British Telecom

Shortlisted team for PWA Award for HR Excellence through Technology : Personnel Today Awards 2000


 In its business strategy for 1999-2000, BT made a clear commitment to pushing an e-business philosophy throughout its organisation. Every division was challenged to increase on-line transactions and the amount of internal administration work conducted over the intranet.

For the HR department, this was an opportunity to further its strategic intent of devolving processes to individuals and managers and to concentrate its own work on supporting business managers in the delivery of people and organisational strategies. The process for the HR department had an additional importance since functions and information provided by this system would have clear beneficial knock-on effects for other departments.

The scope of the eHR initiative was wide. Here was a system which, once implemented, would create and hold employee profiles covering information such as personal details, competencies and skills, mobility and performance. The system would hold information for recruitment and succession planning, and individuals would have the ability to update their own personal records. Managers could access “data cubes” of information on their teams to plan and develop their work. Booking training events and submitting appraisals was also facilitated on-line.

With BT HR UK in charge of policy and strategy for the system, additional team leaders were appointed to oversee the design and implementation in each area of the initiative – training, pensions, graduate recruitment and so on. While this approach ensured each area received the appropriate level of attention, it was complemented by a desire for cross-team collaboration on issues such as delivery, system security and consistency of approach.

The team worked together closely, even using e-technology to communicate and share ideas. Focus groups were organised with various internal customers to ensure their needs were met and that roll-out could be achieved efficiently and with the minimum of disruption. The initiative had the aim of creating a system where all transactions could be carried out with the maximum of three clicks of the mouse.

Peoplesoft’s HRMS holds data on all 130,000 BT employees and underpins eHR’s transactional services. The system is fully integrated with BT’s other major business systems – finance, store management and even BT Fleet exist alongside eHR. This approach ensures commonality of people information and helps to minimise manual input.

The final system is not “standalone” but central to the core business of BT. One early result for the new system has been the speeding up of the recruitment process for the 1999-2000 graduate milkround. eHR sifted more than 5,000 applications and was able to move from receipt of application form to offer letter in only 72 hours.


Company fact file

Team eHR Initiative, BT UK HR, BT

Team leader Jayne Gymer

Number in HR team Eight people on project delivery, plus others on design and implementation as required

Number of employees responsible for 130,000

Main achievements eHR will deliver cost benefits in excess of £6m year-on-year. The HR system is acknowledged as the legitimate and master source of people data for the company. Delivery of eHR has enabled other e-services to be delivered, for example the provision of pay slips on-line

Priorities for next 12 months To bring further applications on-line and allow customer feedback to improve the service

Judge’s Comment “BT has steadily evolved its HR intranet over a number of years, with strong integration with its HR back office databases. I was particularly impressed with the on-line graduate recruitment module. This combined the Internet for the applicants with a database and intranet for the processing of applications. This is a genuine example of a very close-to-paperless recruitment system, benefiting both applicants and BT managers”


Sponsor profile

PWA, a Great Plains company, is the leading UK specialist in HR and payroll software solutions. PWA is committed to providing its customers with the best service and support available on the market and creating solutions that put technology to work, so that people can fulfil their true potential.

Founded in 1987, the company has grown at an average rate of 40 per cent with an annual turnover in excess of £10m. With best-of-breed solutions, acclaimed implementation and dedicated customer support services, PWA’s client base includes such organisations as Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony UK and Warburtons

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