Case study: Ofcom
About the organisation
Ofcom was formed at the end of 2003 as a result of the Communications Act, which merged the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Indepen-dent Television Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications Agency into one super-regulator. Ofcom now has 850 employees, mostly based in London but with regional offices in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
The five original organisations all had different systems and working practices. Much of the HR data was paper- and spreadsheet-based. The HR team needed to transfer the data onto one HR system prior to the new organisation’s launch, bringing together five different sets of terms and conditions of employment.
Oxfordshire-based HR and payroll software provider Snowdrop Systems already supplied HR software to the Independent Television Commission and Oftel. Ofcom retained Snowdrop to manage all the HR data across the whole of the new organisation.
Snowdrop implemented its Ever-green (HR), Fountain (training), Spring (recruitment) and U-Access (self-service HR) modules – customised to accommodate the changes of the merger and branded in line with Ofcom’s new image. The new software needed to link in with as many other business systems as possible to help the HR team make the best use of its data.
HR operations manager John Donnelly sees the Snowdrop system as a key driver for changing the way HR supports the whole business.
“Our aim is to work smarter and minimise administration, devolving some of this responsibility to staff and line managers,” he says. “This frees up our time so we can support the organisation at a higher level.”
Snowdrop worked with Ofcom to bring together all the data from the different organisations into one system. The system is known internally as ‘e-colleagues’. Employees can now view and change basic data through Ofcom’s intranet, and managers can access key data on their teams, such as absence records. Paper-based administration is reduced thanks to online sick forms.
Snowdrop set up workflows – automatic e-mails to line managers generated by the system – to help them keep track of key performance indicators such as sickness absence and training and development data.
The system links directly with Ofcom’s recruitment website and data captured online is fed directly into Snowdrop’s recruitment module, which will speed up hiring processes. Snowdrop also links in with Ofcom’s flexible benefits software so that new starters can choose their preferred benefits as soon as they join.
The system is fully compatible with Ofcom’s existing payroll software, automatically updating changes to bank account details, salaries and bonuses.
The bottom line
The system continues to streamline Ofcom’s processes, paper-based administration has been reduced and business systems now feed into each other. In the future, Snowdrop will link to Ofcom’s new e-learning system, the Ofcom University. As soon as employees have completed a course online, their training records will be automatically updated, enabling managers to spot development needs and allowing individuals to manage their own career process.
Not yet up to speed on the forthcoming Information & Consultation Directive? Cut straight to the essential info via these links:
Find the Acas good practice guide here, which it prepared in collaboration with the DTI, CBI and TUC. It also lets you find your nearest Acas office.
Detailed CIPD factsheet of what the directive will mean and suggestions for practical consideration. Links direct to relevant areas in the members-only law section.
Keep up with latest DTI developments and download regulations, guidance and papers.
Lots of workplace partnership-in-action examples including case studies, best practices and policies from the Involvement & Participation Association (IPA). You can find the IPA parent site at www.ipa-involve.com
Gadget of the month: Blackberry 7100v
What is it?
One of the neatest hand-held mobile e-mail and voice devices around. It is being pitched at the business community and is the latest addition to the Blackberry from Vodafone range (BlackBerry is developed and manufactured by Research in Motion).
What will it let me do?
Reply to e-mails and view and forward e-mail attachments (in a variety of formats including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Acrobat) while on the move – and, of course, it’s a mobile phone. The beauty of Blackberry is that it uses push technology which allows e-mails sent to your office- or home-based e-mail inbox to be delivered to the handset without any need for manually connecting to the internet.
How much does it cost?
The device is free to customers on Anytime 400 or 1000 or 82.50 for Anytime 100 customers.
Where can i find out more?
www.vodafone.co.uk/blackberry where you can also view an interactive demo.
We have a competency management module as part of the organisation’s HRIT system. How can we get more benefit from it?
Many larger HR application suites contain competency management, succession planning and career planning modules. They are covered by the initial licence fee, yet many companies never get around to even turning them on. Part of the problem is that these kinds of applications are only as good as the data you put into them in the first place – and for competency management in particular, that can be a big headache.
Part of the problem is that competency management in itself provides minimal business value. The trick is to get both employees and managers to see that populating the database isn’t a goal in its own right – it is merely the starting point for improving training, performance management, workforce planning and compensation management. Like so much in human capital management, the real business value – and the best management information – comes when these different components work together.
By Keith Rodgers, co-founder of Webster Buchanan Research, specialising in IT and human capital management (www.websterb.com). It will shortly be publishing a report on the IT implications of accounting for people, in association with Personnel Today.
Users of the Mitrefinch TMS time and attendance and Time & Attendance.net systems can now take advantage of a new Job Costing module. It allows organisations to track employee and organisational productivity in real-time and provides detailed and accurate at-a-glance management information.
Saba Express is a new suite of hosted Internet applications that allows HR departments to begin with a small human capital development and management initiative and then grow the project over time. The system allows management to monitor the performance of employees against goals and objectives and ensure they have the right skills for the job.
Oracle is simplifying the configuration and implementation process for HR applications with its HRMS Configuration Workbench. The Workbench’s tools include Quick Start, which guides organisations through system set-ups using processes based on best practices learned from hundreds of Oracle HRMS customers.
Federation of European Employers
The Federation’s online presence is an essential bookmark for any employer operating across Europe. HR professionals can sign up to their own forum and the site’s other chief selling point is its comprehensive European employment law section. If you need a crash course in workplace issues affecting your European counterparts, try here first.