Canadian Telecommunications Giant Embraces a Winning Formula

At Rogers Communications, engaged employees plus satisfied customers equals business results. Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics) help the company understand what motivates employees, and how to better engage them and improve customer experience.

Leaders at Toronto-based telecommunications and media giant Rogers Communications believe that engaged employees create great customer experiences, and that translates to strong performance. To bring that philosophy to life, Rogers strengthened its commitment to take action on employee engagement, using analytics to determine what motivates its 26,000 employees across the company’s many lines of business.

That’s where Geoff Ho came in with a Ph.D. in behavioral science, Ho leads the Research and Advisory team within the company’s organizational development department. “Our team’s mandate is to equip our leaders with the right people-data and insights to maximize development, engagement, and performance,” he says.

With the support of Rogers’ leadership team, Ho’s team has done two things. First, it designed a self-service platform that allow business leaders and their human resources (HR) partners to gauge employee sentiment about their experience at Rogers. “If they want additional data, they can slice and dice the data themselves and develop plans to improve team engagement,” says Ho.

The Research and Advisory team relied on Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics, acquired earlier this year by SAP). “Previously, we provided reports via static PowerPoint decks and, if managers wanted custom information and analyses, needed to provide it manually,” says Ho. “Now leaders and their HR business partners can analyze their teams by region, workforce level, employee type, or other criteria quickly and easily. Ultimately, this drives the right targeted action, which is what matters most.”

In the future, Ho hopes to extend the platform so managers can analyze data from 360-degree leadership assessments and exit interviews.

Second, Ho’s team wants to improve key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business. “The ultimate insight lies in linking customer and financial metrics to customer and employee experience data,” he explains. Rogers employees span diverse groups, including corporate teams and people working on the front lines with customers. “When you look at specific business units, we can be more precise about the performance metrics for each of those groups and which parts of employee sentiment lead to better results.”

Ho’s team has started examining the relationship between employee and customer experience data, also driven by SAP Qualtrics offerings. “We can tease out which elements of employee experience create happier customers and better store sales,” he says. “This helps our executives prioritize the employee engagement investments that will improve their KPIs. That’s how data drives business results.”

How Rogers Combines Experience and Operational Data

Because Rogers also uses human capital management (HCM) software from SAP SuccessFactors, the company has been able to connect operational data (O-data) from SAP to experience data (X-data). This allows Ho’s team to help the company better understand complex issues like employee attrition.

“Our O-data shows who has left Rogers over the past year, but not why they’ve left,” says Ho. “When you marry X- and O-data, you can build statistical models that show which employee experiences differentiate the employees who’ve left versus those who’ve stayed.”

The company is then able to determine which factors are most important to tackle – salary or training, for example – that will help improve retention for Rogers as a whole, as well as specific business units.

Ho’s team has also tackled challenges in other areas for the company. “We partnered with our retail group to find out which X and O elements drove sales, and got great insight that we could act on,” says Ho. For example, the team uncovered two critical predictors of increased sales: first, stores in which a greater percentage of employees had gone through comprehensive training, tracked through SAP SuccessFactors; and second, where employees felt they were able to innovate and try new things, tracked through Qualtrics, tended to have better sales numbers.

Using X- and O-data together has also helped the company understand that for employees, development plans and regular discussions with their managers is a statistically significant predictor of employee engagement and confidence in their professional growth. Ho says, “Follow-up analysis showed that a development plan with four or more objectives was the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ in terms of impact.”

For the moment, X- and O-data are combined manually, but Ho looks forward to further integration so joint analysis can be done automatically.

Ho’s Path to Experience Management

Ho is no stranger to either Qualtrics or Rogers. He started his HR career fresh out of college at Rogers and saw an opportunity to use analytics to make workplaces better. He went on to pursue his Ph.D. in organizational behavior from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he used Qualtrics for research.

After a four-year stint at Google in Mountain View, Calif., where he helped company leaders better understand their employees using research and analytics, Ho was given an opportunity to take those skills back to Rogers to be used by a new executive team that was more focused on employee development and engagement.

Ho and his team introduced Rogers to a data- and analytics-based approach to people management, and brought in Qualtrics to help. The technology now touches almost every employee, as well as Rogers customers.

“I’ve gone full circle from being in a cubicle wishing I could improve the employee experience to having the skills, capabilities, and leadership support to really help make Rogers one of the best places to work,” Ho says.