Microsoft Business Solutions Award for Excellence in HR through Technology

This award recognises the effective use of technology by HR teams to bring
about business benefits.  The judge
looked at changes that have been implemented, why they were necessary and how
technology has facilitated this.

Category judge

Norman McQueen, director of talent
management,, started his career with the Royal Bank of Scotland
in 1976, before moving to Nationwide Building Society as branch manager, then
business development, management trainer, area training manager, national
business development manager and area manager (operations). McQueen left
Nationwide to join Frizzell Financial Services and then moved to Sedgwick as
group management training and development manager. After seven years, he went
to training consultant Results International for two years, before joining
Freeserve in November 2001.

Liverpool Direct LTD

The team

No. in HR team 110
Staff responsible for  22,000

Colette Hannay, Head of HR payroll
Heather Shaw, Resourcing officer
Liz Taylor, HR and programme manager
Mike McGurk, Payroll operations manager
John Skiming, Payroll and pensions manager
Keith Bennett, Employment relations manager

Human Resource and Payroll Service

About the company

Liverpool Direct is a joint venture between Liverpool City
Council and BT, responsible for managing and delivering Liverpool City
Council’s information, communications and technology-based services, and
provides citizens with a single point of contact for all their concerns and

The challenge

The council’s HR function had a history of high costs, low
value for money and poor performance. Decentralised teams were to be bought together
into a single unit within a six-month period, to improve service and drive down

What the company did

– The HR and payroll service joined Liverpool Direct in
December 2001

– HR intranet site was launched in January 2002 to managers and
employees for them to interact with HR

– Integrated HR and payroll data allowed employees and managers
many self-service options

– Established a new service centre to deal with enquiries that
could not be dealt with via the intranet

Benefits and achievements

– Training on the new systems raised motivation

– Loss of more than 100 staff (around 50 per cent), resulting
in a cost saving of £2m

– HR and payroll’s reputation and portfolio of services has

– Overall cost as driven down, while quality was driven up and
is now ‘fit to purpose’

Norman McQueen says:
"What is impressive with this entry is its ability to bring together all
the decentralised teams into a single location within a six-month period and
improve, through technology, its service to customers while driving down costs.
The measurable achievements have been made in support of the Council’s overall

New Look

The team

No. in HR team 25
Staff responsible for 10,000

Sue Lloyd, Logistics HR manager
Toni Stocker, Trainer assessor – logistics
Debbie Snook, Training adviser – logistics
Natalie Vaughan-Evans, Logistics HR officer
Sue Goodwin, Senior training adviser
Dave Putnam, Training co-ordinator – logistics

New Look Logistics HR

About the company

One of the fastest growing retailers in the UK, New Look sells
its own range of clothing through its 500 stores, and has an annual turnover of

The challenge

In 2001, absence levels, stability and staff turnover at New
Look were unacceptably high, with weekly recruitment days necessary

What the company did

– Created the competency-based pay and training programme
(CBPT) within its logistics unit

– The CBPT allowed HR to measure productivity and attendance,
and then set different pay rates for different members of staff

– Took time to get staff buy-in and overcome union disagreements

Benefits and achievements

– Saving of £2.9m, £600,000 of which was reinvested in better
pay rates

– A recent staff survey shows people are ‘extremely satisfied’
in their work and environment

– The company now receives more CVs than it has vacancies

– Increased productivity

– Reduced absence

Norman McQueen says: "One
of the key strengths of the New Look entry is that it covered a whole range of
HR activities: pay, performance management, training and development, union
negotiations, absence levels and staff turnover. It has achieved a high
excellence in HR through a technological solution."


The team

No. in HR safety team 15
Staff responsible for fluctuates between 3,500 and 4,500

Caroline Saunders, ConTact project
Adrian Dutton, Analyst programmer
Jo Dawson, HR business adviser
Sandra Thres, Senior recruitment officer
Paul Hayward, Client operations manager

ConTact Project Team

About the company

CPM provides its clients with solutions to help them develop
closer relations with their customers through merchandising, field marketing
and telemarketing

The challenge

The old HR system was preventing the company advancing in the
way it believed it could. CPM needed to create an easy-to-use system that drew
together all strands of information held on its field employees

What the company did

– Developed a system, ConTact, to consolidate all HR data and

– Communicated clearly with all levels during development of
the system

– Employed a full-time project manager to keep the project on

Benefits and achievements

– Saves business £300,000 a year

– System is so simple new starters can become effective using
it within hours

– Allows departmental managers to take responsibility for
day-to-day HR

– Increased communication between teams

McQueen says:
"CPM’s entry has been shortlisted as it has achieved its
vision of excelling in HR, which contributes to the success of CPM. It has
enhanced HR by developing ConTact, which integrated all forms of data for
personnel previously held across the business, reducing unnecessary rework,
improving efficiency and saving the business money."

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