Background

With more than 55,000 employees, this global company provides professional services to a wide range of healthcare clients. The organization needed to implement a workforce plan for its multi-year projects and provide clients with services needed at the optimal costs and profit margins.

Given it had a number of separate workforce systems and analysis tools, it did not have the right workforce numbers to understand the total cost of its workforce. Further, it could not connect these costs to the workforce plans created by its finance team. Its HR information technology (HRIT) team chose to combine workforce analytics and workforce planning within a single, integrated solution and selected Visier to pave the way for profit margin growth.

Challenge

To remain competitive in providing research services, this global organization must attract and retain a workforce of qualified consulting and technical staff who work on multi-year projects. With the workforce as the largest expense at the company, its HRIT team plays a key role in helping the business better understand the interplay between workforce factors, productivity, and cost—and, therefore, in improving profit margins as it grows revenue.

For its services work to be as profitable as possible, this organization needs to quickly understand in detail the cost of the people required for a contract before preparing a bid. Furthermore, to deliver quality service at the right cost, client projects must be staffed with the optimal mix of junior and senior people in the right locations.

However, because the company used a number of workforce systems and analysis tools, there was significant manual effort involved in reconciling costs and headcount, as well as inconsistency in the insights across organizational units. Key stakeholders could not gain a clear picture of how costs by region and role impacted profitability.

With data in multiple systems, it was also difficult to quickly provide clients with key information—such as performance rating averages broken down by job level— when responding to Requests for Information (RFIs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs). HRIT was struggling to produce basic metrics and couldn’t meet the demand for strategic insights at the speed required by the business.

Key stakeholders could not gain a clear picture of how costs by region and role impacted profitability.

Approach

To address its workforce data challenges in the most practical and cost-effective way, the company’s HRIT team chose to implement Visier’s people analytics and workforce planning solution. The team’s choice of a unified, pre-built platform allows them to consolidate the disparate workforce data and bring workforce analytics and planning under a single umbrella.

Visier people analytics included all of the Total Cost of Workforce (TCOW) capabilities that the organization required but could not previously produce. With the unified data from its HR and financial systems, the company could gain a clear picture of TCOW and accurately model how salary increases impact profitability. HR, finance, and other stakeholders can now easily keep track of how headcount and cost targets vary from plan over the life of their multi-year, multi-million dollar projects.

With insight into cost and value across the organization, the company is quickly responding to RFPs, answering key questions that clients ask before proceeding with a contract.

When a business leader signs a new deal that requires a certain number of people at a fixed cost, it uses Visier to explore multiple staffing options of senior, customer-facing, and junior staff, before any hiring occurs. By identifying how salary costs will rise as employees receive pay increases over projects that span multiple years, they can assign the right mix of staff to improve margins.

In addition to making it easy to calculate, analyze, and forecast the total cost of its workforce, Visier provides the organization with insights into retention and recruiting that are vital to helping the company maintain a workforce of qualified staff.

Results

Anticipated savings of $1 to $3 million per contract

The vice president of people analytics and planning says his team had previously used spreadsheets to build a workforce plan that saved about $3 million for a pilot group. While this approach was cost-effective, the manual effort involved prevented the team from delivering it at scale. Now, the team is using Visier to roll out the same model to other work groups within the organization.

As they extend the piloted workforce plan to other regions, they expect additional savings beyond the $3 million saved by the pilot group. By staffing with the optimal mix of junior and senior people, the company expects to save $1 to $3 million per contract.

With Visier, the company is scaling its workforce planning approach to other regions consistently—something that could not have been done efficiently with spreadsheets. The instant visibility into headcount and costs also means that commitment and accountability to the workforce plans will also spread, helping generate healthy profit margins.

Real-time answers for RFIs and RFPs

With Visier, the HRIT team immediately met its objective of combining people analytics and workforce planning within a single, integrated solution. This yielded a number of benefits, including a faster response time to RFIs and RFPs.

“In the past, it took us a long time to provide the workforce data that prospective clients required. For instance, an RFP might ask for team performance rating averages for the last three years, broken down by job level or group, which would take us a number of hours to determine. Now, the HRIT team can respond to questions like this in real-time during a phone call.”

Senior Director of HR Systems

As a result, the team has been able to cut in half the time needed to perform workforce analysis for a typical RFP, creating bandwidth for higher-value activities, such as consulting with HR and the business on other urgent business topics.