Hammond Suddards Edge HR Manager of the Year Award

This award recognises an individual HR manager or director
who can demonstrate outstanding leadership. Entrants explained the contribution
the HR manager has made both to their own team and to the organisation as a
whole. The judge looked for  the
development of an effective HR team, and present evidence of their contribution
to the business

Category judge

Mike Haffenden is a director of the Careers Research Forum and a partner in
search and selection company Strategic Dimensions. He also acts as an HR
consultant and has previously held senior HR positions in Avon, Unilever,
Rowntree and Hewlett-Packard.

C&J Clark
Jill Youlds, head of retail HR, Clarks Shoes

About the company

Clarks Shoes is one of the world’s largest casual footwear retailers. In the
UK it operates 670 stores and employs more than 10,000 staff

The challenge

To develop and execute an HR strategy that fully supports the firm’s UK
retail strategy and trading plan

What the company did

– HR team encouraged to form close strategic ties with operations team to
help implement retail strategy

– HR policies given a central role in the company retail strategy

– People development made one of Clarks three key strategic goals by senior

– HR function given new roles, competencies and performance indicators

– HR performance management process made to dovetail with strategic planning

Benefits and achievements

– £40.9m operating profit to March 2002 – a 58 per cent increase. In his
global report the chief executive acknowledged that people strategy had
significantly contributed to this performance

– May 2002 employee survey: 91 per cent of employees described themselves as
satisfied with their jobs; 82 per cent are motivated

– Internal customer survey 2002: 95 per cent agreed that the retail HR team
makes an effective contribution to the retail business; 100 per cent agree that
training and development is innovative

– Survey of HR team 2002: 100 per cent were satisfied with leadership; 94
per cent felt strong loyalty towards their team

Mike Haffenden says:"C&J Clark has introduced a change management
programme based on analysis before action. It is conceptually sound, there is
evidence of HR results and of business results which come from the HR

The team

No. in team 37 in HR team; four in recruitment services

Staff responsible for 10,000 employees, 50 senior managers and directors

Aegon UK
Gareth Humphreys, group HR manager

About the company

Aegon UK is the subsidiary of the Dutch insurer Aegon NV. It was formed in
2000 and employs 4,500 staff

The challenge

To align centralised terms and conditions, policy and practice at a time
where Aegon UK has grown to consist of six companies, without damaging staff
relationships or relinquishing authority

What the company did

– Work-life balance policies introduced such as maternity and paternity
rights; introduced ‘Respect and Dignity’ at work policy and absence management

– Flexible benefits scheme that includes the opportunity to buy and sell
holidays, purchase vouchers for childcare and shopping and low-cost financial

– Appraisal system replaced by Human Resource Integrated Approach that uses
competencies as the framework for all resourcing, performance management and
staff development issues

– Training strategy given a business focus through blended and e-learning

– Occupational health given top priority within the company

Benefits and achievements

– Successful integration of new businesses with minimal fuss and disruption

– Won Flexible Benefits Scheme of the Year 2001 at the Pensions Scheme

– Awarded British Safety Council’s highest award (Sword of Honour)

– Average staff absence reduced from six days a year in 1998 to four days in

– Senior company in group (Scottish Equitable) listed in The Times Top 100
best UK companies

Mike Haffenden says:"Aegon is an example of personnel management done
well. It is providing a good, positive personnel management service which has
made a clear and demonstrable improvement to the business with evidence of
tangible contribution."

The team

No. in team 80

Staff responsible for 4,500

Costain Group
Stephen Hall, group HR director

About the company

Costain is an international engineering and construction group with more
than 130 years experience. It has been responsible for such large-scale
projects as the Thames Barrier, the Channel Tunnel and Hong Kong’s new airport

The challenge

To review the HR function and change it from a ‘tea and rations’ perception,
to a business partnering team which forms an essential part of the business
decision-making process

What the company did

– Aligned the HR function and the jobs within it to the business strategy

– People, best practice and profit made the three key aspects of the

– Bottom up communication rewarded and encouraged

– Global employee survey

– Succession planning and targeted recruitment of talent

– Performance reviews linked to pay

Benefits and achievements

– Increased staff training and competence

– Customer service skills given equal emphasis with technical ability

– Turnover projected to increase from £500m to £1bn by 2006

– Programme launched to recruit 400 new staff

– Major benchmarking exercise introduced to compare costs and performance with
similar businesses

Mike Haffenden says:"Costain Group has developed a thorough strategic
HR initiative that is well thought through and well presented. It is extremely
interesting with high energy and activity, and provides a significant
contribution to the business."

The team

No. in team 15

Staff responsible for 1,500

Hammond Suddards Edge has one of the country’s leading
employment teams dealing with all aspects of employment law. A department of
more than 65 dedicated lawyers operate its four UK offices in Manchester,
London, Leeds and Birmingham. It also offers clients a pan-European service
through offices in Paris, Brussels, Munich, Berlin, Milan, Rome and Turin.


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