Personnel Today Awards 2007 Chiumento Award for Talent Management

This award recognises organisations with a proactive approach to talent management and succession planning. The judge looked for imaginative organisational talent reviews by the HR team, working in conjunction with others. Finalists highlighted how talent management is aligned with their HR strategy and organisational goals, and provided evidence of a systematic approach to identifying and developing talent.

Award judge

Simon Jones is acting chief executive at Investors in People UK (IIP UK), where he was formerly director of finance and strategic planning and company secretary. His aim is to work with IIP UK’s chairman, its board, stakeholders and staff to ensure that it and its delivery partners are fit for purpose, and help UK organisations boost their productivity through better people management, leadership, engagement and investment in skills.

Award sponsor

Chiumento is an HR consultancy that helps organisations achieve sustainable benefit from their people strategies. In helping its clients identify, develop and retain talented people to deliver real business benefits, it focuses on three key areas: employee engagement, coaching and assessment.

Shortlisted teams

IBM UK
The team:
IBM Global Business Services – Application Services
Number in team: 11 Number of employees the team is responsible for: 2,500

About the organisation

IBM is one of the leaders in the invention, development and manufacture of information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics. As well as hardware and software, the company also offers consultancy services and financing.

The challenge

The company’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) wanted to highlight its brightest people, ready to be taken out of the firm’s ‘top pocket’ when help was needed with high-profile projects.

What the organisation did



  • The Top Pocket Talent (TPT) scheme was created. Every year, 12 future leaders are selected by a review panel to fast-track their careers.
  • Each TPT candidate is paired up with a member of the ELT with whom they work closely throughout the year. This ensures executives are aware of and continually assess future leaders.
  • TPT professionals also gain an insight into how the business is run, and benefit from the experience of senior members of staff through discussions, work-shadowing and attending meetings.

Benefits and achievements



  • The scheme has produced an excellent pipeline of future leaders since 2003, accelerating careers and boosting loyalty and commitment to the organisation.
  • TPT members are encouraged to challenge the way the company operates and suggest new ideas. So far, this has seen the introduction of ELT networking lunches and workshops, a TPT charter, and buddying schemes.

The judge says:

“Top Pocket Talent seeks to identify leaders as early as possible. This ensures IBM retains its key employees by ensuring they are given the appropriate amount of fresh challenges and recognition. Senior management buy-in illustrated through directors being assigned a protégé sends a strong positive message to participants, while provoking would-be candidates to redouble their efforts.”

Amey
The team:
HR
Number in team: 10 Number of employees the team is responsible for: 8,500

About the organisation:

Amey is a support services provider, managing infrastructure and business services including motorways, parts of the Tube, schools and council services.

The challenge

Until 2006, Amey had no talent or succession planning process and little career planning or development. There was poor visibility of the talent within the organisation, and a high proportion of roles were being filled by external applicants.

What the organisation did

The Talent Tracker initiative was launched to:



  • Support strategic resource planning, including succession planning.
  • Improve internal recruitment rates.
  • Provide focused career development for staff.

All workers can apply for the scheme. Shortlisted candidates attend an assessment centre where their potential is reviewed. Each receives expert career feedback and is assessed as being either Fast Track, On Track, Emerging Talent or Matched.

Benefits and achievements



  • In 2006, there were more than 500 applications to the scheme, and 290 people attended assessment centres.
  • Forty were identified as Fast Track, and receive dedicated support from the talent manager, who manages their career for 24 months.
  • Twenty-three moved into positions of greater responsibility within 10 months, filling posts that would previously have been more likely to go to external applicants. This has boosted morale and reduced the reliance on and cost of agency-led recruitment – saving about £840,000 to date.

The judge says:

“I was particularly impressed with the visible support of top-level management, which in turn has yielded buy-in across the whole business. This scheme is designed to ensure that not only fast streamers but all staff are stretched and developed, and it avoids the one-size-fits-all approach to employee development.”

Hertfordshire County Council

The team: HR
Number in team: 5 Number of employees the team is responsible for: 10,500

About the organisation

Hertfordshire County Council provides services to the county including: caring for the elderly and vulnerable people, children and families providing schools, libraries and the Fire and Rescue Service and road maintenance.

The challenge

The council was keen to: maintain and improve its leadership capacity boost its performance in recruiting and retaining leadership talent and identifying and developing existing talent improve its age profile (61% of its workforce is over 40) and minimise the cost of staff turnover.

What the organisation did



  • Created a Leadership Academy in consultation with stakeholders. It focuses on the assessment of potential, rather than performance in the current role.
  • The academy includes a core programme of events 360-degree assessment and feedback mentorship access to and support on an MSc in public sector management and secondment on to high-profile projects.

Benefits and achievements



  • Candidates chosen to attend the academy clearly benefit. Unsuccessful candidates are also given feedback and a personal development plan, as well as the opportunity to reapply for the academy in future years.
  • The HR team has a clear strategy linked to key organisational need, a tailored toolkit of leadership development materials, and personal experience in implementing a high-profile initiative.
  • The organisation’s future leadership capacity has increased. The clear commitment to the development of staff has had an overall positive effect on the morale of the workforce.

The judge says:

“This approach seeks to develop existing leaders while simultaneously encouraging others to develop leadership skills they may not have been aware they had. The objectives of the programme are clear and easy to understand, which assists employee engagement.”

National Express

The team: Leadership Development
Number in team: 4 Number of employees the team is responsible for: 43,000

About the organisation

National Express is the largest scheduled coach service provider in Europe. In the UK, its coaches travel to 1,000 destinations and carry more than 16 million customers a year. Eurolines coaches additionally travel to more than 500 destinations.

The challenge

National Express operates a devolved management structure. It wanted to ensure the commitment of all 14 operating companies to the group’s talent management agenda, and role model collaborative ways of working to produce benefits for the wider business.

What the organisation did



  • In less than two years, the team rolled out DNA (Driving NX Achievement) – a robust, measurable and e-enabled talent management strategy which integrates initiatives in recruitment, talent identification, succession planning, performance management, management development and reward.
  • The team designed it in collaboration with the business to ensure it supported the company’s goals.
  • DNA completed the first group-wide talent and succession review covering the top 250 leaders in year one, and 800 leaders in the current year.

Benefits and achievements



  • Critical succession gaps were identified and addressed through recruitment and development.
  • Retention of key leaders was improved by identifying them for accelerated development.
  • It now attracts 48% more graduate applications.
  • Improved collaboration across the business.

The judge says:

“DNA is very clear about bottom-line business benefits. Key people choosing to stay, robust succession planning where talent is poached and a substantial rise in graduate applications all indicate National Express is serious about maximising staff development, and sees this as essential to providing the best possible service to customers.”

O2

The team: Sales Academy
Number in team: 5 Number of employees the team is responsible for: 600

About the organisation

O2 is a provider of mobile services to consumers and businesses in the UK. It is part of the wider O2 Group, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telefónica.

The challenge

The company wanted to create a proactive approach to talent management and succession planning. It believes that career opportunities and development, rather than reward, are the key to retention.

What the organisation did



  • The O2 Sales Academy was fully integrated into HR processes to drive business strategy, and based on the ‘The O2 Way’ competency model.The engagement of all stakeholders, from the board down, was vital to its success.
  • HR secured £3m investment from the board by recognising the clear link between the investment in a robust sales programme and the effect on customer experience, and the impact on the bottom line.
  • Part of the academy’s strategy is to upskill managers, so I-coach, a web-based resource, was deployed to support the ongoing coaching programme. The academy also draws on expert knowledge from other areas of the business.

Benefits and achievements



  • The largest corporate deal of the past five years was won by one of the highest-performing academy members.
  • More than £60m of revenue can be directly tracked by O2 to the adoption and use of The O2 Way.
  • Over the past 18 months, customer satisfaction relating to O2 sales and account management has risen substantially.
  • O2 sales people consistently rank the Sales Academy as one of the top differentiators they have to maximise their success in the marketplace.

The judge says:

“The Sales Academy recognises a fundamental truth, namely that a proactive approach to talent management and succession planning is central to business success.”

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