Case Study

Shaw Industries
Moved Away from Spreadsheets with One Model

Actionable Insights Helped Shaw Become Nationally Recognized for Diversity


I'm Torrance Ford, Vice President of talent management at Shaw Industries. Shaw Industry is a global flooring solutions provider. We're headquartered in Dalton, Georgia. That's northwest Georgia, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta. And just shy of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our business is manufacturing is what we were founded on. We've evolved into being a manufacturing company, but also a global supply chain company to deliver flooring, heart and heart services and sell services forward to our customers.

Shaw is part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Berkshire Hathaway, of course, is owned by Warren Buffett. We've been part of Berkshire Hathaway since 2001. And considering all the financial challenges in the world, it's been a blessing to be part of that organization. We were also selected as Forbes Best Places to work in the state of Georgia.

We were ranked 11 for 2021, and we were recently selected as from of the Forbes 2022 best places for diversity. Charlotte is 22,000 associates, 15,000 of which are our front-line hourly associates. And about 6000 salaried associates. We're headquartered in Dalton, Georgia. We have manufacturing facilities primarily due out to Southeast but we also have a facility in California and St Clair, Scotland, and in Canton, China.

We have a large supply chain network of distribution centers across the U.S. And of course, we ship products internationally over the supply chain from Asia and other countries around the world. But Shaw is the number one flooring solutions provider in the United States, and the flooring industry has changed dramatically. Used to be primarily soft surfaces, carpet has transformed into where it’s just as much hard surface as it is a soft surface, and that's lit flooring and that's laminate flooring that comes in towel format.

And there are commercial clients. So we're headed towards staying competitive in the industry. We have tough competition. And in today's world, that competition is coming from many different places. So our goal is to hold on to our market position from a self-service standpoint and to be even more competitive from a hard services standpoint to maintain that number one position.


The Challenges Before a Solution

As the leader of talent management and Human Resources Organization. I found myself looking to understand talent more holistically and needing to understand the state of our talent, especially talent that we were investing in our development programs and at Shaw, we have programs for frontline leaders. We have programs for mid-level leaders, senior leaders and executive leaders. And we've taken hundreds of associates into this programs.

I've been with Shaw Industries for about three and a half years. I found myself working through spreadsheets and making a lot of phone calls and sending a lot of emails, trying to understand who all had gone to those programs, what their current state was, what their aspirations were, and it was just extremely difficult for me to collect all that information and turn it into something relevant to the conversation I was having and maintain it.

We were trying to be proactive about partnering with talent to support their mobility efforts. And it was an extremely manual process to do. Ultimately, what started as a lot of conversations just to get the data turned into even more conversations to refresh the data as it changed.

I found myself not being able to move at speed with that information to really service the needs of the associates and the enterprise. You know, one of the pieces of feedback that I would hear is for associates that had the opportunity to participate in some of those developmental programs after a certain period of time, they would feel forgotten about. And in some cases, that included the high-potential talent that we absolutely wanted to keep engaged and keep contributing to the company as well as remain part of the company. So with us having an environment where some of our talent is feeling left behind or forgotten about, that impacts our ability to really position our companies to be able to do what we need to do to move the right people in the right roles at the right time.

I would say the entire system slows down when there's talent that is capable of doing something different for the company. But the data, the information relative to the skill show doesn't give you the insight so that you can make those adjustments with the talent. 

For example, an associate who was high potential and got the opportunity to become part of one of our leadership development programs had a fantastic experience being a part of that program. However, after they finished that program, their career stalled out from their perspective. As the talent management team, we were unaware of that until this associate was seeking other employment and shared the feedback with us. So having information could really set us up to be proactive about addressing those issues when they arise.


Solution Selection

Shaw, likes working with our HCM, it is an extremely powerful platform that brings a lot of value to us as H.R. Professionals. However, we knew that we needed more data, more information. Some we're in Workday and available to basic reporting but other data was just simply out of reach. It was either in other systems or is being held on to manually in spreadsheets.

So we started looking for something that really could bring all that together for us. And as we surveyed the landscape we saw a lot of great tools in the industry to choose from. One of our biggest challenges was getting information out of our HCM and into a place where we really could extract value from it. To compound the issue, our people analytics department was new, created in 2019.

When our Director of People Analytics  found One Model at a conference that our data scientist was attending, and through a conversation we learned that their service is what we needed to extract our data into a structure, and then get value out of it. We loved that One Model was partnering with us and not handing us a tool.

Once we partnered with One Model and started moving forward, that was a lot of excitement and energy and urgency around getting data and actionable insights. 



Initially, our partnership with One Model was extracting that data and getting things to move, it was not going as fast or as smoothly as we would have liked as a company. We raised those concerns and came together as partners and really identified how we could shift. One Model quickly made the adjustments with their team so we were speaking the same language.

And once we got that right, progress really accelerated and wevhave more data and more information moving through that pipeline today than we could have ever imagined, and in a relatively short period of time. My background before HR was in information technology, and I work with a lot of partners. And when you reach an agreement, those things can hold you back from moving forward. For example, a lot of times it goes like this is we discovered something that we didn't realize when we were negotiating and we need to adjust. A lot of times a third party or partner will say, OK, that's not part of the contract. We can do a change order and it's going to cost x and it's going to take y amount of time.



What was really neat about the one partner partnership was we had a true partner who knew what we did not know about extracting and integrating data, and they were able to engineer the data and they were able to meet us where we were with our resources without all of our red tape of change orders. So we've just had a true partner and someone who said, Let us help you be successful, and that was good enough.

So that's rare and that's refreshing to find in a company network partner with you in that way. As a value and value-added partner. And we appreciate that. I think what one model, what one model brought to the table was, they knew what we were trying to do because they had done it already. It's a very challenging space.

And as I mentioned before, with a lot of demand for delivering information at speed and making adjustments for it. And so coming to the table with knowledge of workday and work days APIs and data engineering capability and being able to speak the language of data scientists and data analysts, it was a complimentary relationship. So when models experience and background and history of doing these type things really stood in a gap that we had as a company.

What we were trying to do and we believe that we would have needed to do, scratched it I was I was going to run on there, but we like many companies have resources in i.t. And politics resides in h.R. And charles been willing to make the investments in resources to do the things that we need to do to move forward and people analytics was going to require additional investment and the risk for us was going out and bringing in talent to learn how to do something and do something over time in a market that is really challenging to find talent retain talent and move a solution over the long term to where it needs to be. The partnership with one model mitigated that risk because they had the talent and the resources and the experience and the ability to partner a lot of companies that have talent, resources and experience and they may miss that ability to partner. So what it has allowed us to do is over the growth of our talent at Shaw and the transition that we're going through as a company, both from an information technology standpoint and an h.R. standpoint, one model is giving us the ability to be able to connect to something that's consistent when it comes to where we need to go from a quality standpoint. So I see us moving at a steady pace whereas if we had chose the other option, we probably would have had more fits and starts in trying to get the resources right, the strategy right, the technology right combined in the place where we could get value out of that data.

And as you know, things are moving so fast right now that it's important for us to get value now and build capability for the future so we can get more value. And as I mentioned earlier, as the leader of talent management, being able to see what talent in the company, what the current state of that talent is, which was a manual spreadsheet-driven, slow process.


Now I can easily go to a dashboard, select a filter, and I can see one or more of those programs that we've had associates in. And I can understand the retention and I can understand the diversity, I can understand how many people are in those holes of talent and narrow. Now, my focus to what I need to do or what my department needs to do to support those resources, turnover retention is a tremendous challenge for for us and many companies in the world right now.


And that data prior to having one model was in a lot of different places and it was really hard to aggregate it and report on it and give insight to leaders across the company where they could act or be informed so that they can act on that data with one model where a dashboard away and show you is 22,000 associates across hundreds of locations.


So we have a lot of supervisory organizations and what's really neat is being able to equip business leaders, h.r. Leaders to get to the data that's relevant to them. There's only so much you can do from a corporate oversight stance when you have associates across the organization that are empowered and able to get that data and see what's relevant to them.


It may be a facility with 800 people, it may be a distribution center with 50 people different in scale, but they're both just as important when you're trying to get to the information that's relevant to your scope of responsibility, the ability to quickly retrieve information about talent that's participating in our leadership development programs, being able to see information about retention, about turnover at the at the level that's relevant to your role and your function in the organization.


If you're in a facility, you can see that if you're in a corporate position, you could see at that level to as we've collected information not only from our HCM, from other sources around the company, artificial intelligence is something that is part of our strategy moving forward. And one models for one, a platform is really helping us take advantage of that data.


And our data science team is currently building a predictive attrition model using one area. And we want to know what someone's intent to quit is so we can be proactive about doing something about that turnover. And one area is really giving us insights and the ability to see things that would be really hard to see what out there.


But for having one model as a platform for our h.r. Organization, it is huge. I would say for h.r. It's a one stop shop. Historically, we've had to go to multiple places to get information. And it's neat having a reliable reference point that we often go to to get the data that we need. What's also neat about one model is it doesn't stop there.


We have data scientists and data analysts who are doing advanced analytical work, and one model is also servicing their needs. And we have business partners who are seeking our data and we're able to separate h.r. Data that in some cases is sensitive and you don't want everyone looking at and we're able to pull out data to deliver to the business that they need to see.


So it's really servicing us in multiple ways. The platform is stable. The platform provides great dashboards and insight and information and the users are it's really easy for our user communities to be able to just go to a web page, select a dashboard, see their information. They need to see filter to the level they need to filter and share what they need to share with the business partners on not me, but i can speak to some other heroes so what one model has done is made it easier for our h.r. leaders to be able to go get information, analyze that information and extract insights from that data to share with leadership in the company and what our executive leaders and senior leaders are feeling is that given the time and the space for an experienced h.r. Professional to really drill in to the information where we have they're able to to get answers and insights that would take weeks or months in the past.


Now, those things are taking hours and days. I see examples almost every week where a leader is asking for something and either the people analytics team or someone from the h.r. Journalists community is able to respond to that request in very short order because we have the one models that for what always happened over the last couple of years, you can find 100 things that you can work on and our one of our executive vp's and operations was able to hear three things from one of our h.r. leaders that we needed to focus on as a company and by boiling down all those different moving pieces when it comes to what's happening with our turnover, what's happening with our retention, two, three things that we could focus on really has helped that leader focus his efforts and his team around those three things is, oh, do you want me to go into what the three things are or should I just go well, one bottle has empowered us to do is to equip our h.r. Leaders to go get data and answer the question from our business leaders. To give them insight and focus on what they need to do. And recently we had a h.r. Director to really invest time to identify three main areas of focus. 




And our executive vp of operations has really wanted his entire team at those three things and making sure that all that we do fits under that umbrella of three areas of focus and one model set us up to really pull that out with the data and insights that provide a good partner to someone who understands you.


The way that they get to understand you is that they they listen and they take their skills and knowledge and experiences and fills in the gaps that you have and ultimately help you meet the needs of your business. And that's what we have with One Model. We have a partner that partners with us to get us to where we need to be as a business.


Over the past year and a half, we have positioned a lot of data in one model and created a lot of assets through one model dashboards that's bringing us information and setting us up to do things that we've never been able to do before. There's more data, there's more information, there's more insights looking for in our partnership with one model, we've got to continue to bring data in, both from our HCM, but also from other sources.


We've got to be able to deliver that data both to H.R and to the business. And where we go from here, I would say, is we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to artificial intelligence. Our future with one model is going to be focused on using one to to get more value out of that data. To give us insights that we would be hard pressed to get using traditional methods.


So the future is artificial intelligence and having more data input into the system so that we could accomplish that.


Shaw Needed a People Data Platform

Torrance talked about chasing people down to get data and then again to update data. It was an impossible task. What they needed was a people data platform. What could you do with a people data platform? Find out. 


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