North Wales Police wins award for innovation in recruitment and retention

Personnel
Today Awards 2001: The winner of the Frazer Jones award for innovation in
recruitment and retention was the staff development department from North Wales
Police. HR team leader: chief inspector Terry Stanton.

What
they did

In
May 2000, North Wales Police created a partnership with the Employment Service
with the aim of enhancing its recruitment techniques and delivering financial
savings through increased efficiency. The Employment Service provided expert
advice on the recruitment function and carried out recruitment processes such
as call handing for applicants, assembling and dispatching recruitment packs
and conducting a non-judgemental paper sift of all applicants. NWP formed a
partnership with Chwarae Teg (Fair Play) in order to target female recruits. As
with the Employment Service, Chwarae Teg advises on the design of campaign
material. NWP is also involved in creating an Internet site where the first pages
to be developed will be recruitment-focused.

Why
they did it

Before
the initiative, one advert for NWP was described by a potential recruit as
being akin to a "death notice". The recruitment team realised a new
strategy was needed which would inject more "buzz" into attracting
people. At the same time the force faced several recruitment challenges.

The
Crime Fighting Fund allocated a further 104 officers to the force over three
years, the Rurality Fund created the opportunity to take on another 15 officers
and a Home Office grant meant a further 19 officers would be required for a
specialist unit. At the same time NWP’s chief constable introduced a "no
vacancies" policy for the force, resulting in the need for 30 more
officers.

Benefits
and achievements

"The
initiative has increased the volume of applicants to the force while helping us
maintain the standard of people we’re looking for," says chief inspector
Terry Stanton of the staff development department. "It has also meant we
can target specific recruitment challenges to the force." A total of 961
application forms were received in 2000-2001 – an increase of over 100 per cent
on the previous year. At the same time, the force has identified efficiency
savings of more than £13,000, coped with an increased number of requests and
hit the 2000-2001 recruitment target of 110 officers.

Why
they won

"North
West Police faced a difficult recruitment challenge, namely a 100 per cent
increase in resource needs in a difficult market, beset by preconceptions and
negative publicity. In responding to this challenge the force provided evidence
of strength in every aspect of judging, achieving a 200 per cent increase in
application rates alongside cost and efficiency savings."

There
was also significant evidence of exploiting a strategic window regarding
minorities. Great evidence of seeing what has been taken for granted,
re-examining and innovating improvement."

Judge:
Vincent Tuckwood, manager HR, resourcing, policy
& innovation, Pfizer

Other
finalists

West
Bromwich Building Society
People development division

The
people development division devised a recruitment and retention policy which
promotes diversity in the workforce while linking directly with the company’s identity
as a local and mutual organisation. The society trained all managers in
competency-based behavioural interviewing techniques. The overall People
Strategy has delivered a cost benefit of £1.25m for a spend of £800,000.

Happy
Computers
Happy Computers HR team

Happy
Computers uses the Internet to source people for all IT-related jobs. Attitude
and the potential to do a job is prioritised above formal qualifications and
even experience. Staff are encouraged to find their preferred work-life
balance. There is a "no-blame" culture allowing staff to learn from
their mistakes and a 360 degree appraisal scheme. Employees can also work fully
paid one day a month for a charity of their choice.

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