executive Scorecard, how did you come up with what to include on the scorecard?

Jaime: Part of changing what story we communicate meant changing the way we presented the information. We had some ideas of key information to include based on past conversations we had with executives. Another key input was solicited feedback from PeopleInsight. We asked them to challenge us in the information we display. We also spent time reviewing all the dashboards available in PeopleInsight and chose metrics that would give our executives a quick view of the areas that impact our profitability and employee engagement. We made the decision to include known problem areas so we could continually track progress and ensure we’re moving in the right direction.

Executive Scorecard -Sample Data

Has the dashboard or scorecard style of visualization made a difference in how you communicate and the discussion it generates?

Paul: Yes, absolutely with the audiences we’ve shared it with. Being able to show the data in a streamlined and easy to interpret views has engaged our executives in a different manner. I should point out though that, so far, we’ve only shared this across a couple of select audiences. We see lots of potential in the dashboard as a means of communicating the story and in generating discussion but we’re purposely doing a slow roll-out of this across our audiences.

It’s made a big difference to conversations having our communication tailored to the audience. In meetings, we’re able to show them some numbers and data, and then we discuss together what else they need to see.

Delivering what’s important to the executives based on their feedback is such a change from showing what we always did in the way we always did it. Our executives really get excited by this, and so do we.

You mentioned you’ve purposely done a slow roll-out with the dashboards, what’s the rationale for this?

Jaime: It’s something we learned early on with our analytics in general. Once we had access to all our data in one view from PeopleInsight, we very quickly realized how powerful the analytics were. However, there was so much information.

Paul: We knew the Dashboard would generate interest, attention and more questions – among us as well as our audience. We did an honest assessment of ourselves and asked ‘are we equipped to deal with all the information, questions and possible pathways this will lead us down? ’.

To make it manageable we decided to keep our audience small. We wanted to get some experience with the conversations, have time to address the questions and optimize the dashboards based on feedback.

Turnover Dashboard - Sample Data

 

That sounds like a great start in tailoring your HR analytics to your specific audience. How do you see yourselves moving ahead from here?

Paul: I see us continuing to use the data and insight that is now at our fingertips to share stories and make better people decisions. With PeopleInsight we can pull together information quickly, credibly and seamlessly, and connect to our executives in ways that matter to them. We’ll continue to use the data to ask smarter questions to learn about the needs of the business. We’ll continue to evolve our understanding of the data so HR can deliver better information and impact the success of the business. And ideally, as we’re ready and able, we’ll keep expanding our reach across the business, bringing more groups into the know.

 

"It’s something we learned early on with our analytics in general. Once we had access to all our data in one view from PeopleInsight, we very quickly realized how powerful the analytics were." - Jaime McGavin, Senior HRPD Manager

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