Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Stephanie Greenland takes HR Newcomer of the Year Award

Stephanie Greenland from Sodexo receives the 2015 award for best HR newcomer
Stephanie Greenland from Sodexo receives the 2015 award for best HR newcomer

Stephanie Greenland was awarded the HR Newcomer of the year award, sponsored by Michael Page Human Resources, at the 2015 Personnel Today Awards ceremony on Monday night. Here we profile her winning entry, and those of the runners-up.

Michael Page HR / Page Personnel HR

WINNER

Stephanie Greenland, Sodexo

About the organisation

Sodexo UK and Ireland employs 34,000 people and delivers services that improve the quality of life to clients at 2,000 locations in the corporate, healthcare, education, leisure, justice and defence sectors. With an annual turnover of more than £1 billion, Sodexo delivers a range of services from catering, cleaning and reception, to asset management, security, laboratory and grounds maintenance services.

The challenge

Sodexo’s strategic goals include being a leading competitor in the sectors in which it operates, improving operating margins by 1.5% and achieving a 50% employee engagement rate by 2015. Having employees working on around 2,000 client sites over a wide geographical area creates significant communications and engagement challenges.
Over the last five years, the company has grown and diversified substantially, creating a need for more collaborative and business-centred HR support services that could evolve and add value to the way in which HR serves the business.

What Stephanie did

  • Sodexo launched a HR transformation programme. Stephanie joined the team to implement this programme in 2012 as organisational development project manager, after previously being a key member of the change team.
  • Stephanie’s remit was to support the creation of a new function within the Sodexo business that would provide HR services to 34,000 employees, of which 2,418 are managers, in addition to the field-based HR team made up of seven HR directors, 59 HR business partners, five learning and development partners, seven resourcing partners and reward and pensions specialists.
  • This new function, known as the “PeopleCentre”, was launched in 2013 and works across: employee lifecycle (including first-line queries); employee relations and policy (including TUPE support); HR systems and reporting; resourcing and compliance; learning and development; reward; and pensions.
  • Stephanie’s role in the HR transformation programme included the design of the new organisation structure, analysis of HR activity and also a workstream of people consultation.
  • Stephanie worked with HR analytics colleagues to develop a completely new approach to capture people-related metrics.
  • She carried out external research to ensure best practice was incorporated and gathered internal stakeholder views.
  • HR business partners now have a monthly view of key information to work with their business teams in driving the effectiveness of the workforce.

Benefits and achievements

  • The transformation programme was delivered successfully in 2013 and a year later, Stephanie led a review of the effectiveness of the programme.
  • Through capturing the voice of stakeholders and colleagues (many of whom were still adjusting to new roles), Stephanie produced a set of recommendations that have further enhanced the successes the programme she helped deliver.
  • The development of a booklet about the PeopleCentre team that clarified the functions carried out by different HR roles to help managers understand where to raise their questions received positive feedback.
  • Two years on from the launch of the PeopleCentre, there are now 58 employees working in the team that has carried out 152,000 service requests and 186 TUPE projects (with 7,682 employees having been supported in these projects).
  • The PeopleCentre has delivered a saving to the Sodexo UK & Ireland business of more than £2 million and in the last year the team has reduced the time it takes to resolve queries by 17%, coupled with a 21% improvement in customer satisfaction.
  • The organisational model designed and implemented by Stephanie is now being used as the model for HR teams in other Sodexo regions including America and Canada.
  • Stephanie has taken on a broad range of HR activities in the UK & Ireland as well as globally, supporting the delivery of the global knowledge sharing and learning programme for a large-scale transformation programme.
  • She has also undertaken a review of how the Republic of Ireland operation could be better served by the HR function.

Judges’ comments

“Stephanie is hardworking with high standards and attention to detail, as well as the ability to ‘join the dots’ in very complex activities and pragmatically deliver what the customer both internally and externally needs.”


RUNNERS UP

Samina Amin, BBC*

About the organisation

The BBC is the world’s leading public-service broadcaster. Established by a Royal Charter, it is a public-service broadcaster funded by the licence fee paid by UK households. It uses the income from the licence fee to provide services including 10 national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations and an extensive website.

The challenge

Samina (Sam) has been specifically nominated for this award not only for providing outstanding customer service and improving engagement, but for doing this alongside her professional development work and passion for HR.

What Samina did

Our judges

Bruce Warman, Centre for Economic and Business Research

Vance Kearney, Oracle

  • Sam’s key strengths are around relationship building, knowledge transfer and engagement.
  • She began studying for her CIPD Level 3 Diploma in September 2014 and regularly attended related events to broaden her HR knowledge, and shares this with the teams she works with.
  • Sam’s role on the Birmingham CIPD committee means that she plays an active part in trying to increase student engagement.
  • She is planning to create an engagement survey for current and former students, and to share her findings within the wider HR community.
  • Sam encourages others in her team to take part in professional development activities and sits with them to transfer knowledge and ideas she picks up at learning events.

Benefits and achievements

  • Played a crucial role in rolling out a shared services transformation programme, supporting more than 30,000 employees.
  • A strong educational background led her to obtain both an undergraduate and master’s degree.
  • Sam was nominated to sit on the Birmingham CIPD committee for her brilliant ideas and work around student engagement.
  • She has had a positive impact on the people she works with, with one service user saying that: “[I would like to commend] Sam for the quality of the advice and support she has provided me. She answered my query and correctly referred me to her colleague for further support.”

Judges’ comments

“[Samina] has a true passion for HR, people and a genuine interest in making the service a success. She has particular strengths in relationship building, knowledge transfer and engagement.”

*at the time of entry, Samina worked for Serco.


Melanie Aston, Merlin

About the organisation

Merlin Entertainments is the largest entertainments company operating in Europe. It runs 110 attractions in 23 countries across four continents.

The challenge

Merlin has grown rapidly since Melanie (Mel) joined, from 77 attractions to over 100 in 23 countries. Mel joined the newly created Group Talent & Development team with the challenge to design and implement structured development programmes linked to Merlin’s competencies that were professional and consistent across the group. It also launched its diversity strategy in 2012 with clear outcomes and objectives. Although initially headed up by our Group HR Director, Mel took the lead in June 2014 as it became clear that more time and focus was needed.

What Melanie did

  • With no previous HR experience, Mel worked closely with the team, designing a calendar of development programmes to meet business requirements.
  • Mel took control of the coordination of those programmes and implemented a consistent framework and process for managing them (including managing applications; programme logistics; and communication with delegates).
  • In 2014, she organised a celebration where participants presented their experiences and learnings to members of the executive committee, raising the profile of the programme and resulting in more placements in 2015.
  • Helped to roll out the Merlin Employee Exchange Programme (MEEP), an initiative to support future talent.
  • Mel worked closely with the group HR director and executive diversity champions to lead the diversity agenda and organised the global launch of “Women@Merlin” programme.
  • She outlined the business case for “improving our diversity”, and engaged senior leaders about the strategy, promoting its importance and obtaining support in reaching targets.
  • Mel has organised support and development to women across Merlin enabling them to grow into senior leadership positions, and ensuring that they are being selected from the widest pool of talent available – the “Women’s 1st Step up Programme” is one example of this.

Benefits and achievements

  • Ensuring that programmes have been delivered locally but remained consistent has greatly contributed to the success of the programmes and enabled 494 delegates to develop in the last three years.
  • Regionalising delivery of the programmes has been a key benefit due to the extensive growth of the organisation and where it has become less feasible for delegates to travel to the UK for training.
  • Since launching the diversity strategy and creating the Women@Merlin Programme, Merlin now has 37% more women in senior leadership roles.
  • By providing focus and clarity on a global scale, Mel has ensured that diversity is a priority across Merlin. This led to Merlin being recognised as the “best large Company” at the Women’s 1st “Shine Awards” in 2014.
  • Jason Mumford, L&D Manager at Alton Towers Resort, said: “MEEP has had phenomenal success across Merlin and supports our overall Succession Planning which is one of our key growth drivers. The programme is growing momentum each day with overwhelming excitement; Mel’s been the driving force behind the initiative.”

Judges’ comments

“Mel’s approachable and professional manner enabled her to build strong relationships with the HR community and external suppliers, which greatly contributed to the success of the training programs.”


Maxine Eddleston, Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

About the organisation

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (DBH) is a successful and growing organisation with big ambitions. It is responsible for three local hospitals and wider community services for a local population of around 420,000 people and its 6,500 employees range from highly specialist clinical staff to administrators and vital support teams.

The challenge

The trust recognised that it had issues with: high executive turnover, leaving a lack of direction and purpose; operational silos when providing patient care; and inefficient, mainly paper-based, systems. Once a new executive team was put in place in 2013, it identified where root and branch reforms of process and behaviour were needed. At the same time, HR made structural changes, disbanding their own silos from a former medical staffing team, to an integrated HR function dealing with all people matters irrespective of banding or profession.

What Maxine did

  • The executive team decided to drive a radical trust restructure programme in 2014, tackling our organisational silo problem and providing better focus to more appropriate patient pathways.
  • Following consultation with staff in the organisation and our key partners, it embarked on the restructuring exercise to transform 16 clinical service units to six care groups, focused around effective patient pathways.
  • To reinforce the new structure and confirm our commitment to learning and improvement, the trust launched a comprehensive development programme for all line managers – the DBH Management Skills Programme.
  • Maxine had joined DBH as an apprentice less than six months earlier but had made an immediate impression by demonstrating excellent organisational skills and an exceptional flair for customer service.
  • Maxine was identified as a core team member in spite of her limited exposure to HR.
  • She organised and supported a number of senior recruitment and selection exercises, dealing with confidential and sensitive data with care and discretion.
  • Maxine was at the centre of this change, offering practical and common sense advice.

Benefits and achievements

  • From various forms of anecdotal feedback and our results of the Trust’s 2014 staff survey, which have held up very well, there has been improvement in many areas, especially given this massive organisational change.
  • Maxine’s contribution underpinned the entire restructure; she delivered excellent customer service to the executive team whilst also pursuing her NVQ training.
  • She has subsequently begun her CIPD qualifications and, in recognition of this achievement, was named Learner of the Year at the DBH Awards in 2014.
  • Maxine continues to develop and thrive as an integral part of the HR change team.

Judges’ comments

“Maxine organised and supported a number of senior recruitment and selection exercises, dealing with confidential and sensitive data with care and discretion.”


Kathryn Grant, Cafcass

About the organisation

Cafcass was set up under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act, which brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Children’s Division of the Official Solicitor’s Office. It is a non-departmental public body and works within the strategic objectives agreed by its sponsor department and contributes to wider government objectives relating to children. It is the largest employer of social workers in England.

The challenge

Social workers face day-to-day challenges and demands, and it can be a difficult task for HR professionals to have the confidence to enable staff to talk freely and openly to them, while at the same time representing the organisation’s interests. New lifestyle wellbeing sessions were being perceived as a “fad”, so Kathryn had to find a way to overcome this.

What Kathryn did

  • Her first six months in the HR service were focused on supporting staff health and wellbeing, quickly becoming a pivotal member of the team.
  • Kathryn led on the procurement of training providers to deliver lifestyle wellbeing seminars on topics such as sleep, nutrition, mind management, exercise, resilience etc to Cafcass staff.
  • She recognised a success factor would be to overcome any perceptions the sessions were a fad. She therefore appointed providers with a scientific and sports background, including former Olympians, which has ultimately provided the credibility for the sessions.
  • Kathryn worked with health and wellbeing experts Robertson Cooper on rolling out wellbeing/resilience surveys across Cafcass. This included delivering follow-up group development sessions based on the results.
  • She organised a national charity bike ride to enhance social support networks in the organisation – the first event of its kind for Cafcass. Kathryn was proactive in sourcing sponsorship for the event, acquiring low cost insurance to remove any potential liability, and encouraging staff to take part.
  • Developed a resource pack for staff for National Stress Awareness Day. This supported work already achieved in this area and provided further resources for managers on how they can better support staff resilience.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 300 staff attended at least 1 of the 27 sessions Kathryn organised between December 2014 and April 2015.
  • Feedback was uniformly positive from staff: 84% of staff found the sessions useful; 75% rated the sessions as 8/10 or better; and 90% would recommend the session to others.
  • Almost 10% of the organisation (160 staff) took part in the cycle race, raising more than £6,500 for Children in Need, and cycling a total of 3,600 miles.
  • Stress-related sickness absence amongst social workers has fallen 58.5% from 2009/10 to 2013/14, adding 4,540 working days to Cafcass.
  • Kathryn’s effective advice and support saw her secure a promotion within one year of the two-year programme.
  • Early feedback from managers and staff is positive, and in Kathryn HR has found a dedicated, engaged and personable member of the profession who is able to make immediate impact wherever she goes.

Judges’ comments

“Kathryn has the ability to understand the pressures of front-line service delivery, yet remain positive and energised. She is calm and tactful and able to build rapport with people. She is truly passionate about what she does and shows great enthusiasm and positivity.”



Glyn Morgan, Wales Audit Office

About the organisation

Wales Audit Office (WAO) works to support the Auditor General as the public-sector watchdog for Wales. Its aim is to ensure that the people of Wales know whether or not public money is being managed wisely and that public bodies in Wales understand how to improve outcomes.

The challenge

Long-standing issues with existing systems and processes identified in a number of staff surveys were hampering the Wales Audit Office’s ability to reach its full potential as a well-run organisation. Solving these issues meant a complete systems change, introducing a brand new way of working. This project was unprecedented in its scale and had to be done to a very tight timescale of 12 months from start to completion. With a disparate and mobile workforce of around 260 people scattered across the length and breadth of Wales, implementation was a challenge.

What Glyn did

  • In February 2014, the Wales Audit Office embarked on an ambitious culture change programme to improve its approach to managing people, performance, Learning and Development (L&D), and recruitment.
  • The solution was a wholesale implementation of a new HR system with four key elements:
    • People/absence management – an online self-service portal for line managers to check and update absence records for their team and for individuals to view their own absences and book annual leave.
    • L&D – provide a complete L&D service from booking to evaluation with learning needs captured through the performance management scheme.
    • Performance appraisal – an online portal where managers can set objectives for staff and individuals can search internal courses, book places and provide learning evaluations.
    • E recruitment – an online facility for posting job adverts and where recruits can apply directly for jobs.
  • Glyn’s natural aptitude meant he quickly assimilated an impressive knowledge of the system allowing him to work across all four projects concurrently, in an innovative and creative manner, with minimal consultancy or management support.
  • He developed the system security and workflows and supported the implementation programme with detailed user guides and presentations, workshops and running focus groups.
  • Glyn helped shape the solution, challenging some of the suggested approaches by the MidlandHR consultants.
  • His excellent planning, organisational and technical skills ensured that project time frames were always met, and he was instrumental in delivering the project ahead of schedule.

Benefits and achievements

  • Achieved a cost saving of £11,441 due to reduced consultancy time.
  • The new system is allowing managers to have greater access to timely employee information, empowering them to actively manage their teams.
  • Alongside this, the HR function has a system where all elements of the employee lifecycle are managed, providing efficiencies in administration time, allowing the team to focus on value added activities.
  • Glyn demonstrated:
    • excellent verbal and written communication skills, flexing his style to the audience, which included attending staff meetings throughout Wales, delivering training on 1-2-1 basis with all levels of staff and developing user guides;
    • excellent project management, including weekly project meeting with MidlandHR;
    • excellent team working and motivational skills; and
    • strong influencing skills coupled with a clear commitment to the strategic vision of the WAO.
  • Glyn’s commitment to both the project team and the HR service is commendable and he is about to start his CIPD training.

Judges’ comments

“Glyn was a critical member of the implementation team with particular skills in system development, but he also demonstrated excellent communication skills, capability in project management, an effective approach to team working and motivation and strong influencing skills. He made the project a success.”

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