Personnel Today Awards 2006: shortlist

This award looks for training interventions that have significantly benefited the business or organisation, particularly if the trainers involved have developed new approaches.

The judge will want to see evidence of improved performance and gains in employee skills and capabilities. Entrants should show how training has boosted motivation and helped focus staff on key organisational objectives. The judge will look for well designed and delivered training programmes.

Category sponsor

Training & Coaching Today (formerly Training Magazine) is the monthly journal for training managers. Part of the Personnel Today portfolio, it provides training professionals with news, comment, research, data, advice and jobs. The recent name change reflects the rise of coaching as a means for improving staff and company performance.

Category judge

Margaret Salmon has been the chair of the Sector Skills Development Agency since its launch in April 2002. The agency provides a strong voice for business sectors on skills issues, and supports the Sector Skills Councils. Salmon is a non-executive director at retailer Kingfisher, and at the Alliance & Leicester bank. She was previously chief executive of BBC Resources.

The shortlist

BT Global Services

The team – Insight to BT team
Number in team: 5 Number in HR function: 245 (155 in UK) Number of employees HR is responsible for: 30,000

About the organisation

BT Global Services is a worldwide provider of networked IT services, enabling multinational, multi-site enterprises to grow in the digital networked economy.

The challenge

To protect and deliver value on a £500m investment involving eight global acquisitions covering 4,400 staff across 27 countries. It had to engage them and build on their understanding of the company, but it had a budget of £40,000, with no joined-up global infrastructure or dedicated resources.

What the organisation did

Spearheaded by the head of organisational development (OD) and an OD and outsourcing specialist, a virtual team of five cross-functional BT staff developed an orientation programme delivered online via the intranet. It:

  • Was based on a deep understanding of acquisition employee needs;
  • Provided a modular approach with clear learning objectives, balancing informative elements with fun and emotional engagement;
  • Was executed within the context of engagement and change management;
  • Gave new recruits an insight into BT and encouraged them to contribute to the company’s success as well as their own.

Benefits and achievements

  • Maximised their use of grassroots support to deliver the project within the budget of £40,000.
  • 95% believe they now have a better understanding of the role of BT Global Services.
  • The programme will now cover the whole BT group, which has 100,000 staff.

The judge says:

“This team developed an online induction and orientation programme to accelerate the process of integrating newly acquired staff. It achieved positive results on a very tight budget.”

Homes for Islington

The team – Respect for People Project
Number in team: 4  Number in HR function: 19  Number of employees HR is responsible for: 1,000

About the organisation

Homes for Islington is a company owned by Islington Council. It manages the council’s rented and leasehold homes.
The challenge Homes for Islington wanted to raise awareness of diversity issues among its 1,000-strong workforce in a cost-effective, measurable way.

What the organisation did

  • Selected individuals from HR and learning and development to create the Respect for People project team, which launched, monitored and reported the entire programme.
  • Appointed an agency – Grass Roots – to develop the programme.
  • Ensured every member of staff could attain the same level of knowledge by making the content appropriate and by using a combination of training resources.
  • Provided a dedicated ‘link’ person to deal with any queries or difficulties, and pre-training briefs for staff groups.
  • Undertook a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise to look at staff attitudes and awareness of disability equality.

Benefits and achievements

  • 94% of staff have successfully completed the programme so far.
  • 95% of manual staff successfully completed the workbook training.
  • More than 80% believe it has improved their understanding of diversity issues.
  • The diversity training programme will now be incorporated into Homes for Islington’s induction for new recruits.

The judge says:

“The team, supported by management and trade unions, developed a straightforward online and offline solution, and 95% of those taking the programme have passed the end-of-course test.”

Kent County Council

The team – Personnel and Development
Number in team: 10  Number in HR function: 211  Number of employees HR is responsible for: 46,000

About the organisation

Kent County Council is the largest county council in England, and serves 1.36 million people.

The challenge

It wanted to embed a culture of continuous improvement to achieve an outstanding service by focusing on the way it works. It created a development tool for everyone in the organisation.

What the organisation did

  • The team worked with staff from all levels to develop a framework of 13 behavioural competencies that define the attitudes and behaviours the council values and rewards.
  • The team created a dictionary to summarise these values, as well as a manager’s toolkit for guidance on how to demonstrate the behaviours.
  • The team designed and implemented the half-day training programme on how to use the framework as an appraisal and development tool in performance management for more than 16,000 staff.

Benefits and achievements

  • Staff are measured against these generic behaviours as well as their technical skills.
  • Improvements in customer satisfaction and employee skills, capabilities and performance.
  • 54% fully understand how the dictionary links in with appraisal/development.
  • 49% fully understand how to use it as a development tool.
  • 94% understand what the council aims to achieve through the programme.
  • 99% understand how their behaviour impacts on others.

The judge says:

“This ambitious all-staff programme is seen as important to retaining Excellent Authority status and delivering outstanding customer service.”

Nottingham City Transport

The team – Driving the Change
Number in team: 11  Number in HR function: 12  Number of employees HR is responsible for: 1,120

About the organisation

Nottingham City Transport (NCT) is the largest provider of public transport in the greater Nottingham area. In 2004, it celebrated 100 years of service to its customers and was awarded UK Bus Operator of the Year.

The challenge

Work-related violence has become an increasingly common occurrence for NCT’s drivers, and a questionnaire revealed that 63% felt unsafe. The company wanted to equip them to manage and diffuse these situations and so reduce the cost of work-related violence.

What the organisation did

  • With the help of HR, a working party of drivers commissioned and designed the Work-Related Violence Training programme.
  • They enlisted mental health professionals and clinical and forensic psychologists to deliver the training, which included realistic filmed scenarios, presentations and exercises.
  • Sixteen drivers were released twice a week to undertake the training programme.

Benefits and achievements

  • Assaults on drivers have fallen by 26% in 15 months.
  • Financial consequences of absence and the cost of investigating such incidents has fallen proportionately.
  • Staff morale has improved dramatically.
  • The programme has been delivered to the entire driver workforce and has now been incorporated into the new driver induction programme.

The judge says:

“The support of operational management and the selection of an external consultancy to work with drivers to tailor-make the solution resulted in an impressive reduction in assaults on drivers within 15 months.”

Starbucks Coffee Company

The team – Learning & Development
Number in team: 9 Number in HR function: 40 Number of employees HR is responsible for: 7,059

About the organisation

Coffee chain Starbucks started in Seattle in 1971. It now has 6,000 stores in more than 30 countries.

The challenge

In 2004, Starbucks launched a behavioural change programme to establish itself as the most respected speciality coffee brand in the UK. It wanted to create an environment where passion and knowledge for coffee thrives and is enthusiastically shared between partners (staff) and customers.

What the organisation did

  • Launched the Coffee Master programme, which involved every partner within the field operation and support centre up to and including the managing director.
  • Enables each partner to become a ‘Coffee Master’ and, ultimately, for their store to become a centre of excellence.
  • Set up a UK-wide competition and awards ceremony attended by 750 partners and guests.
  • Focused on behaviours that would enhance beverage quality and drive customer interaction.
  • Encouraged partners’ engagement and pride.
  • Developed partners’ capability, confidence and knowledge to improve customer perceptions of the company and the brand.

Benefits and achievements

  • Customer perceptions have improved by 2%.
  • Coffee bean sales have increased from 14.5 units to 18.3 units.
  • 76% of staff now view developing coffee knowledge as a high priority, compared with 60% in 2004.
  • 76% now believe Starbucks provides sufficient training to answer customer queries, compared with 66% in 2004.

The judge says:

“Developed by a multi-functional team and reinforced by an annual competition, the Coffee Master programme is raising skills levels and changing behaviour.”

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