Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for Managing Change

This new award recognises organisations that have undertaken a successful change programme resulting in clear improvements to the business. The judges looked for examples of HR’s role in managing and embedding the change initiative, including communicating with others to help overcome resistance to change.

THE JUDGES

Linda Holbeche
Director
Holbeche Partnership

 

 

 

Marianne Huggett
Associate director
The Work Foundation

 

 

 

 


BMI Healthcare


The team: HR
Number in team: 7 (central team), 27 (HR operations)
Number of staff the team responsible for: 15,000

About the organisation

BMI Healthcare is the acute private hospital division of General Healthcare Group and is the largest independent provider of private health care in the UK.

The challenge

Following a change of ownership, BMI wished to introduce fundamental and rapid organisational change to aid company growth. But the firm’s financial targets required the upgrade to be achieved while reducing fixed costs. There was limited business development expertise and little resources.

What the organisation did



  • Appointed new HR director and core team of six
  • Restructured the organisation over six months, which included creating 10 regions responsible for business development with new sales, HR and finance roles.
  • Delivered communications programme
  • Implemented teambuilding for new regional teams
  • Acquired 11 new hospitals and staff.

Benefits and achievements



  • Delivered 14% EBITDA growth and margin improvement of 1.1% between 2007-08
  • Delivered 10% growth and further improvement of margin by 0.4% in the first half or 2008-9, despite the recession
  • Established a professional HR infrastructure with best practice HR and communications processes
  • Created 90 new roles, filled in three months
  • Launched employer brand ‘A magnet for the best’ successfully
  • Patient satisfaction scores showed year-on-year improvement.

Judge’s comments

Linda Holbeche says: “BMI Healthcare delivered a large-scale, centrally driven change within a highly dispersed organisation, using good communications and tools to embed change, producing a better aligned and more successful business.”

 


NCP


The team: HR
Number in team: 13
Number of staff the team responsible for: 2,200

About the organisation

NCP provides management and consultancy services for off-street car parks, on-street parking operations and traffic management.

The challenge

Following a de-merger and acquisition by the Macquarie Group in 2007, NCP faced a series of major operational, engagement and communications challenges. Cost-cutting and a lack of investment by three successive owners during the previous decade meant the business had lost sight of its customers. Car park standards varied dramatically and customer confidence and numbers had fallen. Last year, the HR team was tasked with helping to foster a new spirit and entrepreneurial culture.

What the organisation did



  • Armed with fresh staff survey results, the HR team developed a new people agenda aimed at transforming the business
  • The business’ core values were defined to measure personal and business performance
  • Encouraged two-way communication and tackled head-on issues arising from staff survey
  • Quickly introduced several operational and performance management initiatives.

Benefits and achievements



  • Results of a staff survey among 40% of the workforce in February indicates a massive turnaround in employee morale and commitment
  • Customer service and standards in car parks are continually improving thanks to increased local accountability, achieved through reward and recognition, such as a new bonus scheme.

Judge’s comments

Linda Holbeche says: “NCP introduced a strong, customer-focused changes, characterised by high levels of staff involvement. I liked the clear strategy, good communications and branding of the change effort, and a genuine effort to reconnect employees to the organisation’s core purpose around customers.”

 


Royal College of Nursing (RCN)


The team: HR
Number in team: 18
Number of staff the team responsible for: 800

About the organisation

RCN is the world’s largest professional union of nurses and healthcare support workers, with a membership of 400,000.

The challenge

The RCN staff survey in September 2007 recorded an overall employee engagement score of 54% – 7% lower than the not-for-profit benchmark. The HR team was tasked with improving the engagement score by 10% and to reduce sickness absence, staff turnover and the number of grievances filed. Membership numbers needed to increase by 1%.

What the organisation did



  • Introduced staff advocates to tackle bullying and harassment at work
  • Introduced a monthly two-way team briefing process, change management workshops and guidelines on communication
  • Introduced a staff awards scheme and mentoring to support career development.

Benefits and achievements



  • A repeat of the staff survey in March 2009 showed a 20% increase in overall employee engagement, taking the score to 74%
  • During the year, sickness absence was reduced by 0.6%, the number of grievances filed reduced by 45%, and staff turnover reduced from 20.7% to 12.9%
  • Between April 2008 and April 2009, RCN doubled its memberships target and saw a 2% increase – a significant boost to income.

Judge’s comments

Linda Holbeche says: “RCN’s case was a transformation effort that has demonstrated really listening to and acting on staff feedback, producing a more energised and effective organisation.”

 


TUI UK & Ireland


The team: HR
Number in team: 100
Number of staff the team responsible for: 17,000

About the organisation

TUI UK & Ireland is a travel operator.

The challenge

The 2007 merger of Thomson and First Choice involved closing sites, establishing a new head office, integrating and relocating teams, harmonising terms, policies and remuneration packages, and bringing two airlines together. Two organisations that were once competitors became one, but their cultures and approaches to management were poles apart.

What the organisation did



  • HR led the merger planning, secured people investment and oversaw the appointment of an integration team
  • Key communications including a staff booklet, a ‘Be Special’ engagement programme, face-to-face visits with the MD, and online forum
  • HR coached leaders through managing uncertainty and ‘making a success of the merger’ sessions
  • Organisational design completed within three months.

Benefits and achievements



  • Record profits posted in year one
  • HR policies and systems were harmonised with a clear timetable for completion on first anniversary
  • A partnership approach worked, achieving a landmark deal with pilots’ union Balpa
  • All identified key talent remained at the company with no regretted losses.

Judge’s comments

Marianne Huggett says: “It is a big challenge to bring together competitors – dealing with morale and culture issues as well as the harmonisation practicalities. This appears to be a very proactive and consultative approach, in particular partnership working with Balpa.”

 


Vodafone UK


The team: HR business partnering
Number in team: 22
Number of staff the team responsible for: 9,492

About the organisation

Vodafone UK has 18.5 million customers and offers a wide range of voice and data communications.

The challenge

When Vodafone UK outsourced its regional operations (RO) team, which employs 350 staff, it did so against a backdrop of employee uncertainty. The latest staff survey indicated a low score for employee engagement. The challenge was to retain a highly skilled workforce; 81 members of the team were eligible for early retirement.

What the organisation did



  • Potential outsourcing partners were invited in for a ‘beauty parade’ in front of RO’s employee representatives
  • Written and face-to-face communications were open, honest and transparent
  • Put pension rights at the top of the agenda as consultation had confirmed employees were worried about losing out financially as they moved from a defined benefit to a defined contribution scheme.

Benefits and achievements



  • HR made sure outsourcing deal put people agenda on equal footing with commercial interests
  • Positive feedback from employees ensured a low attrition rate
  • Only one of the 81 potential employees took early retirement, meaning key skills were retained.

Judge’s comments

Marianne Huggett says: “Vodafone managed an outsourcing exercise in an innovative way by involving employee representatives. It tackled head on one of the main concerns putting pensions at the top of the agenda. The process ensured that skills were retained.”

 


Boots UK


The team: Supply chain HR
Number in team: 20
Number of staff the team responsible for: 4,500

About the organisation

Boots UK is a chemist and retailer selling health and beauty products. It has around 2,600 store.

The challenge

In 2006, Boots launched its biggest ever change project, restructuring its supply chain to deliver a £50m annual cost saving. It involved closing 18 distribution centres and merging three warehouses. 1,200 employees needed new terms and shifts, and approximately 2,100 redundancies were announced three years in advance.

What the organisation did



  • Developed a clear people vision, culture change and leadership development plan
  • Developed a support and severance package for affected staff
  • Opened a learning suite in every distribution centre
  • £300 vocational training allowance for each colleague
  • Change management programmes for all managers and induction training for all staff.

Benefits and achievements



  • Programme delivered on time, to budget
  • Employee engagement survey scores increased by 13%
  • 54% of leavers moving immediately into new work
  • New terms and conditions, structures and shifts successfully implemented where relevant
  • Service to stores improved from 97.24% to 98.2%
  • Absence reduced from 7% to 4.5%.

Judge’s comments

Marianne Huggett says: “This was a complex, high-risk change programme with significant business risk. It has a lot of components but has been driven through based on clear values. The same care and thought has been given to all groups of staff impacted by this change.”

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