Intellect Award for Innovation in Career Development

Category judge: Bob Arnold


Bob Arnold, client solutions director at Chiumento Career Management Specialists, has more than 17 years experience as a consultant helping organisations to bring about sustainable business improvement through staff. He has worked with multinational organisations in Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, and Australasia. Projects have included the development and deployment of organisational and HR functional strategies; business improvement driven by culture change; leadership development and the development of high-potential people.


Award sponsor: Intellect


Intellect has been changing the way people think about HR and payroll solutions for more than a decade, using its  portfolio of innovative solutions – comprising the modular Workforce system, the strategic HR platform IndigaHR and the advanced payroll management solution, Ochre – to bring real bottom-line benefits to organisations.


Shortlisted teams


Audit Commission


The team: Training and Development


No. in team: 5


No. in HR function: 62


No. of employees HR is responsible for: 2,400


About the organisation


The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively. It is active in local government, health, housing, criminal justice and fire and rescue services. It aims to provide impartial information on the quality of public services and act as a force for improvement.


The challenge


To support the recruitment, retention and career progression of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff.


What the organisation did


– Developed the ‘Opportunities Mentoring Programme’ for BME staff, which was later extended to the whole organisation.


– Set up a steering group to consult widely and shape the structure, style and content of the programme.


– Developed a self-assessment pack for mentees and mentors to help focus on and articulate what they wanted/could offer.


– Prepared a communications plan including writing internal articles and creating web pages on the Internet.


Benefits and achievements


– Helped individuals break through barriers with improved teamwork, understanding, changing perceptions and practices.


– Positive career progression, enhanced working relationships and improved personal planning and development.


– The changing perception externally of the Commission is making it easier to attract staff from BME communities.


Bob Arnold says: “The project involved a wide cross-section of people from inside and outside the Audit Commission, providing valuable inputs to ensure the programme was capable of delivering on the stated objectives and ensuring it was continuously improved.”


Quintiles


The team: Career development and mapping


No. in team: 8


No. in HR function: 33


No. of employees HR is responsible for: 3,450


About the organisation


Quintiles is an outsourced service provider to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and biotech industry. It employs about 16,000 people globally working in 49 countries.


The challenge


To ascertain the causes of staff turnover and improve retention and career development opportunities.


What the organisation did


– Held workshops with a cross section of employees – this identified issues including the perceived lack of career development for employees.


– Initiated a project that enabled employees to understand the variety of career opportunities across the company’s divisions.


– Developed material that encompassed the needs of both office and remote field-based workers to help managers have career development discussions.


– Developed material to help employees consider their aspirations and transferable skills when considering career tracks.


– Produced Career Maps to link the organisation and highlight logical and agreed paths.


Benefits and achievements


– Employees have a clear indication of career paths open to them.


– Managers feel more confident in initiating discussions on career options.


– Quintiles was able to address a significant issue identified through its employee survey, thereby raising satisfaction.


– Employee turnover has begun to fall.


Bob Arnold says: “Quintiles has developed a comprehensive career management process and set of tools that link together well and are integrated with other HR processes, such as succession management, compensation and performance management. The process was driven by a joint HR/business team – an approach that has since been adopted elsewhere in the organisation.”


Crown Prosecution Service


The team: Learning & Development


No. in team:  5


No. in HR function: 50


No. of employees HR is responsible for: 7,500


About the organisation


The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the Government department responsible for prosecuting most criminal offences. It deals with more than 1.5 million court cases a year and is the UK’s largest legal services employer.


The challenge


To develop a scheme to enable any able and motivated member of staff to access legal education and training.


What the organisation did


– Launched a law scholarship scheme to all able and motivated staff.


– Devised a rigorous, but user-friendly, application and selection procedure.


– Produced recruitment materials to ensure awareness of the scheme.


Benefits and achievements


– Enormous return to the organisation in terms of better qualified and motivated staff.


– Scheme is aiding recruitment and retention and there has been an increase in enquiries about joining the CPS.


– Increased diversity – staff represent a diverse range of backgrounds.


– Enhanced reputation as a organisation in which staff can progress and improve.


Bob Arnold says: “The scheme enabled the organisation to improve its own lawyers and has reduced the need to hire in higher salaried lawyers from private practice. This innovative approach has helped ensure that legal staff are more representative of the diverse range of backgrounds and experiences of the community at large.”


Signet Trading


The team: Learning and development


No. in team: 8


No. in HR function: 38


No. of employees HR is responsible for: 6,604


About the organisation


Signet Group is the world’s largest speciality retail jeweller and operates 599 stores in the UK, trading as H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis.


The challenge


To reduce labour turnover, increase organisational capability and decrease cost of development.


What the organisation did


– Designed a programme to enable the organisation to produce its own managers, providing a clear development path from trainee and sales assistant through specialist roles into the management population.


– Implemented changes to the remuneration strategy to link the new ‘Signet Jewellery Academy’ and pay.


Benefits and achievements


– Before 2003, the company had an internal promotion rate of 35 per cent. This has risen to 76 per cent.


– Positive staff feedback about career development opportunities in the 2004 staff opinion survey.


– 14 per cent reduction in labour turnover.


Bob Arnold says: “Support and leadership from the top of the organisation was visible and the process tapped into the views of external customers as well as the HR and line communities. Teamworking involved external suppliers and other skills-based organisations while ensuring that accountability was firmly in the line. Overall results have been impressive especially regarding reductions in labour turnover, increases in internally filled promotions and improved employee opinion ratings.”

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