Construction companies aren’t typically viewed as hotbeds of innovation, but the human resources (HR) team at Centuri Construction Group is breaking the mold. These self-proclaimed “HR punks” are at the vanguard of transformation, helping the 50-year-old company sprint ahead during challenging times.
Make no mistake, business has been booming at Centuri, which provides utility construction services to commercial and municipal customers in North America. The company’s latest acquisition brought the number of total employees across the U.S. and Canada to about 8,000. However, Centuri faced significant staffing headwinds that included historically low unemployment rates, coupled with changing workforce demographics. Selecting SAP SuccessFactors software was part of a deliberate HR strategy to shake up the status quo.
“To attract the people who will support our growth, we couldn’t use the same recruitment and learning strategies that we’ve used in the past,” said Rishona Harris, director of Talent Acquisition & Development at Centuri Construction Group. “We needed a way to attract and develop the next generation of employees, who expect the same level of digitalization in the workplace as their consumer lives. It’s been a real HR transformation in terms of how our team operates and is perceived.”
The results are in the metrics. With instant visibility into everything from the best recruiting sources to workforce development progress, HR has become a data-driven, strategic business partner. What’s more, having a single cloud-based HR platform has helped reduced new hire onboarding time by 50 percent, and accelerated worker productivity from day one of employment through ongoing learning.
According to Harris, SAP SuccessFactors soluions met the company’s criteria for ease of use, comprehensiveness, and mobile-friendliness. In fact, the company re-evaluated and improved HR processes for recruiting, onboarding, and learning.
“We realized there were things we needed to redefine. We’re not the compliance police. We’re business partners, providing more strategic thinking and planning not just for ourselves, but for the rest of the business,” said Harris. “We’re here to make everyone’s job easier and make Centuri an awesome place to work. We’ve been able to do that, and it’s being recognized by the people we work with. It’s transformed who we are and what we stand for.”
Previously, it took four days to get new hires from paperwork to payroll, and employees spent about six hours completing forms. Now it takes employees about 15 minutes to submit forms online, and the new-hire process behind the scenes is completed within 48 hours.
Results are equally impressive from the job seeker’s perspective. People can apply for open positions at Centuri from anywhere.
“When we’re onsite at career fairs, it’s so easy to hand over a mobile tablet where interested candidates can quickly submit their application,” said Harris. “We can then move them through the recruiting pipeline much faster than before.”
Once onboard, employees have full access to both safety and regulatory compliance documents, as well as an expanded range of training programs aligned with their career objectives.
“We’ve created a learning culture where employees own their professional development,” said Harris. “For example, we just created a new foreman training program. All the pre-requisites and content for this five-day course is in SAP SuccessFactors Learning. We also offer management training in bite-size modules so employees can get learning snippets to help them in key areas like coaching, mentoring, listening, and conflict resolution.”
Harris said the cloud-based software gave Centuri a competitive edge. Case in point are the monthly recruiting analytics reports that have helped the company adopt a more dynamic, data-driven strategy.
“We can drill down to find out which referral sources generate the most qualified people, and adjust our campaign investments based on the numbers, whether the best candidates are coming from our website, specific job boards, community events, and other places,” said Harris.
In addition, centralized HR processes have given HR managers an instant, comprehensive view of employees. They can follow up with other managers to address issues like employee turnover or incomplete trainings.
There’s no reason for any industry to stay heads-down addressing daily project plans and regulatory mandates. The HR punks at Centuri Construction have proved that innovation can support high-growth objectives. It all comes down to software that puts people first.
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