PT Awards 2013 winners: MBNA wins Award for Employee Engagement

Personnel Today Awards 2014 shortlist: Employee engagement - under 1,000 employees: MBNA collect their 2013 award
MBNA collect their Award for Employee Engagement at the 2013 Personnel Today Awards ceremony

The Award for Employee Engagement, sponsored by Oakleaf Partnership, went to MBNA at the Personnel Today Awards on Monday night.

Given the unprecedented volume of entries, the judges decided to shortlist eight teams for the 2013 award. Here we profile the winner and the runners-up:


MBNA

About the organisation

MBNA is one of the UK’s largest credit card lenders and part of Bank of America. It offers a range of credit cards – from 0% offers on transfers and purchases to reward products – and employs around 2,000 people.

The challenge

Judges
Doug Shaw
, consultant, What Goes Around
Wendy Cartwright, former director of human resources at the Olympic Delivery Authority
Rob Moss, editor, Personnel Today

In 2011, Bank of America announced it wanted to exit the credit card market in Europe, meaning possible closure or sale for MBNA. There was significant uncertainty for MBNA staff and a restructuring exercise resulted in people leaving the business. Few had clarity on whether or not their jobs would be secure, but MBNA decided the best route to a positive outcome was through a positive and engaged workforce.

What the organisation did

  • Came up with a programme called Xplore; based on their mindsets staff were encouraged to adapt (“explorers” thrive on taking accountability for their actions in uncertain territory).
  • Used strong imagery and language to engage staff in shaping and influencing the business, with a focus on development rather than promotion.
  • Created a portal using SharePoint with three zones: Safari (engagement-related activities); Mountain (leadership development); Polar (performance appraisals, performance development plans).
  • Developed leadership-specific hub known as “The Leadership Cloud”, a social learning hub with customised content.

Benefits and achievements

  • Staff attrition fell from 9.7% to 7.4%.
  • Absence fell from just under 4% to 2.75%.
  • Engagement levels in 2012 were 70% despite uncertain situation.
  • Customer service improved: percentage “delighted” with service rose to 49% at end of 2012, compared with 43% in May 2013.

Judge’s comments

“Simple and clear – I like the theme centred around accountability. Helpful use of technology as an enabler and useful benefits arising.” – Doug Shaw


SIX Financial Information

About the organisation

SIX Financial Information is a multinational vendor of financial data, collecting data from all of the world’s major trading venues in real time. It operates in 24 countries and is a subsidiary of SIX Group.

The challenge

In 2008, the SIX board of directors gave the UK subsidiary a mandate to double revenues over a five-year period. However, growth had stagnated, staff turnover was high and morale was low. Productivity was affected by high levels of absence and staff felt uncommitted. The organisation needed to boost employee engagement in order to grow.

What the organisation did

  • Identified key focus points, including: revised values; change of management style; a lifestyle staff can identify with; and improved communication.
  • Communicated new values throughout the organisation with a core theme of “we’re all in it together”.
  • Updated tradition of ringing a bell to indicate a sale to include staff from all teams involved, not just sales.
  • Staff are able to work more flexibly by adjusting their hours to suit their hobbies or family commitments.
  • Quarterly town hall meeting with the MD, which all staff are invited to attend.
  • Organised activities such as a writing competition to encourage staff to have fun with their colleagues.

Benefits and achievements

  • Four years in, staff turnover is around 8%, compared with more than 55% prior to the engagement activities.
  • Productivity improvements have had a positive impact on revenues; projected revenue for is 2014 double that of 2008.
  • Fifty-six per cent of staff have now been with the company more than five years.
  • Shifted management’s mindset about how to motivate staff and staff have greater appreciation of the challenges the business faces.

Judge’s comments

“Good description of hard work put in over time and business impact.” – Wendy Cartwright


Merlin Entertainments

About the organisation

Merlin Entertainments is one of the world’s largest leisure and entertainment companies, operating more than 90 attractions across 22 countries, including Sea Life Centres, Madame Tussauds and Legoland.

The challenge

While Merlin’s employee opinion survey “The Wizard Wants to Know” has achieved high response rates, one of the issues it identified was that staff were keen to receive recognition or praise for good work. The company decided this was an area that needed to be researched and actioned, and came up with a project to deliver an online global recognition scheme.

What the organisation did

  • Went through tender process with communications and rewards specialists before identifying final supplier.
  • Launched STAR, Merlin’s first online global recognition scheme, designed to recognise staff who embrace the company’s values.
  • Employee gains instant recognition, receiving an email detailing who the nomination is from and why; there is a STAR of the month.
  • All nominations are visible on the STAR online portal via a live news feed.
  • Local HR managers were responsible for translating all of the materials and held focus groups to ensure STAR met the needs of the business.
  • Enabled seasonal staff to take part in the initiative through STAR cards or by submitting personal emails.

Benefits and achievements

  • Feedback from employee survey on staff feeling they receive recognition has improved by 4%.
  • More than 140,000 STARs have been sent since April 2011.
  • STARs of the year in each attraction receive equity in Merlin Entertainments in the form of shares.
  • Feedback has been positive and engagement levels have improved.

Judge’s comments

“I like the simplicity of this, and it seems to be about recognition for the good of it.” – Doug Shaw


IMServ (Invensys)

About the organisation

IMServ is an independent energy data management provider. It offers carbon and energy management solutions that help organisations across all sectors to save energy, reduce costs and control carbon. The company was formed in 1992 and is part of the Invensys Energy Controls division of industrial conglomerate Invensys.

The challenge

In 2010, Invensys carried out a global employee engagement survey, which highlighted staff dissatisfaction with the business. The IMServ business was suffering from low staff morale, high turnover, lack of engagement and poor customer satisfaction. It needed to address engagement and enable staff to feel they were given opportunities to develop.

What the organisation did

  • Came up with an initiative known as “WeEngage”, with a team of representatives from across different functions.
  • Researched employees’ views in the key low-scoring areas and employees were encouraged to post their views on comment boards.
  • Improved employee induction and training programme.
  • Introduced a communications charter, detailing the most appropriate delivery of messages across the organisation.
  • Held team/collaborative events such as IMServ Olympics and other external social events.
  • Increased recognition for individual and team performance, plus introduction of long-service awards.

Benefits and achievements

  • The 2012 company engagement survey showed a significant increase in scores across all categories; engagement increased by 14%.
  • Ninety-two per cent of staff say they are willing to go the extra mile to help IMServ achieve its goals.
  • Eighty-seven per cent say they intend to be working for IMServ in 12 months’ time; more people would recommend it as a place to work.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of people in a poll of a cross-section of employees feel WeEngage has had a positive impact on the organisation.
  • Customers are happier; average score in an Institute of Customer Services survey is 72.5.

Judge’s comments

“The solution was a comprehensive programme using varied techniques that led to results in engagement scores and well linked to business success.” – Wendy Cartwright


Fujitsu

About the organisation

Fujitsu provides information technology solutions for businesses, including application services, IT consulting, infrastructure services and products. The company employs more than 11,000 people in the UK and Ireland across a wide variety of roles and locations.

The challenge

In 2011, Fujitsu UK & Ireland was reeling from changes in the market and a restructure. Fewer than two-thirds of staff completed the 2011 engagement survey – and of those who did, only 29% felt any action would be taken as a result. The company needed to move engagement up the corporate agenda and empower staff to help shape the future.

What the organisation did

  • Launched Keep Shaping Our Tomorrow (KSOT), a series of assignments for staff to complete in workshops, team meetings or with colleagues.
  • Brought together the KSOT feedback into action plans, highlighting four focus areas: customers; people; results; and society.
  • Came up with employee-driven, targeted and measurable engagement activities, such as Proud to be Fujitsu, Our Stories and Career Films.
  • Workshops designed to raise awareness of HR activities, systems and benefit schemes.
  • Launched employee product purchase scheme.
  • Increased training budget and CSR involvement.
  • Shared progress on engagement activities and highlighted the value of completing the employee engagement survey.

Benefits and achievements

  • In 2013, the company was awarded Investors in People Gold; improved Business in the Community score from Silver to Platinum.
  • Voluntary attrition has decreased compared with the previous year.
  • Eighty per cent of employees took part in the 2013 engagement survey and engagement scores have risen – up 12% over two years.
  • Proportion of staff who believe action will be taken increased from 29% in 2011 to 42% in 2012, and 53% in 2013.
  • Operating profit in the region improved by 30% in the last year – making it the best performing region outside Japan for the last six quarters.

Judge’s comments

“Use of technology enabling quick gathering of info and feedback is helpful.” – Doug Shaw


Northumbria Probation Trust (NPT)

About the organisation

NPT’s mission statement is to protect the public from harm, reduce reoffending, support victims and rehabilitate offenders. Its 580 staff supervise approximately 7,000 offenders who are serving community sentences or who have been released from prison on licence.

The challenge

With a greater focus in the public sector on quality outcomes, reduction in crime and competition for delivery, NPT felt a transformation in its organisational culture was essential for its ongoing success. Staff worked effectively, but needed to develop more of an outward focus and respond to a more competitive and challenging environment.

What the organisation did

  • Launched the “Progress Through People” employee engagement programme, the name chosen by staff.
  • Conducted staff survey to gain benchmark of where the organisation stood compared with others; ranked in top 10 of 242 similar organisations.
  • Sent series of updates on actions followed through, and was honest about areas not acted upon; staff can also send a “Tell Nick” email directly to the CEO.
  • Introduced a programme for aspiring managers and bi-monthly leadership development forum, plus development plan for administrative staff.
  • Upskilled Probation Service Office workforce by offering NVQ level 3 qualification.
  • Introduced flexible benefits package titled “My Choice”.
  • Remodeled relationship with trade unions.

Benefits and achievements

  • Achieved “excellent” rating in HM Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) report, making NPT the highest-scoring trust in the country for quality of service.
  • Only trust in the UK to achieve “excellent” rating three years in a row.
  • HMIP report noted that 92% of employees were positive about the culture of the organisation, while 90% felt that the trust took active steps to equip them with the skills/knowledge for their role.
  • The 2013 employee engagement survey shows significant increases in almost every key engagement indicator.
  • No employee grievances recorded since November 2011; no recorded disputes with trade unions since commenced programme.
  • Re-offending rate is 7.7% lower than rate predicted by central government based on make-up of NPT’s offending population.

Judge’s comments

“A well-articulated business challenge. Comprehensive and well-led solutions.” – Wendy Cartwright


IHG

About the organisation

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a multinational hotel company operating several well-known hotel brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. It runs more than 4,600 hotels across 100 countries.

The challenge

In June 2009, IHG was selected as the official hotel provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, via its Holiday Inn brand. Colleagues would be responsible for hosting more than 15,000 Olympic and 4,000 Paralympic athletes. IHG needed to ensure engagement was high to deliver the best possible service, although London is only a small proportion of overall business.

What the organisation did

  • Seconded more than 90 staff to essential roles in the Olympic athletes’ village and in the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Launched competition to design a London 2012 keycard for athletes and other Holiday Inn hotels in the UK.
  • Held London 2012 masterclasses for more than 2,000 people in eight countries.
  • Seventy-two of most inspirational staff were chosen to run in the Olympic torch relay around the UK.
  • Then-director of sport for Team GB, Sir Clive Woodward, and former athlete Ed Moses addressed leadership and management conferences.
  • Series of Olympic secondments lasting between four weeks and two years.

Benefits and achievements

  • Levels of awareness of IHG’s Olympic sponsorship rose from 49% in November 2010 to 81% in April 2012.
  • Ninety-two per cent of staff said they felt prouder to work for IHG because of the association with the Games.
  • Achieved 10% more revenue than original target.
  • More than 65% of guests said they would stay with Holiday Inn again.
  • Employee engagement score up 20% compared with last year’s, now standing at 81% – above industry benchmarks.

Judge’s comments

“Solution has a broad reach and used the 2012 Olympic theme well.” – Doug Shaw


Essex County Council

About the organisation

Essex County Council is one of the largest local authorities in the UK, looking after around 1.4 million residents. It is a non-metropolitan county council, meaning that responsibilities are shared between districts and in many areas also between civil parish councils.

The challenge

Despite a difficult public-sector climate of cost-cutting and pay freezes, Essex County Council wanted to improve its employee engagement to upper quartile levels and position itself as an employer of choice, recognised nationally. It established a mantra of “talk, listen, connect, engage” and a series of activities under its “Your Voice” initiative.

What the organisation did

  • Designed and delivered Your Voice engagement day: 48 separate but simultaneous conversations hosted by senior leaders – all done on zero budget.
  • Created an Our Voice forum, a group of engagement ambassadors from all service areas, sponsored by the council’s deputy chief executive.
  • Created informal “Essex Engagers” network, which now involves 500 employees.
  • Ran focus groups to encourage staff to produce action plans at local level.
  • Moved delivery of annual staff awards to engagement team, resulting in 25% increase in nominations.
  • Developed a council employee panel, which helps to shape policies and projects.
  • Sessions for managers to help them understand their role in engagement.

Benefits and achievements

  • Higher response rate to engagement survey: 77% in 2012, compared with 66% in 2011 and 62% in 2010.
  • Employee engagement index up by 3% overall, with many teams exceeding 80%.
  • Launched council’s new values based on active consultation with more than 800 staff.
  • Eighty-two per cent of staff feel their employer communicates effectively with them.
  • Seventy per cent felt the organisation would take action after their feedback at Your Voice engagement day sessions.

Judge’s comments

“A dramatic change in employee participation from a small, innovative team.” – Rob Moss

Comments are closed.