Personnel Today Awards -Hays Human Resources Award for Innovation in Recruitment & Retention

Peter Reilly, Award judge

Peter Reilly is director, HR research and consultancy, at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). He leads the work on reward at the IES, and contributes significantly to projects on HR planning. He has published IES reports and written various articles and books on the same subjects. He previously had a 16-year career with Shell, where he held a variety of HR roles.

This award recognises effective approaches to the selection, recruitment and retention of employees at all levels. Entries provided evidence of success in developing and motivating staff and innovative ways of attracting the right applicants to the organisation. Relevant to this category are new methods of recruiting, measuring and assessing capability and performance, career management, succession planning, and competency testing.

Hays Human Resources, part of Hays plc, is a leading UK specialist HR recruitment consultancy. It aims to provide exceptional levels of service for both candidates and clients, and takes great care in identifying the right people for the right positions. Hays Human Resources successfully places people in permanent, temporary and lucrative interim jobs across the entire spectrum of generalist and HR positions.

British Gas Services
The team: Engineering Academy Recruitment Team
Number in team: 28 Number of staff the team is responsible for: 1,500 hires per year

About the organisation British Gas Services is a domestic gas central heating and gas appliance installation and servicing company.

The challenge British Gas recruits about 1,500 people per year into engineering, call centre and sales positions. In 2006, the positions were only being filled as a result of high advertising and selection costs, with only one in four candidates making the grade at the firm’s assessment centre.

What the organisation did

  • Created the British Gas Engineering Academy.
  • Combined database marketing to increase attraction with values-based online and offline selection to increase the degree of culture-fit and retention.
  • Held discussions with British Gas Services recruiters as well as data protection and internet security compliance teams within the wider Centrica group.

Benefits and achievements

  • Recruiters within the business believe the quality of candidates has improved by 55%.
  • The number of assessment centres needed to fill positions has halved.
  • The number of female applicants recruited has increased by 20%.
  • Offer acceptance rates increased by 88%.
  • The cost of online assessments reduced by 97% advertising spend fell by 95%.

The judge says: “Impressive teamwork, including the effective mobilisation of internal and external resources, has produced impressive results. Recruitment costs have fallen and average quality levels increased. The use of job alerts and an employee nomination scheme have driven up applications. Selection has focused on establishing matching values through an online assessment tool.”

CAMDEN PCT
The team: NHS Job Shop
Number in team: 5 Number of staff responsible for: Recruiting to posts across 7 large NHS trusts

About the organisation Camden PCT is a primary care trust providing and commissioning health services in the London Borough of Camden.

The challenge Trying to meet the local recruitment needs of seven large NHS trusts in Camden and Islington to support the health of the local population as well as creating good, sustainable jobs with opportunities for progression.

What the organisation did

  • Created the NHS Job Shop, a recruitment service with a high-street shop front enabling job seekers to access support to apply for jobs.
  • Advertised through local community networks, tracked and monitored applications and held recruitment events.
  • Supported clients to help them receive a range of training to help them improve their skills before finding work.
  • Engaged with local community training networks and employment groups to ensure unsuccessful candidates were offered other opportunities.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 100 jobs successfully filled within the last year.
  • 1,200 people have used the service.
  • The service has been awarded £320,000 by the London Development Agency over the next two years to deliver health employment projects.
  • Met diversity and social responsibility targets.
  • Unemployment has decreased in the area, improving the health of the population.
  • NHS Job Shop has taken the lead on activity generated by the Camden Health Employers Steering Group.

The judge says: “Through a cross-trust recruitment initiative the NHS locally is meeting the challenge of achieving diversity and social responsibility targets and improving community links through the creation of a ‘Job Shop’ that provides proactive advice and training to the disadvantaged.”

DHL Exel Supply Chain

The team: Home and retail specialist division HR department
Number in team: 19 Number of staff the team is responsible for: 5,000

About the organisation DHL Exel Supply Chain is a logistics/supply chain management company.

The challenge The company strives to be the employer of choice in the supply chain industry. It is always looking to improve its mechanisms to create an innovative and value-adding recruitment and retention strategy.

What the organisation did

  • Launched the Motiv8 system to provide a standard for performance evaluation and talent management.
  • Created community school visits and a graduate programme.
  • Used headhunters and redeployment tactics.
  • The company has also employed 21 people through an innovative project to employ ex-offenders.

Benefits and achievements

  • The recruitment tools created allowed it to attract the best people.
  • Motiv8 is used in succession planning, and allows vacancies and candidates to be linked up.
  • An internal resourcing and development pool has been created, allowing the company to recruit quickly.
  • Ex-offenders are given the skills and experience to take into the jobs market.

The judge says: “The balance between supply and demand has been improved at this company through the creation of a resourcing forum that marries vacancies and candidates. Better quality information on the latter comes from a standard performance and potential evaluation. There has also been a broadening of supply by encouraging the recruitment of ex-offenders and the disabled.”

HOMESERVE GB
The team: HR team
Number in team: 20 Number of staff the team is responsible for: 1,000

About the organisation Homeserve GB is an insurance company specialising in home cover.

The challenge With more than 5,000 job applications per year, and a pride in its people-orientated culture, Homeserve has to ensure its recruitment processes are robust and rigorous.

What the organisation did

  • Advertised itself as a fun and rewarding place to work in local and trade press, as well as revamping internal recruitment campaigns.
  • Held recruitment roadshows and ran ‘refer-a-friend’ campaigns with rewards of £1,000, iPods, holidays and cars.
  • Simplified application process, including texting.
  • Offered a fully expensed Smart car for a month to the employee referring the most candidates.
  • Launched psychometric testing within the agent recruitment process and an ‘experience day’ to reflect the realities of life in the business.
  • Introduced the performance-excellence framework that forms the basis of selection and assessment procedures.

Benefits and achievements

  • 96% now say their role is the same as it was portrayed at interview, compared with 37% before.
  • 65% now feel they have a clear career development path. Lack of development had been cited as the main reason for leaving at exit interviews.
  • Annual attrition reduced from 9% to under 3%.
  • Management churn has been reduced from up to 44% to less than 5%.
  • The conversion rate from interview to placement has risen from 33% to 65%.

The judge says: “There were lots of good ideas in this company’s submission in both advertising and application methods. Particular attention has been given to matching work experiences to recruitment expectations and creating clearer career paths. There are impressive results in stakeholder satisfaction and candidate quality.”

Royal Bank of Scotland
The team: HR resourcing and development
Number in team: 100 Number of staff the team is responsible for: 100,000

About the organisation The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is one of the world’s leading financial services companies.

The challenge The group has experienced rapid growth in recent years, changing from a predominantly UK organisation of 35,000 people to a global organisation with 135,000 employees across 30 countries. To support this expansion, the group’s resourcing function needed to change. Previously, individual brands and divisions competed against each other for talent, wasting money and giving candidates mixed experiences.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced a group-wide, cross-divisional resourcing model for high-volume roles.
  • Carried out job analysis of 15,000 volume hires, identifying 17 attributes as being held in common.
  • Created a single suitability screen that enabled all candidates to be screened with one application.
  • Held awaydays to generate cohesion across the team, and established five workstreams with leaders speaking weekly.
  • Created a centralised candidate response centre to provide a single point of contact.

Benefits and achievements

  • Projected savings of £27.5m over five years
  • Nearly 100,000 candidates have used the process, with 4,291 offers and 2,007 starters.
  • Candidate quality is seen to be ‘good’ rather than ‘average’ as it was before implementation.
  • Fewer candidates are withdrawing from the process, and the time taken to hire members of staff has been reduced.

The judge says: “The company provided a very clear business driver of improved resourcing integration to reduce costly turnover. Its approach of clustering and profiling jobs enabled it to screen high volumes of candidates for all roles across the company. The results were seen in cost savings and quality improvements.”

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