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General Dynamics Mission Systems Analytics 50 Submission

Philippe Wiener, Director, Human Resources Systems and Analytics Greensboro, NC Industry: Defense

Business Challenge

General Dynamics Mission Systems merged two large and equally sized units into one, starting Jan. 1, 2015. This new company was geographically dispersed (12,500 employees in 100 locations and 19 countries), with varying cultures, benefits and HR programs. Challenges were to build a common set of HR processes and analytics, win over a skeptical techie crowd, drive employee engagement and retention, and make sure a newly formed leadership team had data and analytics to conduct evidence-based decision making.

Analytics Solution

The company developed and deployed a series of approaches common to the two units, including ways to count, track and analyze employees hired, promoted and terminated. They merged diverse PeopleSoft databases and developed a common hierarchy nomenclature that allowed the companies to be treated as one for data and analytics purposes. Additionally, General Dynamics developed a family of “Workforce Demographics” reports to depict data by various slices over time and executed a common Employee Engagement Survey to gauge the state of the employee value proposition and areas to improve. The company also harmonized the new hire and exit surveys to a set of common questions, with outputs of simple graphics and heat maps.


General Dynamics has leveraged analytics to understand its workforce and guide program and process design. IPTs and functional units developed and deployed common process and improvements based on “key drivers of engagement” from analytics. Examples include a competency self-assessment module, benefits adjustments based on specific survey questions, a long-term incentive program, enhanced employee recognition programs and expanded community investment. Since the start of 2016, voluntary attrition is down 18%. Headcount is up 4% in the past 12 months, a reversal of annual declines in recent years. Employee productivity is up 32% since the two companies were merged. Positive response to “your overall work experience with the organization” has gone up 5% from 4Q2015 to 1Q2016.

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