How pre-built people analytics got NCI from dirty data to fast people insights
“After our C-suite executives saw the Visier demonstration, they came out of the meeting saying, ‘I want it. I want it now.’ Our CEO said, ‘Get it paid for out of this year’s budget. Get it set up and let’s go.’”Clay Worley, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer at NCI
NCI needed a solution that could provide them with the ability to address concerns over employee turnover, identify key talent, and tie employee engagement work to business results. Workday, their HCM solution, has some capability to do dashboards, but it could not provide the insights NCI needed to achieve its outlined goals.
Dealing with dirty data
Data inconsistencies in the system and lack of data standardization also made it difficult for stakeholders to agree on key metrics. For example, days-to-fill. NCI is a government contractor with multiple long-term, multi-year contracts and days-to-fill is an important metric in this space–it translates to lost revenue the longer a position remains open.
“You ask five different people what the days-to-fill is, and you get a, ‘Well, what do you want it to be?’ answer,” says Clay Worley, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer at NCI.
To fix their data and produce meaningful analysis, NCI estimated it would need to hire 10 new employees for the project.
Getting answers quickly
Additionally, NCI’s customer contracts often come up for recompete, which requires developing a proposal on why the customer should extend the engagement. The business case analysis involves looking at current personnel and associated costs, as well as looking at which employees may be retiring during the life of the contract so the team has an opportunity to bring in lower cost personnel.
This analysis is an integral part of the total picture needed to give to the customer and win the contract extension. Initially, Clay thought he could use Workday for this analysis, but getting the answers needed would take some time. You can see a detailed Analytics Path for this specific project in the last section of this case study.
NCI chose Visier’s pre-built people analytics solution to overcome the data challenges they faced and enable them to be data-driven in achieving their business objectives.
Data cleanliness–without hiring additional staff
The initial use of Visier was to identify where data needed to be cleaned. Visier enables NCI to dig into problem areas by breaking these down to business units and specific programs. This granularity combined with accurate data reveals outliers to hone in on and helps improve business processes more collaboratively and with better cooperation.
With accurate data they can focus on the problem and not the definition. They can dig into a metric like days-to-fill and answer whether it’s taking longer to fulfill the requisition because of a unique skillset or a compensation issue, for example.
Also, by using Visier to address these data inconsistencies, NCI avoided having to hire an additional staff of 10.
“We just started with the out-of-the-box analysis and reports and dashboards that come with Visier. Implementing Visier gave us easier abilities to analyze, dig into data issues, and prioritize.”
Agreement on consistent metrics
Visier’s guided analytics also make it easy for Clay’s team to not only understand how the calculations are made, but also enable them to explain the reasoning behind the numbers to managers.
“A couple of clicks, and we’ve got a very detailed explanation from Visier on how we measure days-to-fill,” says Clay. “So, we have gone from arguing over whether it’s really 27.2 days or 27.8 days, for example, to quickly coming to a consensus that this is how the metric is defined and how we’re going to use it. This is the accepted approach.”
Because Clay and his team can demonstrate the total time with data, meetings are no longer a finger-pointing exercise.
“Instead of managers saying, ‘recruiting is not getting me enough candidates,’ we can show them the data that shows they got 50 candidates, but the lengthy interview process resulted in candidate attrition,” says Clay.
“It’s now a collaborative conversation where HR and the business can dig in together to see where help is needed in the process.”
Insights at the speed of business
In order to complete NCI’s contract renewal proposals for customers, Clay’s team must provide information on attrition and planned retirements to inform staffing plans.
Using Visier, Clay was able to create an analysis of planned retirements in 10 minutes for their Chief Growth Officer. He printed it off as-is and presented it to this executive. She said it was exactly what she needed and incorporated it directly into a proposal.
“Even the graphics in the analysis are meaningful,” adds Clay. “It’s not just a spreadsheet with ‘here are the numbers.’”
See a detailed Analytics Path for this specific project in the last section of this case study.
With Visier, Clay and his team have also seen improved decision-making and confidence in using data and analytics.
“Through discussions with our operations teams we have developed two new guidebooks that are unique to NCI,” says Clay. “We now use those reports in Monthly Business Reviews as the dashboards for discussion of workforce trends that matter to operations.”
Better predictions for contract proposals
With more accurate data and faster speed to insights, NCI’s operations group is able to quickly understand its retirement forecast and the costs of the proposed staff. From this, they can develop the required business case, pricing strategy, and plan for the necessary operational moves to fill the contract staffing needs.
The analysis enabled improved planning which can be difficult for a government contractor. With the Visier workforce planning solution, they can better predict retirements and get ahead of their hiring and redeployment needs throughout the year to support their multi-year projects.
Bringing days-to-fill down by nearly 40%
The team has improved its days-to-fill from 46 to 29 days, which yields an opportunity of improved revenue. The HR team is now working on a model to actually show the loss of revenue by program and contract type, as different contracts have different impacts on revenue. With this model, they can show hiring managers that while they are taking an extra three weeks to get someone for $5,000 a year less, the impact in terms of lost revenue is as much as $500,000.
This gives them a way to show whether operations need more resources or assistance to make the days-to-fill shorter and improve time to revenue.
Increased confidence in people data
To engage with executives who have limited time, Clay uses Visier in meetings to provide on-the-fly answers to their questions. He uses the pre-built guidebooks to walk executives through analyses on topics like turnover or characteristics of key talent. This grabs attention, generates questions, and stimulates conversations around the insights being shared.
“We now have gained insights into analysis that the business is actually knocking on our door to get. We don’t have to ‘peddle our wares’ door-to-door, but instead are seen as a place to come to gain business insights.”
The HR team was also trained to use Visier so they could take it into their conversations with leaders. As Visier use increases, the HR team is learning to develop better data judgement and gaining the ability to be more strategic in their support of NCI leaders and goals.
“Visier is continuing to grow in terms of HR use and applicability, primarily because it’s a lot easier from a reporting standpoint than our HCM. So we will use it on a daily basis for reports for analysis,” says Clay.
NCI will be working on refining its talent acquisition data and reporting capabilities, understanding where candidates are in various stages of the recruiting process and how quickly they are moved through to either onboarding or a notice that they are not the right fit. This will help NCI’s recruiting efficiency.
They will also use Visier to be more proactive with talent management. As data is cleaned up, NCI will have insight into the last time a person was promoted or whether a manager should be working with an employee on development plans for an employee. By understanding what skills NCI has, those it needs and those available in the labor market they will be able to make better decisions on investments to hire and develop.