Microsoft Great Plains Award for Excellence in HR through Technology

award recognises the effective use of technology by an HR team to bring about
business benefits. Entrants explained what changes had been implemented, why
the changes were necessary and how the technology facilitated this. They showed
how technology was used to achieve strategic aims.

Category judge

Rob Briggs is a senior manager at
University for Lloyds TSB. He joined Lloyds Bank’s HR function as the training
manager for international operations in 1992. After various roles, he is now a
senior manager at Lloyd’s corporate university. He, together with the team at
Lloyd’s Centre for Career Management, won two Personnel Today awards in 2001

University of Bristol
Personnel Services team

About the company

The University was founded in 1876 as University College,
Bristol. It organises its academic affairs in 60 departments and 15 research
centres arranged over six faculties

The challenge

To design a system that allowed Higher Education institutions
to access the views of contract research staff (CRS) – the people in charge of
university research. Most universities consider the production of top-quality
research a key strategic aim and the market for the best minds is getting

What the company did

– Developed the software needed for the surveys

– Designed a set of base questions

– Surveyed the views of its 900 CRS

– Rolled out the scheme to other institutions

– Established a benchmarking club

Benefits and achievements

– Allows institutions to deliver a survey to CRS

– Effectively gather and analyse results

– Compare and benchmark with other institutions

– Make improvements based on results

– Improve HR strategy

Rob Briggs says: "An
excellent use of web based staff surveys to influence HR strategy and enable
participating universities to benchmark their results with other universities.
The potential to develop HR strategy is significantly increased by real ‘live’
data evaluating the impact of HR policies in practice. This initiative would be
further enhanced by a description of the actions or changes to HR policies that
have been instigated as result of the analysis of the information from the
staff surveys."

The team

No. in HR team 35
Staff responsible for 5,000

Chris Maslin Personnel director
Christian Carter Personnel officer
Peter Walker Internet development manager (CROS project manager)
Simon Price Senior software developer
Ian Sealy Senior technical researcher
Ben Joyner Graphic/web design specialist

HR improvement team

About the company

Astrium designs and builds satellites and associated ground
equipment in France, Germany, Spain and the UK

The challenge

To introduce a new employee handbook solely in electronic form
that would allow more effective business operation by establishing consistent
HR polices and processes

What the company did

– Developed a new employee handbook

– Explained via staff computers why a new handbook was needed

– Delivered the handbook to all employees via computers

– Updated the HR department guide to processes

Benefits and achievements

– More clarity and consistency in the handbook

– The ability to benchmark employment provisions against other

– Employees now have more information

– Reflects the drive to be ’employer of choice’

– Brought all HR policies in line

Rob Briggs says: "An
excellent use of web technology to provide a real solution to consistency and
clarity of HR policies across an organisation. The design of the employee
handbook is particularly impressive, with a strong emphasis on usability. The
marketing and training material are equally as good."

The team

No. in team 27
Staff responsible for 2,700 (UK)

Jenny Cridland HR director
Peter Smith HR manager/team leader
Grainna Tully HR adviser process improvements
Stefan Knirsch IT development
David Derby IT development
Glyn Jackson IT development
Peter Brotzer IT development

HR systems & portal team

About the company

Egg is an internet banking and e-commerce company created by
Prudential, the UK-based financial services company. Launched in October 1998,
it already has nearly 2 million customers and in June 2000 was listed on the
London Stock Exchange

The challenge

To establish an online HR portal and transform the way HR
operated at Egg. As the company grew rapidly, HR processes had evolved, but
needed to be changed to properly support the business

What the company did

Built a system that eliminated the time and cost of a third
party handling HR’s paperwork

– Allowed staff to enter expenses claims online

– Put payslips online

Benefits and achievements

– HR’s time was freed up – giving them more time to add
strategic value to the business

– Cut HR administration costs by 50 per cent

– Can now better spot sickness absence and attrition and
intervene to counteract the problem

Rob Briggs says: "Egg has
delivered what many companies are striving to do – deliver e-HR and what makes
this entry particularly impressive is the short time-scale taken to achieve
this. This initiative is clearly focused on freeing HR’s resource from routine
administration to more strategic HR interventions with the business. The range
of application on Egg’s HR web portal is very impressive and clearly cost
savings have been made. There is also significant acceptance from the business,
which is a huge change agenda for the HR function to manage. An excellent

The team

No. in team 6 in project, 25 in HR
Staff responsible for 2,000

Caroline Black Head of HR systems
Stephen Shaw Technical consultant
Raichel Phipps Functional consultant
Gillian Taylor Functional consultant
Sally Thompson Functional consultant
Deborah May Functional consultant

The sponsors

Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions is the leading UK specialist in HR
and payroll software solutions. The company 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.

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