CHG Healthcare empowers employees with Adobe Workfront.

Healthcare staffing leader increases transparency, collaboration, and marketing work quality while boosting employee satisfaction.

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Midvale, Utah
www.chghealthcare.com

Cut time in creative downloads by an hour a week

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Objectives

Replace a discontinued software product

Prioritize work to make it more manageable

Achieve operational excellence

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Results

Increased visibility and transparency

Introduced capacity planning

Improved work definition and quality

Increased collaboration and efficiency

Achieved deeper employee engagement

Employees ultimately determine the success of a business. At CHG Healthcare, Putting People First is a core value for the organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of its people, customers, and communities. CHG’s commitment to continually improving employee productivity led it to rethink critical marketing processes, including traditional project management responsibilities and systems, and adopt Adobe Workfront for greater work visibility, transparency, collaboration, and quality.

 

“Our culture is very people driven,” says Amy Pett, Director, Marketing Project Management at CHG Healthcare. “We used to gauge success by how people felt about their work, which is still very important, but Workfront has given us the data to back it up.”

 

Founded in 1979, CHG Healthcare is a leader in healthcare staffing and the nation’s largest provider of locum tenens services. Through its trusted brands — CompHealth, Weatherby Healthcare, RNnetwork, Foundation Medical Staffing and Global Medical Staffing — the company provides temporary and permanent placement of physicians, allied health professionals, and nurses to healthcare facilities across America.

The challenge

In CHG’s people-driven culture, marketing project success was often determined by how employees felt because project coordinators had only a task management tool to capture work requests from internal brand and communication teams. All product planning was recorded in Microsoft Excel and development in JIRA, which kept marketing and web development roadmap building and in-progress work separate and disconnected.

 

After establishing a formal project management team and standards three years ago, CHG appointed a project leader who began a search to replace the existing system with one that improved creative workflow processes, provided visibility into resource capacity, and supported capacity planning. Moreover, the company hoped to use the same work management solution for creative projects and web development initiatives.

 

“I quickly realized we needed to do more than replace one creative system. We needed to better connect work across different teams while planning for future projects,” remembers Pett.


“Our culture is very people driven. We used to gauge success by how people felt about their work, which is still very important, but Workfront has given us the data to back it up.”

 
Amy Pett

Director, Marketing Project Management, CHG Healthcare


The Adobe Workfront solution

Fast-forward to today and Workfront is now CHG’s marketing operational system of record. The digital platform is used to capture, track, and manage work requests, adding qualitative data to the soft information employees regularly provided. Nearly 100 CHG marketing employees — across internal creative agencies, web development, corporate communications, and public relations — now rely on the work management solution to support requests from corporate and the CHG family of six brands reaching healthcare provider audiences. Although the company initially rolled out Workfront to only creative team members and requestors, it quickly saw the value of adding web development team processes into the solution to better communicate, document, connect, and report on the status of all marketing work.


“Workfront helps us put people first, those that are on the front lines doing the work.”

 
Amy Pett

Director, Marketing Project Management, CHG Healthcare


Centralized work and capacity planning 

CHG uses Workfront to automate and accelerate the complete lifecycle of work, helping to put the people on the front lines first. The enterprise work management platform centralizes and standardizes requests, connects digital work streams, improves collaboration, and focuses teams on the right tasks.

 

For example, CHG has automated nearly half-a-dozen creative request forms in Workfront. Now based on question responses, the system applies the right template and assigns the work to the right employees. Since implementing the request queues in Workfront, CHG has significantly reduced the number of side favors marketers have done for colleagues that they talked to or emailed privately.

 

“Workfront helps us put people first, those that are on the front lines doing the work,” says Pett.

 

Beyond improving processes, CHG is using data from Workfront to gain insights into workload trends so project managers can more effectively manage capacity. In support of its people-first culture, CHG now has real-time, reliable utilization data that can help uncover engagement and success issues by recognizing workload capacity imbalances faster.

 

According to Pett, “One project manager was so efficient, we would have never known that she was over capacity if we didn’t have Workfront. Her pace was unsustainable and she would have burned out, but because we were able to shift some of her workload in time, she is happier. She now contributes in other significant ways as well because she has the capacity to add value and she appreciates that the company responded to her need for better balance.”

 

In many instances, Workfront has allowed CHG to be more conscious of the amount of work project managers assign at one time. Marketing tasks are now distributed in more manageable increments — for example, three jobs due at the end of the week, four the following week — rather than 15 jobs assigned and due at the end of the month. “Workfront helps us group work more efficiently while using data to justify growth in teams and opportunities,” says Pett.

Agile and Waterfall project management

Workfront Agile project management capabilities also help CHG project managers better balance workloads, help employees adapt to shifting priorities, and enhance team collaboration. CHG project managers supporting many brands set up projects for each that feed into the marketing team backlog. Web development runs a tight scrum team, executing two-week sprints in Workfront. Details are entered into several Workfront custom forms. Project managers plan as they go and run through the backlog using the scrum board to manage daily tasks and track hours for capacity planning.


“Managers and requestors have the freedom to go into Workfront, see a project request, make an update, ask a question, and update or view task status. Before, they’d have to hunt somebody down to find out what was happening.”

 
Amy Pett

Director, Marketing Project Management, CHG Healthcare


“We manage all of the scrum ceremonies — sprint planning, daily standups, the backlog prioritization or grooming, story boarding, estimating, iteration review, retrospective — through Workfront,” Pett says.

 

For CHG project managers, many of Workfront’s capabilities simplify Agile project management. For example, Agile team views allow project managers to create and organize Agile teams, view and manage team backlogs, plan current and future sprints, and review past sprints. Team backlogs are used to collect all requests and planned tasks into one place, providing complete visibility into workloads and allowing product managers to manage and shift web development priorities as needed.

 

Moreover, sprint planning in Workfront enables CHG product managers to easily set up and mange each sprint, including populating sprints with tasks, selecting team capacity and focus, setting sprint timeframes, and color-coding tasks. Burndown charts display and measure a team’s sprint progress in real time, and provide projected completion dates based on pace. Interactive storyboards show work moving from “in planning” to “in progress” to “awaiting approval” to “complete” while displaying the number of tasks and hours completed as tasks progress.

 

In addition to web development, both the CHG corporate communications and public relations (PR) teams use Workfront to manage editorial calendars and publishing requirements for social media, blogs, email campaigns, and more. All consumer email A/B testing is also tracked on custom boards in Workfront.

 

The same work management solution is ideal for development projects in Agile and the creative work managed in the more traditional Waterfall methodology. With effective support for both models, CHG can use a combined board in Workfront for large projects such as brand refreshes.

Real-time dashboards and reports

Project managers and marketers now easily view and track existing work, what is planned, and what has recently been completed in Workfront. Faster access to important project details and deadlines helps the fast-moving healthcare staffing company stay focused. Where a report used to consist of a list of jobs in progress, now CHG has more detail, including rank pending and job preservation.

 

According to Pett, “Managers and requestors have the freedom to go into Workfront, see a project request, make an update, ask a question, and update or view task status. Before, they’d have to hunt somebody down to find out what was happening.”


“As the CHG project management role has evolved, having an operational system of record has enabled us to successfully transition from taking orders to becoming a strategic planning partner. For life-long project managers like me, Workfront is a huge and exciting change.”

 
Amy Pett

Director, Marketing Project Management, CHG Healthcare


Benefits

A team of six CHG project managers and coordinators currently manages approximately 200 projects a year in Workfront, yet as brands increase, the expectation is that work will, too. Career advancement has been an unexpected benefit of Workfront deployment for CHG project managers. One has been recognized as an inspirational leader and department MVP. Three have received promotions, each time with Workfront being cited as value that they’ve helped bring to the marketing department that has further empowered and connected CHG employees — a testament to the company’s Putting People First motto. Marketing- wide CHG has achieved the following benefits since implementing Workfront:

 

  • Increased visibility and transparency
    Previously, CHG’s marketing staff knew little about what work might come in the next three weeks. Now, it has a three-month forecast where project managers can see and prepare for all the work the brand teams are considering. “Visibility and transparency across different departments has really made a difference. We now have clarity as we build across all channels,” Pett says.
  • Introduced capacity planning
    Every Friday morning, project managers attend a capacity meeting to review prior week assignments and anticipate the next. The team checks Workfront reports and discusses issues or roadblocks to completing tasks. With insight into both current and future work as well as trends, project managers make smarter and more balanced work assignments. Additionally, capacity data is now being factored into hiring decisions, helping to justify growth in the team and new opportunities.
  • Improved work definition and quality
    By forecasting hours (rather than number of jobs) in Workfront, project managers have a better idea of what goes into each project and how to plan a work schedule for it. Creative and web development staff has visibility into what can be completed quickly and what will require more focus, assured now that everyone will have the right amount of time to complete the more content-driven tasks. As the teams have evolved, so has the work pace. Where before, employees had to react to work requests, now project managers plan and forecast projects, so team members know what tasks are coming and that resources are in place to support it. “It’s more focused and the work is better quality which drives better leads,” says Pett.
  • Increased collaboration and efficiency
    Workfront has connected CHG workflows, enabling everyone to understand creative and web team priorities. In turn, the department is more focused and efficient. More effective work is being done faster, and collaboration between teams has improved because of the visibility Workfront delivers. When the web team transitioned to Workfront, CHG was able to hone its Agile and Scrum ceremonies, so they now work like a machine.
  • Deeper employee engagement
    Among the biggest wins with Workfront, according to Pett, is that employees are more engaged and happier because they have access to real-time, accurate data. They also have the confidence that project managers will shift tasks to better balance work for them.

 

“As the CHG project management role has evolved, having an operational system of record has enabled us to successfully transition from taking orders to becoming a strategic planning partner. For life-long project managers like me, Workfront is a huge and exciting change,” concludes Pett.

 

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