Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for Talent Management

THE AWARD

This award recognises organisations that have adopted a proactive approach to talent management. Employers need to be creative to attract and retain the best talent. The judges were looking for imaginative talent initiatives by the HR team working in conjunction with others in the business.

 

THE JUDGES

Jo Hennessy,
Director of research,
Roffey Park

 

 

 

Chris Parry,
Chair,
Centre for High Performance Development

 

 

 

Mike Haffenden,
Co-founder,
Corporate Research Forum

 

 

Kent County Council

The team: Personnel and development and the employment strategy group
Number in team: 226
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 44,000

About the organisation

Kent County Council is the local authority responsible for delivering many public services provided for the county’s residents, businesses and visitors.

The challenge

With one-third of employees eligible for retirement in the next decade, the council needed to take a proactive approach to employing younger people and developing talent.

What the organisation did

  • The council pledged to create 250 apprenticeships and provided paid placements for gap-year students, undergraduates on sandwich courses and graduates
  • An internship programme and the Kent Graduate Programme were launched
  • A young persons’ talent management programme and the ‘Greenhouse’ staff group were created to empower young workers to fulfil their potential.

Benefits and achievements

  • Talent management has become a top strategic priority for the council, with full support from the leader and chief executive
  • 228 apprentices have been recruited so far with 68% having been retained at the council, while 87 people have been appointed through the Gap-Year Programme
  • 39 management trainees from the graduate programme have been retained by the council
  • 350 young people were provided with work experience.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “This was an imaginative talent strategy with major benefits to the organisation and also to the community it serves.”

 

Pizza Express

The team: HR department
Number in team: 7
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 9,000

About the organisation

Pizza Express is one of the country’s best-known Italian restaurant chains, with a huge high-street presence.

The challenge

To reduce high levels of management turnover by identifying and developing ‘A-grade managers’ to create a pipeline of retained talent.

What the organisation did

  • The ‘Exploration’ programme was launched. It has three core elements: A Club, A+ Club and Dragon’s Den
  • The A Club brings ‘A-grade managers’ together twice a year for social events, exposing them to the innovation taking place within the industry
  • At the A+ Club, managers are given the opportunity to discuss real business issues such as kitchen productivity, and to develop solutions
  • In the Dragon’s Den, managers develop an area of expertise that they have a real passion for and present ideas to the senior management team.

Benefits and achievements

  • The Exploration programme has helped to retain top talent and create a pipeline of future A-grade managers
  • Where the industry average turnover of managers is 45%, Pizza Express now has a managerial turnover of just 20%
  • The programme has helped the company to stay innovative and competitive while establishing a culture of respect for talent and hard work in the restaurants.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “The highly creative Exploration programme shows the impact HR can have on talent development and retention in a notoriously tough sector.”

 

Jumeirah Group

The team: Learning and development
Number in team: 150
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 17,500

About the organisation

The Jumeirah Group is a provider of luxury hotels and resorts across the world. Its portfolio also includes restaurants, serviced residences and an amusement park.

The challenge

The Jumeirah Group plans to add a further 49 hotels to its portfolio by 2012, and to do this the company predicts it will need 1,000 additional managers every year. The group wanted to identify existing talent suitable to be developed into managers.

What the organisation did

  • A week long ‘Discovery’ workshop was launched to map out workflows so they could be automated and made more efficient
  • A single HR technology platform was created linking all processes associated with employee development, talent management and performance improvement.

Benefits and achievements

  • Of 2,500 management vacancies, more than 1,000 were filled through developing and promoting existing employees. This delivered managers with more experience and knowledge of the business while reducing recruitment costs
  • The turnover of supervisors and managers is now just over 10%.

Judge’s comments

Mike Haffenden says: “This is a clearly expressed growth challenge in that there is a rapid expansion plan and the need to staff up accordingly. This seemed to be an innovative, creative and highly valued piece of work.”

 

Gate Gourmet

The team: HR team
Number in team: 17
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 3,300

About the organisation

Gate Gourmet is the world’s largest independent provider of catering services for airlines and railways.

The challenge

Four years ago, Gate Gourmet was losing £27m a year and had demotivated staff. The company wanted to create an integrated approach to talent management on a global basis that could be adapted to meet local needs.

What the organisation did

  • Gate Gourmet shifted from a subjective selection process to a combination of performance assessment tools and nomination
  • Competencies that fitted the business strategy were developed and internal managers were trained to be assessors
  • The Group Leadership Development Programme was launched, which offered high-potential staff individual career development discussions, an intensive leadership development course, 360-degree feedback and a mentor outside their reporting line.

Benefits and achievements

  • The integrated approach to talent management has enabled the company to retain more than 90% of those identified as talent, while there have been five senior internal promotions within the past six months
  • Savings in excess of £110,000 a year have been made and both morale and motivation of staff has improved.

Judge’s comments

Jo Hennessy says: “This talent management programme was clearly linked to organisational and business priorities. There was a good focus on past performance and potential, and there are early indicators of organisational benefits.”

 

McDonald’s Restaurants

The team: Reputation team
Number in team: 11
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 72,000

The organisation

McDonald’s is an international fast-food retailer with more than 31,000 staff in 118 different countries.

The challenge

To address gender diversity at senior management level (where only 13% of managers were female) by encouraging female middle managers to progress through the business to more senior roles.

What the organisation did

  • A pilot Women Leadership Development Programme was launched in 2007 with 10 women following a six-month programme addressing issues of leadership communication and personal impact
  • A further 12 women began the programme in 2008
  • The programme has now become part of the annual talent review.

Benefits and achievements

  • Following the programme, 60% of the women noticed an improvement in their leadership with senior managers and 75% felt they were more able to use positive language in communication
  • A survey of the reporting managers of those who took part in the programme found 51% felt their employee had improved their confidence, while 59% reported an improvement in the employee’s ability to deal with difficult decisions
  • Since the launch of the programme, one graduate has already been promoted to a senior management role.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “This demonstrates HR being proactive in response to a very specific business need.”

 

Groupama Insurances

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

The organisation

Groupama is a leading provider of motor and home insurance as well as offering healthcare and commercial covers for smaller businesses.

The challenge

To develop a talent management programme that would deliver an efficient succession planning strategy, reduce expenditure on external recruitment exercises, and give employees ownership of their career development.

What the organisation did

  • The Springboard was established in 2007 to identify people with talent throughout the business
  • Candidates for the programme go through numerical and verbal reasoning tests before being invited to a two-day assessment centre
  • Successful employees then enter the Talent Pool, which provides them with a mentor, 360-degree feedback, a focus learning and development plan, assignment to key projects and secondments
  • Those that are not successful go into the Development Pool and are given feedback, professional coaching sessions and a development plan.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since 2007, 23 people have entered the Talent Pool, while 33 have entered the Development Pool
  • Through Springboard, four people were assessed as a good match for current vacancies
  • The number of vacancies filled by internal recruitment between September 2008 and April 2009 was 31% – an 11% increase on the previous year. This has saved the company £24,000 in recruitment fees.

Judge’s comments

Jo Hennessy says: “Talent management is now managed from beginning to end with good consultation, a clear nomination and selection process, tailored development following an assessment, and consideration of those not selected.”

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