Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for Excellence in HR Through Technology

THE AWARD

This award recognises the effective use of technology by HR teams to bring about business benefits. The winning team provided evidence of the impact technology has had on helping to achieve strategic objectives. The judges were not looking simply for the most ‘whizzy’ new software installation, but rather how HR has taken advantage of the opportunities IT brings.

THE JUDGES

Nick Holley
Executive director
HR Centre of Excellence, Henley Business School

 

 

 

Emma Parry
Senior research fellow
Cranfield School of Management

 

 

 

Martin Reddington
Founder
Martin Reddington Associates

 

 

 

 

KCOM Group

The team: Group HR
Number in team: 33
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 2,400

About the organisation

KCOM Group is a leading provider of communications solutions to organisations throughout the UK and to consumers in East Yorkshire.

The challenge

HR spent too much time on routine administration and not enough on critical people issues. Staff needed better access to real-time, accurate information and to take control and develop their own careers.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with teams to understand how new system could work for them
  • Implemented a wide range of self-service capability encouraging managers and staff to manage basic administration
  • Launched flexible benefits, online payslips, online recruitment and e-learning. HR now oversees the entire performance management process
  • Outsourced the maintenance and development of the core HR systems.

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduced overheads and improved efficiency through automation
  • Generated richer management information, which could be sliced up by location, grade or length of service
  • Enabled managers and staff to access a broader range of HR information
  • Cut HR technology operating costs, enabling system enhancements without justifying capital expenditure.

Judge’s comments

Nick Holley says: “KCOM have addressed people’s ‘What’s in it for me?” to ensure user take-up and had clear measures related to business outcomes.”

 

Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming

The team: Central HR
Number in team: 9
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 14,250

About the organisation

Ladbrokes is a major player in the betting and gaming market, taking up to 10 million bets each week and £14bn in stakes each year.

The challenge

To implement a new performance-focused reward system that would motivate staff according to individual and team performance, taking into account promotions and role changes and factor in long-term sickness and career breaks.

What the organisation did

  • Partnered with a software company to develop technological solution with substantial back-end processing
  • Successfully drew together data from a range of different sources including other HR systems, spreadsheets, financial data, personal effective scores and mystery shopping scores
  • Rolled out the programme on time and on budget, providing payroll with suitable information
  • Accommodated the need for last-minute discretionary bonuses.

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduced the resource required to calculate bonuses by 78% and improved accuracy
  • Improved performance across all job roles and reduced absence rates
  • The technology successfully delivered on a promise of personal reward for personal achievement.

Judge’s comments

Martin Reddington says: “A very focused use of new technology aimed at transforming a large-scale challenge concerned with personal bonus payments.”

 

Lincolnshire Police

The team: Human Resources
Number in team: 101
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 2,483

About the organisation

In terms of geographic area, Lincolnshire Police Service is one of the largest in the UK, covering 2,284 square miles. It serves a population of around 650,000 people.

The challenge

To reduce bureaucracy, increase efficiency and productivity and to improve the use of resource. To continue improvements in HR service delivery.

What the organisation did

  • Upgraded the HR information system to the next generation, which included automated business workflows, web-based performance dashboards and self-service for managers
  • Improved access to performance and management information to improve efficiency.

Benefits and achievements

  • Saved an estimated £76,000 in first year
  • Reduced calls and e-mails to HR service centre by 26% and 30% respectively
  • Cut training course absence from 15% to 6%
  • Increased ownership of people information for managers
  • Improved decision making through access to manager information 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Hosted visits from other police forces and the National Policing Improvement Agency to demonstrate the effective use of technology in delivering HR services.

Judge’s comments

Martin Reddington says: “A very significant business challenge affecting all facets of HR delivery. The comprehensive upgrade to the HR technology platform gave impressive, measurable results.”

 

Mitchells & Butlers

The team: Human Resources
Number in team: 87
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 41,000

About the organisation

Mitchells & Butlers is a UK operator of around 2,000 managed pubs and restaurants with more than 20 brands, including All Bar One, Harvester and Browns.

The challenge

A review of the existing recruitment, attraction and retention practices confirmed the business needed to improve its methods. To create a unified approach to recruitment, securing buy-in from the company’s diverse brands, and accommodating the different behaviours and skills needed by each brand.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with an online recruitment specialist to develop a new approach to recruitment that would:
  • Create a joined-up, consistent and unified approach to meet the needs of all brands
  • Improve time to hire and ensure vacancies were filled by ‘best fit’ candidates
  • Generate cost savings to enable the business to benefit from economies of scale.

Benefits and achievements

  • 22,000 candidates started online applications in 12 months
  • 58% of these did not complete their application following feedback on suitability, significantly improving the quality of candidates at interview
  • Reduced vacancies through better hires
  • Time to hire has reduced by 35%.

Judge’s comments

Emma Parry says: “Mitchells & Butlers implemented a system that provided significant benefits in terms of efficiency and quality.”

 

RSK Group

The team: Human Resources Department
Number in team: 7
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 700

About the organisation

RSK Group is the UK’s largest privately owned environmental consultancy, employing three times as many staff as it did three years ago.

The challenge

HR identified that employee turnover of staff with under three years’ service was lower than the industry average, and while a number of factors contributed to this, it decided to overhaul the induction process, which was deemed not fit for purpose given the size of the business.

What the organisation did

  • Decided an online induction solution would be best
  • Spoke to recent joiners to identify key content for induction
  • Worked with communication department to create interactive programme incorporating audio, video and a feedback survey
  • Also rolled out to existing staff to help them understand how they fit into the expanding organisation.

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduced management time spent on inductions
  • Improved cross-selling between various acquired divisions of RSK Group
  • Voluntary staff turnover fell by 50%
  • Improved communication throughout the organisation
  • Met business objective to “maintain labour turnover at no higher than 10% for 2008-09″.

Judge’s comments

Nick Holley says: “RSK Group demonstrated an understanding of the business drivers and, in their measurement, a linkage back to business outcome.”

 

Vodafone UK

The team: Learning and Capability Development
Number in team: 61
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 9,492

About the organisation

Vodafone is one of the largest mobile network providers in the UK and the largest worldwide with interests in 27 countries, 187 million customers and 33 partner networks.

The challenge

Vodafone recruited approximately 3,000 people a year, with an average age of 26. Its induction programme had to change to adapt to the information-hungry needs of this ‘now’ generation, embracing web-based learning and enable staff to understand products and services as soon as possible.

What the organisation did

  • Launched an ‘on-boarding’ website for new joiners to log into before they start work at Vodafone
  • Site includes help for joiners about their first day, about Vodafone customers. They can even meet other new starters
  • Induction changed to include video and e-learning.

Benefits and achievements

  • Engaged new joiners “before they walk through the door”
  • New recruits at Warrington contact centre exceeded customer satisfaction targets by 10%
  • Targets for first-time resolution of customer issues exceeded by 14%
  • New approach sets the scene and is start of the web-centric approach the organisation wants from its employees.

Judge’s comments

Emma Parry says: “Interesting consideration to the needs of Generation Y and an imaginative use of technology and multimedia provided significant benefits.”

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