HR at Colas USA Transforms Employee Experience with SAP SuccessFactors

Not every human resources (HR) team touts training courses that onsite construction workers can complete in pickup trucks as a major accomplishment. However, leaders at Colas USA were determined to create a new kind of people-centric employee experience.

As one of the nation’s largest road, bridge, and building contractors, Colas USA needed a better way to stay on top of an ever-shrinking pool of top talent. The company turned to SAP SuccessFactors software, standardizing HR processes across 18 previously independent subsidiaries in the cloud. Employees across the company are thrilled with the easy, centralized mobile experience.

“We need quality talent for our sustainability and growth,” said Ellen Meister, HRIS manager at Colas USA. “With SAP SuccessFactors, we can make strategic decisions regarding our people and planning faster than we ever imagined, including quickly identifying, developing, and keeping top talent.”

Benefits of 100 Percent Paperless HR

When rollout is complete in North America, the HR system at Colas USA will serve approximately 18,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada. Before this, each subsidiary had its own way of doing things, including policies, workflows, and forms for recruiting, onboarding, and development. SAP SuccessFactors software replaces those disconnected paper-based processes.

“We went with SAP SuccessFactors because of its user-friendliness,” said Meister. “Our HR managers and employees find that it’s easy to use, understand, and navigate. People can do what they need without too many clicks. The company’s worldwide presence was also important for us as a global organization.”

Pathway to Better Staffing Decisions

Dubbed “Pathways” by employees as part of a branding contest, the HR system provides transparency and speed to managers.

“HR managers love conducting performance reviews in the system because they have full visibility into their employees,” said Meister. “With immediate access to every employee’s work performance history, our leadership team can make smarter decisions about staffing.”

Colas Employees Find Mobile HR App Awesome

Mobile access to HR processes has been a boon to people working in the field, often in far-flung locations. In the U.S. alone, more than 5,500 employees at Colas USA operate from over 50 regional offices. Seventy percent of the workforce relies on the SAP SuccessFactors mobile app to accomplish everyday HR activities.

“Our workers use mobile tablets in the field, and that has become our lifeline,” said Meister. “Managers can perform all HR tasks, such as reviewing candidate profiles and short-listing the best matches.”

Anywhere, Anytime Access to Training

At Colas USA, cloud-based training and development is much more than just a convenient option. In addition to about 30 proprietary training modules, SAP SuccessFactors Learning brings employees a catalog of more than 5,000 training courses, available on demand. Topics span project management, IT applications, and peer-to-manager training, helping the company meet evolving workforce requirements.

“This has opened up so many development opportunities for us,” Meister shared. “For example, we’re upskilling more people to have important computer skills, and the learning platform has been instrumental in helping with that.”

Not surprisingly, safety is a major initiative when it comes to constructing and maintaining roads, railways, and other building projects.

“Safety is our No. 1 competency, and we push that training out to everyone’s mobile tablets. They can launch it right from the worksite, even sitting in their pickup trucks,” said Meister.

Better, Faster People Decisions

Using visualized dashboard reports, leaders have visibility into employees in every subsidiary. Performance review calibrations are more productive to the company and employees.

“It’s easy to see who’s ready — or not — to move up based on their experience,” Meister said. “We can see where we might have a low talent pool and need to gear up with hiring or development before we’re caught short. This helps managers meet development plans for their people in a succession plan.”

Centralized Recruiting Keeps Great Employees

In the past, job seekers might not have even realized they were employees of a Colas subsidiary. With career opportunities and applicants in one database, managers have a larger pool of qualified candidates, regardless of application date, location, or subsidiary.

“One employee planned to move down south, and she set up an alert for positions in her field in certain locations,” said Meister. “After being notified of an opening she was interested in, she applied for it and ended up moving but staying with the company. We’re keeping great employees, and this translates to cost savings.”


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