PT Awards 2013 winners: Elior triumphs in Learning and Development

Elior collect their Personnel Today Award for Learning and Development
Elior collect their 2013 Personnel Today Award for Learning and Development.

Contract caterers Elior won one of our most-entered categories of the Personnel Today Awards, the Award for Excellence in Learning and Development. We look at what they did to beat off the stiff competition, with a look at the winning entry and those of our runners-up.

Martin Couzins, founder, Learnpatch.com
Jane Turner, associate dean, Newcastle Business School
Donald Taylor, chairman, Learning Technologies Conference

 


Elior UK

About the organisation

Elior UK is one of the UK’s largest contract caterers, operating in across 650 client sites and employing more than 10,000 employees to deliver food and integrated services to a diverse client base.

The challenge

When Tim Hammond took over as Elior UK’s chief executive in early 2011, there was low recognition of Elior’s brand in the marketplace. Business was suffering as a result, with contract retention rates having fallen to 84% against a target of 95%. There were no defined service standards across the business and no systems in place to accurately measure the level of service customers were receiving.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced the “eXperience” programme, designed around the belief that every employee has to excel to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
  • Made the programme modular so that information could be managed in bite-sized pieces using a range of practical tasks, games, visual prompt cards and other tools.
  • Established a focus group with representation from every business sector and level, including previous customer service award winners.
  • “Service Champions” were identified, on the basis of providing exceptional customer service, and were trained to deliver the materials and embed the standards at their site.
  • Introduced comprehensive independent customer experience measurement tool, which combines three elements: mystery shopper visits; an online survey; and a paper-based questionnaire.

Benefits and achievements

  • There are now 476 Service Champions delivering the programme at site level.
  • Customer experience score is now 79.5% – +4.5% above initial target – and 87.1% of customers say they would recommend Elior.
  • Programme has received glowing praise from clients – some were so impressed that the company was asked to run the same session for customers’ employees.
  • Contract retention rates have climbed from 84% at the beginning of 2011 to a current rate of 97.5%, exceeding initial target of 95%.
  • Employee attrition rate has dropped below 20% for the first time.
  • Performance results show that an investment of £165 per Service Champion yields an average £2,500 site net-profit improvement, a 1,515% return.

Judge’s comments

“Excellent. Tough, quantified challenge. Clear solution involving interactivity and longevity. Benefits clearly stated and financial impact calculated.” – Donald Taylor

 

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The large number of entries in this category has also led to a longer shortlist, with seven runners-up:


Rentokil Initial (RI)

About the organisation

Rentokil Initial is one of the largest support services companies in the world, operating in all of the major economies of Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Africa. The company employs 60,000 people and operates from more than 1,000 local branches across 60 countries.

The challenge

As a fast-growing, global business, RI needed to provide a clear and consistent, competency-based development framework for supervisors, and introduce them to leadership behaviours. This demand coincided with the launch of RI’s corporate university, U+, a way of providing a universally high standard of learning and development (L&D).

What the organisation did

  • Introduced the “Stepping into Management” programme: an interactive, six-month modular approach to developing supervisors.
  • Communicated with each delegate’s manager to get pre-programme ratings in line with RI’s personal development framework.
  • Required delegates to complete assignments at each step in the journey and complete post-programme evaluations six months after completion.
  • Focused on discussion and activity and supported this with a workbook.
  • Used a number of delivery methods, including: internal trainers; external training providers; and “Train the Trainer”, delivered through a five-day session for HR professionals.
  • Data captured through pre- and post-course evaluation, along with verbal feedback through interviews with participants.
  • Captured data on business improvement, profit and loss data and HR data sources.

Benefits and achievement

  • Cash collections team has improved results by 14.2% between April 2012 and December 2012.
  • Achieved savings for a client of more than £11,000.
  • Delegates have increased sense of security and certainty, resulting in innovative behaviour at the front line.
  • RI is now preparing for version two of the programme, implementing the advice sought from managers and the external consultant.
  • Following a successful pilot to 25 supervisors in the UK, Stepping into Management was delivered to 590 supervisors across 14 geographies and eight languages in 2012.

Judge’s comments

“A comprehensive approach and robust measurement of the impact.” – Jane Turner


Santander UK/The Mind Gym

About the organisation

Santander UK is a bank that is wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group. It is the third-largest bank in the UK in terms of deposits, the second largest in terms of mortgages held and the fourth largest in terms of branches operated, with more than 25 million customers. The bank has more than 1,300 branches, and employs in excess of 25,000 people throughout the UK.

The challenge

In 2011, Santander was voted third worst for customer service for all organisations in the UK and worst among all banks. Multiple mergers and a focus on products over service had left staff disengaged and divorced from the customer experience. Customer attrition, complaints and negative press were costing the bank £145 million per year. Mind Gym proposed a radical “Customer FIRST” programme to engage all levels to turn to face the customer.

What the organisation did

  • Interviewed divisional directors, regional managers, branch managers and staff.
  • Completed more than 70 mystery shops ensuring a representative view of the customer experience.
  • Analysed Santander’s most recent engagement, satisfaction and scorecard metrics for all branches.
  • Delivered a series of half-day learning “bites” for all branch managers, which they cascaded on to the employees in their branch.
  • Used a dedicated pool of training deliverers who were fully immersed in the programme from the start.
  • Guaranteed quality and consistency through regular context and content updates for the team of 16 trainers, co-delivered by Santander and Mind Gym.

Benefits and achievements

  • Reversed nine months of continued decline in external service scores: customers describing service as “poor” declined from 62% to 26%.
  • Internal service scores increased from 68.4% in July 2011 to 74.4% in March 2012, and became more consistent.
  • Complaints resolution exceeded target for the first time, rising to over 95% after a learning bite focusing on taking more ownership of customers’ problems.
  • Santander won the Moneywise Most Improved Customer Service award in June 2012.
  • Santander also won the Your Money award for Best Branch Network for overall customer experience in July 2012.

Judge’s comments

“A comprehensive and rather contagious approach with clearly defined outcomes. A research-based approach to understand the business requirement.” – Jane Turner


Prudential

About the organisation

Prudential is an international financial services group with assets of more than £427 billion and more than 23 million insurance customers. It employs more than 25,000 people worldwide.

The challenge

At the beginning of 2012, the overwhelming feedback from Prudential staff was that, while L&D provided a wide range of development opportunities, they were not adequately signposted to be useful and relevant to an individual at the point of need. There was an uncomfortable level of expenditure, and frequent issues with securing funding for critical activities.

What the organisation did

  • Created a learning board chaired by the HR director and divided into six “schools” grouped by learning need, each sponsored by a senior director and supported by both subject matter experts and the wider L&D team.
  • Developed a new curriculum in line with business requirements – over the remainder of the year, each school bought curriculum, policy and standard recommendations to the learning board for agreement and approval.
  • Introduced two L&D relationship manager roles to support the HR business partners in diagnosing learning needs from strategic priorities.
  • Substantially increased internal training delivery capability to support the core curriculum and reduce external expenditure.
  • Introduced a learning curriculum manager role to oversee and coordinate learning activities and channels.
  • Developed and published “Investing in You”, a suite of intranet and brochure-ware that outlines the company’s talent strategy, learning proposition and how colleagues can access learning.

Benefits and achievements

  • Learning is better planned and more coordinated, enabling effective solutions that can be leveraged widely to deliver better value for money.
  • Learning solutions are specified by the relevant school, which is accountable for ensuring organisational fit, quality and value for money.
  • Substantial reduction in ad hoc expenditure on training not specifically linked to business objectives.
  • The ratio of internal to external delivery has moved from 50:50 to 90:10, reducing external expenditure on training provision by £500,000.
  • Learning is now a business-owned activity, not an HR-owned activity, and the service is consistent, clear, agreed and measurable.

Judge’s comments

“By creating a learning board, Prudential has created strong governance around L&D that is embedded and owned by the business. An impressive transformation of L&D that has already yielded £500,000 in savings.” – Martin Couzins


McDonald’s Restaurants

About the organisation

McDonald’s has 1,200 restaurants in the UK and employs around 91,000 people, who work together to serve approximately three million people every day.

The challenge

McDonald’s has a team of crew trainers, who train new and existing restaurant employees on how to deliver exceptional quality, service and cleanliness (QSC) and a great customer experience. It is the next step up from crew member, bridging the gap between crew and management. However, too many crew trainers had out-of-date skills and knowledge, and were not supporting their restaurants effectively.

What the organisation did

  • Established a selection process to ensure suitable candidates were selected for the role and to increase kudos.
  • Adopted a blended learning approach, using learning technology to deliver an engaging, relevant and consistent approach to training.
  • Provided access to a coach and a reflective learning journal to transfer knowledge back to the restaurant floor more quickly.
  • Introduced an assessment and verification process that tested both knowledge and skills with online exams and on-the-floor observations.
  • Activities supporting exceptional QSC to ensure crew trainers were role models in this area.
  • New uniforms to differentiate crew trainers from crew members and to elevate the position.

Benefits and achievements

  • The programme was expected to affect 6,000 employees each year, but has reached 10,000.
  • Around 4,050 crew trainers have completed the programme so far, with 4,250 currently in learning.
  • A survey of learners found that 90% felt the e-learning module benefitted their learning experience, and 83% found the practical activities useful.
  • Some 94.2% and 81% felt the programme helped improve their training skills and confidence, respectively.
  • Mystery shopper survey showed an improvement in staff friendliness.
  • Customer satisfaction improvements equate to a sales increase of 10.2% and a guest count increase of 5.3%.
  • The 90-day crew turnover dropped by 0.5%.
  • In the long term there will be a cost saving – price of the workbook has been reduced by 51%.

Judge’s comments

“This blended approach not only helped develop crews, it provided the organisation with a pipeline of potential leaders. The result is reduced turnover, improved customer satisfaction and increased sales.” – Martin Couzins


Argos

About the organisation

Argos is a catalogue merchant based in the UK and Republic of Ireland with 737 stores. It also has a substantial digital presence, selling through its website, its growing mobile channels, over the telephone and through Argos TV. It is part of the Home Retail Group.

The challenge

Development and engagement of the shift manager role had been limited at Argos, and it suffered from high turnover (25%). In 2012, performance ratings indicated that 63% of shift managers needed development and only 37% were doing a good job. Argos needed a programme that would improve shift managers’ capability and performance.

What the organisation did

  • Twenty shift managers completed a six-month bespoke development programme aligned closely with the Leadership Behaviour Model (“How We Lead” model).
  • Programme sponsored by a member of the senior distribution leadership team and endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
  • Participants attended four two-day modules, hosted at various venues (not their own) within the business to gain an insight of different parts of the business outside distribution.
  • Subject matter experts delivered the content.
  • Completed online pre- and post-work – preparation for the workshop was presented in a “blended” approach, for example reading of theories, questionnaires and online assessments.
  • Ran pre- and post-evaluation to collate ratings and measure the impact of the training on the shift manager role.
  • Trained shift managers cascaded learning to teams and the information can be accessed from the internal intranet system.

Benefits and achievements

  • Increased cost savings – of more than £2,000 – by more effective communication to teams and focused understanding of the finance reports and finance management.
  • Better networking has improved efficiency of communication, saving at least an hour per phone call by making direct contact.
  • The programme enhanced relationships with the union, resulting in effective harmony and quicker decision making as well as more grievances being resolved informally.
  • Better retention of good managers, saving £10,000 in recruitment and onboarding costs.
  • Increase in online training of 25%.
  • Reduced shift manager labour turnover by 20%.
  • Achieved 100% satisfaction rate of all elements of the programme, with a 38% increase of knowledge.
  • Sixty-five per cent of shift managers are now rated as “doing a good job”; 30% “need development”.

Judge’s comments

“A blended programme that has had real success. As well as cost savings, the programme has helped mangers to become more effective, had created a more harmonious working environment and has helped managers understand how the wider business works.” – Martin Couzins


Wolseley

About the organisation

Wolseley UK is the UK operating subsidiary of Wolseley plc. It provides construction products and materials through a nationwide branch network, including Plumb Centre, Parts Centre, Pipe Centre, Climate Centre, Drain Centre and William Wilson. The company employs around 6,000 people and has a network of 919 branches.

The challenge

In 2011, Wolseley restructured its business to focus on being number one or two in its chosen markets. Its key objectives were to drive shareholder value and increase customers’ spend by giving the best possible customer service. The restructure saw headcount reduced by 40%.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced three-day residential programme for first line managers, to run six times a year.
  • Began offering an accredited apprenticeship programme lasting 18 to 24 months, recruiting apprentices with the potential to be branch managers.
  • Offered 12 new one-day workshops for managers, supported by a new manager’s guide.
  • Started an online training academy offered more than 200 product knowledge e-learning courses, developed with suppliers supporting face-to-face training.
  • Ninety per cent of employees trained in 350 three-hour, after-work workshops and 50 managers’ one-day workshops in customer service.
  • Introduced a leadership development programme, a five-day residential programme for mid- and senior-level employees focusing on leadership and management, self-awareness, building high-performing teams and coaching.
  • Offered fast-track development for high-potential future branch managers for 40 employees a year through a six-month development programme.
  • Introduced an advanced leadership programme in the form of a five-day course for senior employees built on Schroeder’s High Performance Leadership Behaviours and a business project to present to the board.
  • A coordinated communications and awareness campaign took place to raise awareness of the training available and help drive demand and attendance.

Benefits and achievements

  • A £2.5 million investment in L&D in two years, during which trading profit has increased from 4.5% to 5.3%.
  • Employee training hours have increased from 5.7 in 2009/10 to 14.01 in 2012/13.
  • Net Promoter Score in the Pipe Centre and Climate Centre increased from +4% in 2010 before training, to +15% in 2011 and +28% in 2012 following training.
  • Employee engagement survey score remains strong at 58% in 2012, compared with 49% in 2008 and 57% in 2010. Participation increased from 52% to 86%.
  • Eighty-two per cent of employees now say that they “received the right training” (compared with 77% in 2010), 81% that they “know what training is available” (71% in 2010) and 74% say that they are “satisfied with training available” (67% in 2010).

Judge’s comments

“Very good. Clear challenges as part of strategic plan, very well laid out solutions and nice hard fact benefits section. Increase in Net Promoter Scores particularly impressive.” – Donald Taylor


Hastings Direct

About the organisation

Hastings Direct is a division of Hastings Insurance Services Limited, and provides insurance for cars, homes and motorcycles as well as related products such as car breakdown cover. In February 2009, the company’s management bought it out from parent company Insurance Australia Group (IAG).

The challenge

In late 2011, Hastings published an ambitious goal of “Protecting one in 10 by 2020″, aiming to increase customer numbers to three million. Delivering this ambition was not just about winning new customers, but retaining as many existing ones as possible. Hastings Direct’s strategy was to become a truly customer-centric business – not just investing in skills, but in attitude, behaviour and collaboration.

What the organisation did

  • Rolled out the biggest L&D programme in the company’s history, running for one year to ensure all 1,500 members of staff attended the workshops.
  • Presented a two-day interactive programme for all employees, with 50 attending each session.
  • Revised appraisal templates for frontline staff – removed all incentives that detracted from customer focus and introduced more “customer centric” incentives instead.
  • Redesigned the recruitment process to prioritise employing those most likely to embrace the company’s new approach.
  • Every new starter now goes through the same two-day programme, supported by new frontline user guides.
  • Employees can share their experiences and successes in video recordings that are shared at town hall-style meetings.
  • CEO Gary Hoffman has gone through the programme and is an advocate and vocal supporter.

Benefits and achievements

  • Improved feelings of empowerment: 82% of employees agree that they are “encouraged to contribute ideas and/or suggest improvements”.
  • Boosted customer feedback figures: Net Promoter Score +18 (+9 previously).
  • Customer satisfaction score increased to 78%, compare with a previous figure of 73%.
  • Customer effort score increased to 63%, compared with a previous score of 56%.
  • Customer representative satisfaction score has increased to 84%, compared with 80%.
  • Sixty-three per cent of employees say that they feel motivated in their current job, up 8%.
  • More than 8 customers out of 10 say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their representative.
  • Satisfaction scores have increased across the board, standing at 91% for claims, 83% for renewals and 86% on purchasing.
  • A 3% increase in retention – the only company in its market to have seen an increase.
  • An 18% increase in customers, from 972,000 in 2011 to 1.145 million in 2012.
  • Gross written premiums have increased 19% to £423 million.

Judge’s comments:

“Comprehensive interventions… with evidence of impact drawn from a multitude of sources.” – Jane Turner

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