CEO, Traction on Demand
Future of Work – Human Capital Management
Traction on Demand is North America’s largest dedicated Salesforce implementation partner with 3,500+ projects on the platform. We develop innovative cloud technology solutions and applications for North America’s largest and most influential brands, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies. In addition to professional services, Traction has a suite of four SaaS products available.
Maintaining a socially conscious mindset, Traction is one of Canada’s first 100 certified B Corporations and has been named one of the top 10 best workplaces in Canada for four years running. In 2016, Traction ranked 21st on the PROFIT 500 list of fastest growing companies in Canada and 177th on the Deloitte Fast 500 for the fastest growing technology companies in NA.
Traction on Demand’s revenue grew an incredible 573% in a mere five years but, as many companies who experience fast growth know, there are obstacles to overcome along the way. As they grew, they encountered challenges of planning for an influx of projects, managing the company financials and keeping employees engaged, all at the same time.
Traction’s previous back-office workforce management solutions had limited functionality, poor support systems, slow response times and were completely disconnected from each other and its CRM. To keep up with the incredibly fast pace of growth, things needed to change or they were at risk of losing clients and their employees.
As they implemented certain technologies to support their growth and scale, they invented a new way to use data to ensure they would retain happy, engaged employees committed to staying onboard as the business grows.
Traction on Demand selected Salesforce and FinancialForce PSA to manage team resources, project financials, billing and, expenses, etc. While a great tool for supporting growth and managing projects, they could also be used to reduce turnover, specifically, in measuring the sentiment value of employees.
The result was Traction Pulse.With a small twist on FinancialForce PSA, the team added two required drop-down questions within the required timesheet interface:
What mode of thinking were you in? (e.g. learning, teaching, executing, admin)
How was the experience? (e.g. amazing, pretty good, mildly painful, brutal).
These two questions created a new set of employee data it would have otherwise never been able to collect in an efficient and organized way. In simple terms, it would give managers the ability to have deeper insight into a project and/or employee’s health, giving managers the power to make decisions to ensure employee and customer success.
In just a few short months, the company was able to develop Traction Pulse via an algorithm with two drop down questions (above) inside of FinancialForce PSA.
Traction Pulse gauges employee sentiment and measured percentage of happiness. With the ability to hook into features like Salesforce Wave Analytics, the results are visually clear, engaging and easy to navigate.
The immediate impact was astounding and continues to be a huge success. Executives are able to see the happiness of employees and health of projects as they determine which types of engagements to pursue in sales. As a result, leaders are able to empower teams to make better data-driven decisions. If an employee consistently rates a project or activity as painful, his or her manager can step in to diffuse any potential turnover warnings.
While the initial rollout of Traction Pulse was geared at executives, a secondary push was made to include all employees, enabling them to view and track their own sentiment analysis.
In the words of Traction on Demand CEO Greg Malpass:
“When people are having a difficult time or working on a difficult project, rather than shy away from it or hope it works out, l can now actually bring employees into my office and ask them what’s going on, what needs to change, and how can we help. Without the data, I wouldn’t have known there was an issue and has facilitated incredible person-to-person discussions.”
Traction on Demand has managed to keep talent turnover well below 5% by emphasizing employee engagement and well-being. Traction Pulse reveals 72% of Traction on Demand employees report feeling happy in their work.
This data is then leveraged to support the organization’s wider mission of “E3 Metrics” – enjoyable workplace, ecstatic customers, efficient delivery. Traction Pulse is used in conjunction with a Gallup 12 survey, customer satisfaction surveys and additional metrics to better understand how those three key areas drive critical business decisions for sales, employees and customers.
As of August 1, 2017, there are 320 active users contributing and engaging with FinancialForce PSA and Traction Pulse. These users have tracked a combined 125,000 time card records and sentiment scores, totaling 856,000 hours of work.
Salesforce Wave (now Einstein) Analytics
When focused on growth, employee retention can be a challenge. Even the most successful companies can have a difficult time keeping their workforce engaged and satisfied. More than ever before, businesses are making employee health top of mind. In fact, Deloitte’s 2016 Global HR Trends Survey found that an overwhelming majority of those surveyed (85 percent) ranked employee engagement as a top 5 priority for their business.
While time entry is necessary, it is a low value task for the individual doing it. In order to make the task more engaging, Traction wanted to find a solution that would help each employee extract more value out of the process if they knew it would have a direct impact on their career path and happiness. Traction Pulse has transformed time entry from a necessity, to being seen as a centerpiece of the companies’ health reporting and analysis.
Traction isn’t viewed as a traditional ‘hours shop’ consultancy, but instead a business where the work they take on is now strategically selected to meet the skills and interests of the people on the team. Knowing employees enjoy the work directly relates to customer success.
Soon, Traction Pulse will be presented in a way to increase transparency with customers who will log time against projects via a customer community portal. This will allow Traction to provide clients with sentiment analysis and provide an early warning system for upcoming project difficulties.
One example of impact of Traction Pulse comes from Dave Rees, a data architect at Traction on Demand:
“I knew I liked working with complex data and problem solving, but it wasn’t until I looked back at three or four months of my own data in Pulse that I saw I enjoyed analytics projects and working with not-for-profits. Knowing that, managers resourced me to a few enterprise-level, not-for-profit Salesforce implementations and I found myself more passionate and engaged at work.