Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for Excellence in Learning and Development

THE AWARD

This award looks for training interventions that have significantly benefited the business or organisation, particularly if the trainers involved have developed new approaches. The judge will want to see evidence of improved performance and gains in employee skills and capabilities. Entrants should show how training has boosted motivation and helped focus staff on key organisational objectives. The judges looked for well-designed and delivered training programmes.

THE JUDGES

Simon Jones
Acting chief executive
Investors in People

 

 

 

Oliver Mack
Curriculum director
Common Purpose

 

 

 

THE SPONSOR

Learn HR’s training courses are essential, topical and wholly relevant to the needs of HR professionals and line managers. They are run locally with its new course, Redundancies and the Recession, being held in 28 venues nationwide. Most topics can be run in-house and the company’s e-learning provides flexible options for study at work or home, with some courses leading to qualifications.

 

THE SHORTLIST

 

Legal & General

The team: HR (Protection & Annuities)
Number in team: 50
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 5,500

About the organisation

The Legal & General Group is one of the UK’s leading services companies. It has more 6.5 million customers.

The challenge

To train at least one member of the Life and Disability Underwriters and Claims Assessors teams, most members of which do not have a medical background, to become a specialist in a specific medical area. The objective was to cut the number of cases referred to chief medical officers.

What the organisation did

  • Collaborated with Cardiff University and produced eight accredited modules in different body systems
  • The modules, which were four- to six-days long, were each attended by between eight and 12 L&G staff
  • Oversaw development and delivery of the programmes.

Benefits and achievements

  • All course attendees gained Cardiff University accreditation and credits
  • Inspired staff to take ownership of their own development
  • Every vacancy for the medical knowledge specialist has been filled
  • The second round of modules was oversubscribed with internal applicants.

Judge’s comments

Oliver Mack says: “A unique training problem. It has all the aspects of a great learning and development intervention, from reflection, written work, case studies to practical implementation. It produced good business results.”

 

Magnox North

The team: Magnox North Learning and Development, Wylfa site
Number in team: 14
Number of staff responsible for: 2,166

About the organisation

Magnox North specialises in nuclear power generation and decommissioning.

The challenge

To help technical specialists promoted to management roles become commercially focused managers and to make them more marketable outside the organisation.

What the organisation did

  • Conducted a learning needs analysis
  • Identified gaps and aligned them with existing leadership competencies
  • Set up two routes of progression that led to a graduate diploma in leadership or a post-graduate certificate in leadership.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 100 managers at Wylfa and 300 managers company-wide have or will have gained academic qualifications that can lead to a degree, masters or professional qualification
  • Individuals who have undertaken the training want to be continuous learners, and the programme has created a buzz around the organisation.

Judge’s comments

Oliver Mack says: “This was a tough challenge. It showed a good use of mixed groups for enhanced learning, community based work and the options for people to choose different paths while gaining accreditation.”

 

McDonald’s Restaurants

The team: The People Team
Number in team: 60
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 70,000

About the organisation

McDonald’s is one of the UK’s largest fast-food restaurant chains.

The challenge

The company set a strategy to upgrade the customer and employee experience, as part of which customer service programmes are run. The focus was to take managers from good to great.

What the organisation did

  • Put on a one-day service leadership programme for all managers
  • Restaurant-based training programme that included practical activities
  • A learning package comprising a DVD and book was produced and used.

Benefits and achievements

  • Customer satisfaction scores rose
  • Customer letters praising staff increased by 10%
  • Staff satisfaction surveys saw a rise in staff opinion of leadership values and behaviours.

Judge’s comments

Oliver Mack says: “Innovative intervention with really interesting use of DVD and book to enhance on-the-job training and get practical experiential learning. Good results.”

 

Tesco Customer Service Centre

The team: HR and training team
Number in team: 28
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 1,300

About the organisation

Tesco is the UK’s largest retailer in terms of both global sales and domestic market share, with profits exceeding £3bn.

The challenge

To ensure long-serving staff, who have plenty of knowledge but can be averse to change, and new staff, who have a big learning curve to tackle, can both deliver world-class customer service.

What the organisation did

  • After staff and customer research, it redefined the team leader role with a stronger focus on coaching
  • Redesigned an existing course from a two-day to a two-week programme encompassing many aspects of customer service, including time spent in stores.

Benefits and achievements

  • Customer satisfaction survey results showed significant improvements in areas such as staff knowledge
  • 406 customer service managers attended the step-change training programme at time of entry
  • Improvement in staff satisfaction ratings relating to, among others, team morale and manager feedback.

Judge’s comments

Simon Jones says: “A strong link between workforce development and customer satisfaction, which in turn delivered bottom-line results.”

 

The Fire Service College

The team: Hazardous materials department, The Fire Service College
Number in team: 14
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 68,000

About the organisation

It provides training in the handling of hazardous materials for the fire and rescue sector.

The challenge

To provide accredited training for sufficient officers to provide round-the-clock cover nationally when incidents that include the handling of hazardous materials arise. Also to replace an existing course that received poor feedback.

What the organisation did

  • Created a blended learning programme
  • Provided 60 hours’ pre-course online learning
  • Devised a 3.5 week residential course that included live, practical and classroom-based activities.

Benefits and achievements

  • All delegates said the course improved their ability to provide a safe response to incidents
  • 87% said it had improved their feeling of job satisfaction
  • Delegates’ line managers said attendees’ competence had improved significantly.

Judge’ comments

Simon Jones says: “A strong awareness of the need to fit employee learning around an environment where staff cannot always comply with a traditional approach.”

 

Vodafone UK

The team: Leadership development
Number in team: 3
Number of staff responsible for: 1,500

About the organisation

Vodafone UK has 18.5 million customers and is part of the world’s largest online community offering a range of voice and data communications.

The challenge

To provide a leadership development programme that was web-centric and would increase staff engagement and improve business performance.

What the organisation did

  • Interviewed its best leaders to detail and build a picture of what good management looks like
  • Set up a web-based leadership academy
  • Created an online tool to help people managers get the most out of their first 100 days.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employee engagement index rose by 4% to 73%
  • People manager index went up by 3% to 73%
  • Coaching capability increased by 4%.

Judge’s comments

Oliver Mack says: “Well-branded, simple concepts that got to the heart of the challenge of management and leadership, delivering more within the business and making great use of resources.”

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