Personnel Today Awards 2004

Award for HR director of the year

The award

award is for an individual HR director who can demonstrate outstanding
leadership. The judge is looking for the contribution the HR director has made
both to their own team and to the organisation as a

Category judge: Beverley Shears, South
West Trains

West Trains is the largest and busiest commuter train operating company in the UK.
Shears joined South West Trains five years ago and in that time she has put in
place a cohesive and coherent people strategy, delivering improved business
performance and customer service in an extremely challenging environment.
Shears is a board member and deputy managing director. In 2003, she won the
Personnel Today HR Director of the Year award, where South West Trains was up
against some of the top companies in British Industry.

Award sponsor: Hammonds

is one of the largest and most respected employment law teams in Europe.
It has a strong presence in the key UK
commercial locations of London,
Leeds and Birmingham,
complemented by a network of international offices including Brussels,
Berlin, Madrid,
and Hong Kong, as well as a joint
venture in Russia.

The finalists

Mike Taylor, HR director, HP

in team: 80

in HR function: 80

of employees HR is responsible for: 7,000

About the organisation

provides a wide range of technology to consumers, businesses and institutions –
including personal computers, IT infrastructures and printers. It employs more
than 140,000 people in 178 countries.

The challenge

was appointed in June 2002 following the merger of HP and Compaq – the
largest-ever in the technology sector. This saw a huge cultural change that
needed to be managed. The company is also committed to growth and managing

What the hr director did

portal ‘@hp’ was developed to harmonise HR policies
and terms and conditions. This has evolved into a single point of contact,
‘Contact HR’, for employees across the whole organisation. Taylor
was keen to use technology to achieve time and cost savings.

Benefits and achievements

All the goals set out at the time of the merger were achieved ahead of schedule.

Better communication between staff and the HR department.

Greater efficiency within the HR team has allowed more time for strategic

  HR now makes a significant contribution to
the success of the business. Cost cuts have had a direct effect on the bottom

Beverley Shears says: “Mike has
demonstrated real leadership during a time of major cultural change after the
merger of HP and Compaq. Mike’s use of technology to ease transition was well
handled. HRs contribution
to the business is outstanding and clearly recognised
within HP.”

Helen Giles, HR director, Broadway

in team: 7

in HR function: 7

of employees HR is responsible for: 196

About the organisation

is a homelessness charity operating across London.

The challenge

  To integrate the people management styles of
two charities, Riverpoint
and Housing Services Agency, within two years.

  Create a high-performance culture to support
the clear objectives and goals of the organisation.

  Build a well-respected and high-achieving HR
team that will add value to the business.

What the HR director did

Employed a new HR manager and training and development manager.

Won organisational commitment to a range of practices, including annual 360 feedback on all staff, and a new
trainee scheme, which has eliminated the negative effects of a major
recruitment crisis within the sector. Also
implemented a new diversity strategy.

Benefits and achievements

Savings through reduction of staff sickness absence (2.2 per cent) and staff
turnover rates (reduced to 20 per

Vacancy rates reduced from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.

Ten days of training per employee – twice the national average, but delivered
at almost half the average cost – identified by the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development.

Beverley Shears says: “Helen’s drive,
commitment and passion shone through. She and her team have successfully
introduced a business ethic into the charitable sector demonstrating real added
value and contributing to the success of Broadway. Her HR strategy is cogent
and business-focused.”

Angela O’Connor, HR director, Crown
Prosecution Service

in team: 50

in HR function: 50

of employees HR is responsible for: 7,500

About the organisation

CPS is the Government department responsible for prosecuting most criminal
offences. It deals with more than 1.5 million court cases annually and is the
largest legal services employer in
the UK.

The challenge

from an outdated, reactive organisation with a poor
employment record into a representative, responsive, 24/7

What the HR director did

Completely rebranded all HR

  Launched a new approach to recruitment.

  Developed new training and development products,
including a management development programme, a law
scholarship scheme and the organisation’s first
e-learning programme.

Published an HR newsletter and a wide range of leaflets  in
simple language.

Benefits and achievements

  Won awards for recruitment advertisements.

Confidence in HR has grown.

Activities not linked to the core business have been scrapped.

More internal information is available online.

The new ways of working are more cost-effective.

The 2004 staff survey shows that 28 per cent more staff think that recruitment is fair, open and

Nineteen per cent more employees think they can progress their career at the

Beverley Shears says: “Angela is a true
ambassador for HR in the public sector. She has a clear vision, energy,
determination and the ability to be very explicit about where she is going. She
is clearly highly regarded by her team and the organisation.
The rebranding of HR
products and services within the CPS has had tangible results.”

William Gibbon, HR director, Barclays Africa

in team: 170

in HR function: 170

of employees HR is responsible for: 7,000

About the organisation

Africa, a division of the Barclays Group, is a financial services organisation based throughout Africa.
In the past year it has delivered 27 per cent growth in operating profit and
improved cost efficiency by 50 per cent.

The challenge

  To develop a high-performance organisation, modernise the
employer brand, relocate the head office from London
to Johannesburg,
restructure senior management, introduce a graduate recruitment scheme,
restructure the learning and development programme,
and build relationships with the unions.

What the hr director did

Developed a health and well-being programme designed
to provide HIV/Aids education, confidential testing, medical advice and
treatment for employees and their families 

Relocated the head office to both cut costs and allow the business to be much
closer to its African customer base.

Redesigned reward strategy to support high performance.

Benefits and achievements

Ensured that all HR strategy is aligned to business needs.

Moving the HQ from London
to Africa saved money.

  Recruitment of a diverse leadership team.

In 2003, Barclays Africa’s operating profits rose by 27 per cent to £113m.

Income per head increased by £10,000 while cost per head increased by only

Beverley Shears says: “William has
achieved a true HR partnership with the business, enabling real corporate
social responsibility as well as demonstrable commercial success. He has
championed diversity and has pioneered an inspirational HIV/Aids health and
well-being programme. He is an engaging leader who
has instilled high standards in his team under challenging circumstances.”



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