Personnel Today Awards 2001 update

Short listed teams for The Frazer Jones Award for Innovation in recruitment
and retention

This award is designed to recognise
innovative approaches in selection, recruitment and retention of employees. The
judge has looked for HR teams that have adopted a clear approach to selecting
employees and developing, motivating and retaining them in line with strategic

North Wales Police
Staff development department

What they did

In May 2000, North Wales Police (NWP) 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 of which the first pages to be developed will be

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.

The team

Number in team 7 (plus 80 from the Employment Service)
Staff responsible for 1,500 plus 500 support staff
Chief inspector Terry Stanton with Police team inspector Ray
Hughes, sergeant Arwel Hughes, sergeant Jo Williams and sergeant
Kathryn Jones; recruiting officer Debbie French; and Employment Service
team Debbie Rodgers and Edith Fordsham

West Bromwich Building Society
People development division

What they did

West Bromwich Building Society 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.
Advertising campaigns have been created to appeal to diverse parts of the local
community. The society trained all managers in competency-based behavioural
interviewing techniques, ensuring recruitment and selection throughout the
organisation is both objective and linked to key skills. On the retention side,
staff are encouraged to engage in professional and vocational training while
internal development programmes identify high performing staff and ensure they
work towards significant career goals.

Why they did it

The people development division has long recognised that people
are the greatest asset to the company and the recruitment and retention of such
people is crucial to the society remaining competitive. At the same time, the
recruitment and retention initiatives offered an opportunity for the organisation
to reflect its place in the community and its role as a mutual organisation.

The initiative also keys into the current demands of working
within the banking sector: "Business is changing so fast that one person’s
job may turn into something entirely different within six months," says
general manager of people development Paul Turner, "What we’re trying to
do is attract people to the concept of working for West Bromwich rather than
working in a specific job."

Benefits and achievements

Effective measurements have shown improvements in many areas of
recruitment, with the overall People Strategy delivering a cost benefit of
£1.25m for a spend of £800,000. Advertising costs have been cut from an average
of £2,000 per hire to £300, together with an estimated saving of £4,000 in
other recruitment costs. Turner is particularly proud that currently 14 per
cent of employees are from ethnic minorities compared with 8-9 per cent two
years ago.

The team

Number in team 9
Staff responsible for 720
People support officer Julie Malpas
Recruitment and diversity officer Eve Matthews
General manager of people development Paul Turner

Happy Computers
Happy Computers HR team

What they did

Recruitment and retention has been a prime focus for innovative
practice at Happy Computers. It now uses the Internet to source people for all
IT-related jobs offering applicants the opportunity to download job
descriptions and complete online application forms. Throughout the process,
attitude and the potential to do a job is prioritised above formal
qualifications and even experience.

The company actively encourages staff to find their preferred
work-life balance and supports flexible working. There is a
"no-blame" culture allowing staff to learn from their mistakes while
a 360 degree appraisal scheme and extensive training programme ensures every
employee is aware of their position and direction in the company. Employees are
also given the opportunity to work fully paid one day a month for a charity of
their choice.

Why they did it

Many of these practices have been in operation in the past four
to five years, but as the company has grown – doubling in size over the past 15
months – there has been a need to formalise policy to ensure every employee
receives the same opportunities. "We needed to ensure everyone had
equality, whether they were working full time or part time," explains HR
director Cathy Callus, "As we grew as a company we became more diverse and
we needed to respond in increasingly flexible ways.

Benefits and achievements

Happy Computers has grown by 38 per cent at a time when the IT
industry grew by only 3 per cent overall. Its range of recruitment and
retention techniques, unique for a company of this size, has contributed to a
staff turnover of only 2.5 per cent for 2000. The company has never lost a
trainer to a competitor and the only person to leave in the past year did so in
order to return home to South Africa. Once an employee has devised their own
work-life balance the onus is then on the company to prove that it will not
work rather than the employee proving it will. Callus claims the company has
yet to refuse an employee’s preferred working arrangements.

The team

Number in team 3
Staff responsible for 40
HR director Cathy Callus
Personnel manager Suzy Cornwell
Recruitment manager Debbie King

Judge’s comment

Vincent Tuckwood, manager HR,
resourcing, policy and innovation, Pfizer

North Wales Police

"NWP provided evidence of strength in every aspect of
judging, achieving a 200 per cent increase in application rates alongside cost
and efficiency savings."

West Bromwich Building Society

"WBBS showed measured performance against key performance
indicators. In its local market, there was a strong focus on diversity. The
submission scored highly on leadership, effective use of resources and HR
developing business outcomes."

Happy Computers

"The submission lived and breathed the company culture and
tied recruitment and retention together in a cohesive way. Results are
impressive with very low turnover in a difficult market."

Frazer Jones is a specialist
recruitment consultancy working exclusively within the HR market. It
consistently adopts the most progressive recruitment methods and invests them
with traditional values of honesty, commitment, professionalism and

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