Personnel Today Awards 2006: shortlist

Award profile 

Creating a distinct employer brand is a top priority for many organisations. Employees are now more creative, selective and empowered, and choose to build relationships with organisations that treat them as intelligent partners. This award recognises employers that work hard at creating an identity for themselves as accessible, flexible organisations. The judge looked for a clear explanation of how the employer brand was created and is being maintained, with evidence of the benefits to the organisation.

Category sponsor: Capgemini

Capgemini’s people transformation and change practice helps clients solve complex business problems. It works in a collaborative way, producing profound results in developing and implementing change management and people strategies, transforming the HR function and more specialised areas, such as shared services and employer branding.

Category judge: Paul Gostick

Paul Gostick is chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is responsible for driving the organisation’s strategic direction. He has significant management experience of major US and European multinational technology companies, having worked in the sector for 29 years. He was among the first marketers in the world to achieve individual chartered status in 1998.

McDonald’s Restaurants

The team – Employer Reputation Team
Number in team: 4 Number in HR function: 36 Number of employees HR is responsible for: 68,000

About the organisation

McDonald’s is a leading global food retailer with more than 30,000 restaurants serving nearly 50 million people a day in more than 119 countries. It opened its first restaurant in the UK in 1974, and now caters for around 2.5 million British customers each day.

The challenge

The word ‘McJob’ gained status in the Oxford English Dictionary as “an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects”. McDonald’s needed to turn this negative perception around and highlight the positive aspects of working for the fast food chain.

What the organisation did

  • Launched a major rebranding campaign through in-store and national press advertising.

  • Held internal and external focus groups to gauge perceptions of working for McDonald’s.

  • Commissioned research in conjunction with a leading academic from University College London into the level of employee satisfaction at the chain.

Benefits and achievements

  • Gained wide coverage from newspapers, magazines and television programmes, presenting the new brand to as wide an udience as possible.

  • In-store tests proved that 31% of customers would consider applying to work for McDonald’s after seeing the campaign, compared with 22% before.

The judge says:

“This was a well-presented bid, demonstrating strong vision and leadership and clear links between the employees and the business. The small team delivered tangible benefits to the business by extending the organisation’s brand imagery into positive employee messages.”

Barclays Bank

The team – Recruitment Services
Number in team: 70 Number in HR function: about 400 Number of employees HR is responsible for: about 110,000

About the organisation

Over 300 years, Barclays has become one of the largest global financial organisations. It has more than 118,000 permanent staff in more than 60 countries.

The challenge

Financial services has a reputation for being faceless and bureaucratic, and not a great place to work. Barclays wanted to challenge this perception by showing it had a history of being inventive.

What the organisation did

  • Created a new visual identity for employer branding, focusing on workers’ inventive spirit.

  • Invested in an advertising campaign in and around Canary Wharf tube station using real staff.

  • Launched a new recruitment strapline ‘Thinking careers’, to coincide with its ‘Now there’s a thought’ national advertising campaign.

  • Introduced internal promotions in Barclays offices, including coffee cups and postcards, plus workshops to reinforce branding messages.

Benefits and achievements

  • Almost 100% of staff supported the new campaign, and staff in other offices requested posters to use as motivation tools.

  • A focus group of customers coming in and out of a branch found that more than one-third preferred the more informal marketing, while only 12% liked the more formal approach.

  • Reached the top 20 Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work For list in 2006 – its previous entry had charted at 197.

The judge says:

“This is a clear attempt to move the company away from the traditional image of a financial services employer through the HR function. The campaign was innovative as it introduced the notion of a ‘Barclay’s person’ through the strong use of creative imagery to position Barclays as a progressive, dynamic company to work for. This was a clever extension of the Barclays brand.”

Crown Prosecution Service

The team – National Recruitment Business Centre
Number in team: 25 Number in HR function: 123 Number of employees HR is responsible for: 8,700

About the organisation

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the government body responsible for prosecuting most criminal offences in England and Wales. It employs approximately 8,700 staff, around one-third of whom are lawyers.

The challenge

Despite being the largest ‘firm’ of lawyers in the UK, the CPS struggled to attract the right calibre of candidate compared with City firms. It wanted to become the first choice for applicants and overcome its poor employment reputation.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with brand consultants to develop a new employment brand, including using ‘evidence bags’ to show the grittier side of the profession.

  • Created new opportunities for legal trainees.

  • Held focus groups to draw on ideas and experiences of recent recruits.

  • Created greater visibility of the CPS as a recruitment brand through a high-impact exhibition stand.

  • Invested in an online recruitment system to maximise candidate attraction, manage recruitment campaigns and streamline the recruitment process.

Benefits and achievements

  • It now has a future talent pool of candidates.

  • The initiative attracted positive feedback from senior colleagues, major stakeholders, new candidates and recruits.

  • The graduate recruitment drive attracted more than 3,000 applications.

The judge says:

“The CPS recognised that it operated in a competitive environment and needed to take action to attract the best staff. The heart of its campaign was to transform its image, creating an employer brand with strong values and clear positioning.”

Fujitsu Services

The team – HR
Number in team: N/A Number in HR function: 180 Number of employees HR is responsible for: 20,000

About the organisation

Fujitsu Services is one of the leading IT services companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has 20,000 staff, an annual turnover of almost £2bn, and operates in more than 20 countries.

The challenge

Fujitsu recruits an average of 45 people per week, many of whom come as part of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE) process due to outsourcing arrangements. In addition, it took a new direction after an acquisition in 2002, and wanted to ensure its brand values were recognised by everyone in the company and embedded in all new recruits.

What the organisation did

  • Conducted a staff survey to come up with its brand essence ‘realism’, which reflects its honest and straightforward approach to its customers.

  • Built a ‘reputation model’ to be delivered through a series of discussions, in induction programmes and internal communications.

  • Equipped 2,000 people managers across the business to deliver the message to their teams.

  • Formed a steering group to set direction, reinforce messages and remove barriers.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than three-quarters of employees have attended the Reputation Programme.

  • Secured highest ever new entry in this year’s Times Top 100 Graduate Recruiters league table.

  • The company has improved satisfaction scores with customers.

The judge says:

“This strong entry recognises the link between a company’s reputation and its brand. This forms the heart of a programme to engage every employee with the company’s brand values. The sheer scale of the reputation programme is impressive, and it is championed from the top of the organisation.”

London & Quadrant Housing Group

The team – Human Resources
Number in team: 9 Number in HR function: 15 Number of employees HR is responsible for: 850

About the organisation

The London & Quadrant Group is one of 2,000 housing associations that work in the UK. Its main purpose is to provide high-quality, affordable homes, and it manages more than 43,000.

The challenge

The housing sector struggles to attract new talent, and London & Quadrant wanted to increase the profile of the sector as an attractive career option. It wanted to create a culture that attracted, retained and continuously developed people’s potential.

What the organisation did

  • Championed its ‘Our People’ agenda by listening to and learning from staff, including the launch of a choice-based training scheme.

  • Undertook a branding exercise to increase awareness of the benefits available to staff.

  • Developed recognition schemes and additional staff benefits for great service.

  • Overhauled the induction process to include an online service and welcome packs for staff.

Benefits and achievements

  • Became an Age Positive employer champion through training schemes and initiatives aimed at graduates and over-55s.

  • In the latest staff survey, 87% said they would recommend London & Quadrant as an employer.

  • Included in Financial Times list of best workplaces in 2005 and 2006, and boosted its ranking in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list from 67 to 12.

The judge says:

“This bid centres on the integration of HR processes with brand imagery. ‘Our People’ follows the employee lifecycle and focuses on high-quality employee communications programmes. The brand is constantly being reviewed and developed with all of London & Quadrant’s stakeholders. The association has helped raise the profile of social housing through the ‘Our People’ brand.”



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