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How Pontoon is Embracing Digital in Talent Management

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In a recent webcast by the Conference Board, Avature’s Product Marketing Manager Carolina Lewitan partnered with VP, Global Emerging Technology & Projects Annie Hammer and SVP, Global Human Resources Terri Lewis of Pontoon Solutions, to discuss how Pontoon has embraced technology to improve its talent management processes.

Digital tools are rapidly transforming multiple business processes from sales to supply chain management, and HR is no exception. Fifty-six percent of companies are already redesigning their HR programs to include digital and mobile tools. The key factor to a successful digital transformation? Leveraging data on everything from candidate pipelines to employee performance.

Data collection is the first step, but many organizations find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of information they capture, and store in separate systems. Sometimes, it is necessary to re-think processes from a data-first perspective to ensure that you are collecting and storing valuable information in a centralized place. Taking a data-centric approach to HR allows companies to make the most of the data to improve the employee experience, but also ensure strategic talent management.

We typically see that companies have a lot of HR data, but it’s spread out in a siloed way across many systems. When there is no centralized data, it’s challenging to identify internal candidates for an open opportunity, or to effectively handle performance management.

— Carolina Lewitan, Avature Product Marketing Manager

Pontoon’s digital strategy

Pontoon has grown exponentially in the past five years, from a decentralized organization to a multinational firm employing 1,700 people in 36 countries. To help keep track of their rapidly growing workforce, monitor performance, and boost employee engagement, Pontoon turned to Avature.

Our people work onsite at client locations, off-site at remote offices—we had a perfect storm of no single HR system, exponential growth in both our employee base and in complexity, and an inability to provide rich HR services to our people.”

— Terri Lewis, Pontoon

According to Terri Lewis, Pontoon defined five goals that shape their HR strategy and digital transformation.

  • Understand the workforce.
  • Know who the subject matter experts are.
  • Learn who holds what knowledge.
  • Have greater visibility regarding who works with who, including interdependencies in teams and networks.
  • Leverage mobile technologies for employees.

Gathering data

Only eight percent of organizations report that they have usable HR data, a statistic that Hammer indicates is a major obstacle to developing strategic talent management processes.

How do you know who your employees truly are, what they’ve done and which skills they’ve gained while they’ve been in your organization? It’s really challenging for HR to become a leader in a digital organization and be able to change the way people work and how they relate to work when they only have generalized data.”

— Annie Hammer, Pontoon

Avature enables Pontoon to collect the rich employee data they need while staying compliant with data regulations, as their parent organization, The Adecco Group, requires. Pontoon’s team also wanted a way to connect more easily with employees around the globe, for a variety of purposes such as systematizing performance reviews and improving knowledge sharing between teams and departments globally.

We needed a way to really get to know our workforce and leverage it appropriately for our growth.”

— Terri Lewis, Pontoon

Designing a fit-for-purpose HR platform

Selecting the right HR technology is especially important when faced with complex business issues, Hammer explained. “We needed to select one platform that centralizes all information and provided a foundation for service delivery… we needed to make sure the technology could support the evolution in our strategy.“

In partnership with Avature, Pontoon incorporated an innovative core platform that gives their team an in-depth view of employee profiles all over the world. From this platform, they can handle performance management, succession planning, and gather employee data in a natural way.

Streamlining the performance management process online

More and more organizations are turning to 360-degree feedback programs and other comprehensive performance management programs to better understand their employees’ achievements, skills and career goals. Pontoon knew they needed to move away from a paper-based approach and digitalize the process  to make significant improvements. Lewis explained, “Our workforce is intimately comfortable with having technology in their hands and sharing knowledge—it’s where they go first for information. We need to capitalize on that, not reject it.“

Using Avature, Pontoon’s HR team can administer the performance management process right from their core platform. Managers now have a single place to go to review different employees and give individual feedback, with goals and ratings saved for future evaluation. Pontoon configured Avature to provide analytics and reports that give managers a comprehensive view of the feedback that employees receive from their colleagues. When a team gets a new manager, they can review all the previous data in one place, getting a clear idea of each team member’s strengths, weaknesses and goals.

Leveraging employee data to enable internal mobility

Understanding their workforce with more in-depth employee profiles and centralized data has allowed Pontoon to implement a strong internal mobility program. Effectively implementing an program of this nature requires information sharing between candidates, managers and recruiters, which can be difficult to facilitate. Avature puts all Pontoon’s data on one platform and allows all stakeholders to easily access information, therefore making internal candidates a key source for filling open roles.

We’ve gone from not knowing where [our employees] wanted to go, or how mobile they were, to being able to truly understand and build a pipeline of talent that can move within… We can identify now where we have certain people with certain skill sets that meet the criteria of a project, and can easily find out who was interested in going on an assignment internationally”

— Annie Hammer, Pontoon

Engaging employees with Avature DNA

In order to engage its global workforce, Pontoon required a tool that could handle massive campaigns and personalized communication at the same time. Avature DNA will connect all of Pontoon’s employees on a common platform, and enables communication around certain topics, or to the entire company network.

With the functionality [of Avature DNA], we are able to ensure that we can conduct communication campaigns with our employees. We take big data and apply it to our employees to ensure that they get personalize communications… we are not afraid to mine our own talent like we would external candidates.”

— Annie Hammer, Pontoon

Employees can create their own profile in Avature DNA and connect with their colleagues in a simple, casual way. They can search, follow, tag, post and engage with one another online to discuss everything from project specs to apartment rentals, arranging social outings after work, and sharing restaurant recommendations.

Talent management needs to be an integrated experience

Carolina Lewitan at Avature shared that the employee perceives the organization in its entirety, emphasizing the importance of delivering an integrated experience, by interconnecting talent management programs in the organization.

Employees don’t think of culture, rewards, learning and development as separate programs. They see it as an integrated experience that impacts their emotional, professional and financial well being. So, when you are going to go digital, consider a technology that connects all your talent management initiatives.”

—Carolina Lewitan, Avature Product Marketing Manager

To discover more about Avature and the talent management tools mentioned, please explore the additional resources below.

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