Using workforce data to give you a competitive edge

Using workforce data to give you a competitive edge


Headed into the 2002 season, Billy Beane, GM of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, was forced to rethink his team’s strategy for player recruitment. Due to ownership not having the financial punching-power of the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beane introduced the now famous Moneyball method to give Oakland a competitive edge with the limited resources at their disposal.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Previously popular recruitment techniques in MLB involved chasing players based on the scouting department’s gut-feel and players with high homerun and batting statistics – but this often came with gaudy salaries. Beane and staff adapted their recruitment approach and instead of attempting to compete financially in a league they couldn’t afford to compete in, the Athletics began pursuing players with undervalued skill sets and statistics (e.g. high on base percentages & pitches faced per at bat). This allowed the team more effective salary control based on what they knew were undervalued player attributes, which directly correlated into better team stats (wins) and a happy ownership group (efficiency).

As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, tracking workforce analytics in your organization serves to increase your business and financial performance, due to an increase in workforce optimization. SISENSE wrote about the importance of workforce analytics, explaining that a company’s workforce management system is not only important, but that “the organization’s human capital is its most important asset.” Similar to a potential investor seeing sub-optimal growth due to improperly investing their capital, an organization without proper workforce analytics should also expect to lag behind as other general contractors invest in gaining that competitive advantage. This article will take a look at what workforce data is, why it is used, and how investing in it can give your company a leg up on the competition.

What is Workforce Data?

Workforce data uses business analytics and other techniques to analyze people-related data. This data allows business leaders to make better decisions and improve overall business performance, talent management, and employee retention. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), at the end of 2010, “workforce data” was yet to be included in business terminology, and certainly wasn’t being searched out on Google.

Fast forward to today, and the search for “workforce data” results in a slight increase of just over 158 million pages. Contrary to popular belief however, workforce data focuses on much more than just “hiring and firing” – it also concentrates on the return on value for every hire. Most importantly, it highlights specific data that identifies workplace trends such as potential risk factors, satisfaction with company and project-level decisions and strategy, skill gaps, and project requirements that aren’t being met.


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Why do companies need Workforce data?

Without a doubt, successful general contractors spend countless hours ensuring their workforce is composed of the right people, on the right projects, at the right time. What separates many successful companies from the pack is finding the answer to the question, “Why do we do this?”.

Leadership teams across multiple industries have a tendency to stick with common practice because it has always been the status quo. Companies that adopt workforce analytics are not only able to identify high performing individuals and projects that best suit their skill sets, they are also able to identify areas of focus to increase productivity and the best course of action in regards to succession planning and promotions. We listed three reasons why we believe your company needs to use workforce data:

  • Optimize your workforce plan for the long term

    Having accessible, accurate workforce data can have a major impact when piecing together your workforce plan into the coming months. It allows you to match build-type experience with specific projects and create well balanced teams to drive productivity.

    Workforce data will also help you better understand your team’s utilization and ensure you are using them to their full capacity. Construction workforce planning tools will also help to identify project allocation issues that arise to give you an opportunity to remedy the issue before it becomes a conflict for your organization.

  • Improve employee engagement by understanding their needs and satisfaction

    In an age where quality labor is scarce and turnover is extremely costly, construction specific workforce management systems and people analytics will help a company understand their team members’ psychology. More specifically, they can identify reasons for individuals that may be performing above or below company expectations.

    Employee retention continually ranks high as a best practice for cost effective and long-term success. The goal is to uncover factors affecting performance and engagement and to overcome them by fostering better conditions. You can also easily track team member experience more accurately and allow for new project experiences to optimize teamwork and productivity. This enables continuous learning for your team, and forecasting opportunities for growth down the line.

  • Create a better criterion for hiring the right new staff and a better hiring process

    Talent management is always complex, regardless of a company’s size or scope. Workforce analytics helps to identify skill sets that are required from new hires based on active team members in similar positions, their success, and company and project needs. More importantly, they can better understand new candidates based on historical data to determine whether or not they would be a good fit for their organization.

How do companies use workforce data?

Workforce data can also be used to evaluate more than just existing staff by analyzing the trends that surround employment. According to an article published by ADP, two interesting ways companies can utilize workforce data include:

  • Benchmarking – Insights from third party organizations to benchmark where your company stands in the industry either regionally or nationally. (E.g. ENR Lists)

  • Forecasting – Real time oversight into making informed project decisions regarding talent productivity/availability is only possible with rich data and select tools. (E.g. Bridgit Bench People Gantt Chart)


In order to create quantifiable metrics for production and forecasting, the construction industry has adopted a statistical concept commonly referred to as construction Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This dataset measures your team’s performance with statistics and allows for additional metrics or targets that provide relevant information and visibility regarding your company’s performances in various categories.

Recently, Andersen Construction started using Bridgit Bench to track current and historical data. Using an easy-to-use construction workforce planning tool has resulted in an increase of productivity, improved data driven decision-making, and being able to save over 24 hours per month on workforce planning time alone. This allows their operations team time to focus on other tasks to best optimize their time.

“Now, when we meet across all regions, the Ops Managers can use the time for its intended purpose – talking about and making high level decisions. It’s also helpful to be able to filter exactly what you want and mine out data.”

— Mark Horton, Operations Manager – Oregon at Andersen Construction

In a tight talent market, company leaders utilize construction workforce planning tools to provide clear visibility of their workforce data. This helps to better understand their workforce, its trends, and how to use it to unlock a competitive edge. Being able to identify high performance individuals, or “diamonds in the rough”, will allow companies to easily shift them into business-critical roles and start developing their skill sets as soon as possible.

Construction is unique by nature, meaning not every metric a company looks for will translate into positive results for another. That’s why Bridgit, the leader in construction workforce management, prides itself in helping companies create custom fields to discover unique ways to optimize current talent while creating a clear path of career development for new hires.

If you’re not already looking for ways to optimize your workforce, you may be falling behind. In the words of our customer, GE Johnson, on how they are staying ahead in the game:

“During the last recession, there was high unemployment in construction. Many people left the industry and did not return. So, since things ramped back up, we’ve been short-handed on all fronts.

[Bridgit Bench] gives us the ability to quickly analyze where we’re at and the immediacy of where we need people. Our HR group knows what they need to in terms of how many new hires we need and what skills we’re looking for.”

— Mike Dennis, Operations Manager @ GE Johnson 


Isabella Vich

Isabella has been helping organizations evaluate software solutions for over 15 years. Her customers appreciate her engaging personality and zero-pressure approach during the sales cycle, bringing value every step of the way. If you would like to learn more about Bridgit’s #1 workforce management tool for construction, connect with Isabella on LinkedIn.

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