CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, and education. Ranked number 41 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, CDW has dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right products and services to meet their business needs. “We don’t manufacture or produce anything but drive the implementation and long-term management of very complex business solutions that drive our $7.6B business,” says Dave Klein, Coworker Services Technology Manager at CDW.
It’s the People, Stupid. Without a significant product portfolio to invest their research and development dollars, CDW’s primary investment is in their talent. Top people constitute over 75 percent of
the organization’s cost structure. This ratio means they have little margin for error in their talent decisions.
Given this environment, CDW embarked on a long term plan to build an end to end talent management strategy focused on the coworker experience—from the very first time on the career site through onboarding, development, succession, and even departure. They also needed to get more visibility into their talent across the organization using talent intelligence for a more focused approach to retention and mobility. As a first step, they created work teams tasked with assessing the business processes that would generate the highest impact for the organization. They felt that recruiting, performance, and career development were the highest value processes on which to focus.
But instead of buying best of breed software to meet these needs, CDW felt the overall benefits of a unified platform outweighed the value of bells and whistles if everyone selected their vendor of choice. A major part of this selection was getting all the functional and line manager decision-makers to agree that choosing this platform meant changing some of the current business processes, and even giving up functionality they had previously been available to them in customized systems. Specifically, implementing a single vendor would mean that the Coworker Services Department would not do some of the high-touch processes the line managers had always expected. However, the benefits of a unified platform, especially as it related to moving the company to a performance based culture, eventually won out. As the incumbent vendor for recruiting, Taleo was selected.
Fortunately, Taleo has proven to be more than just a solution with minimal disruption to the ongoing business. CDW has enhanced the candidate experience with a total new look and feel career site. Onboarding has also been launched, further enhancing the time to productivity for coworkers. On the performance side, performance review compliance is higher than ever. In fact, coworkers at the company have stated the system is easier to use and more intuitive than the previous system. In 2008, only 62 percent of performance reviews were completed. In 2009, over 98 percent of reviews were completed. CDW now has the talent intelligence it needs for making critical talent decisions. Finally, by consolidating on a single platform, CDW has also seen drastic improvements
to its bottom line. Before Taleo, CDW was supporting 18 HR systems. With the addition of the Taleo platform, that number is now down to three which has led to a 48 percent reduction in costs.
As the next step talent management process prioritization, career development is the new strategic talent initiative for CDW. Called “My Career GPS,” it will offer rich career development opportunities for coworkers to better manage their own internal movement within the firm.