Personnel Today Awards 2007 HR Measurement Award

This award will go to the team that can best demonstrate its ability to measure and benchmark its people performance. Entrants must show how they gather data on some of the most elusive measures, including: people capability, and engagement and commitment. The judge will be expecting to see measurement being used to improve organisational effectiveness, gain competitive advantage, and develop strategy.

Award judge

Duncan Brown leads PricewaterhouseCooper’s management and employee reward work. He was formerly assistant director-general at the Chartered Institute of personnel and Development and a partner at consultancy Towers Perrin. He is a well-known author and commentator on HR and reward issues, and was placed in Personnel Today’s Top 10 HR Power Players in 2006.

Award sponsor is the UK’s leading commercial recruitment website attracting 2 million unique jobseekers every month – an audience that reflects the full spectrum of the UK’s working population. With the widest choice of UK jobs – more than 145,000 vacancies – recruiters can benefit from years of internet recruitment experience from its account managers.

The team: Cross Company People Measure Team
Number in team: 80 Number of employees organisation is responsible for: 4,300

About the organisation AWE – the Atomic Weapons Establishment – provides the warheads for the UK nuclear deterrent. It is one of the largest high-technology research, design development and production facilities in the country. The company’s headquarters are on a 750-acre site near the village of Aldermaston, Berkshire.

The challenge To introduce measurement standards across the organisation. Previously, people data was collected in an ad hoc manner. A more balanced view of AWE’s business units was required. Four key categories of data – recruitment, processes, commitment and retention – were identified to indicate the current health of AWE’s people capability.

What the organisation did

AWE introduced a People Measure Scorecard with metrics defined in a traffic light (red/amber/green) format. The corporate services team identified metrics that would drive the right behaviours based on data collated from a bi-annual employee opinion survey and interim surveys, ensuring conclusions are drawn from hard and soft measures.

Benefits and achievements

Improved and systematic measurement methods brought numerous benefits, including improved back-to-work results from long-term sickness. By developing the scorecard working directly with the business, AWE produced a set of measures that improved key indicators, rather than resulting in measurement for its own sake.

The judge says: “Here, people data was reviewed historically in an ad hoc, sporadic manner. Since 2005, the company has been using a People Measure Scorecard covering four areas: recruitment, processes, commitment and retention. Performance is well communicated using a traffic light approach, and improvements in a number of areas, such as employee commitment and absenteeism, have been the result.”

The team: HR Business Excellence
Number in team: 6 Number of employees organisation is responsible for: 10,100

About the organisation Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is part of The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest consumer co-operative. CFS comprises the Co-operative Insurance Society and The Co-operative Bank, including the internet bank Smile.

The challenge To become the UK’s most admired financial services business through a high-performance culture. To succeed at this, CFS had to continually measure and benchmark its human capital and intervene as necessary with the appropriate people management.

What the organisation did

The HR division created a business excellence team to own and develop best practice in people measurement. It gathers information from across the business to provide insight into employee engagement and commitment to help CFS manage talent and develop people and leadership. The outputs are benchmarked internally and externally to measure progress.

Benefits and achievements

People dashboards display a range of measures, including absence, turnover, ethnicity, gender and customer satisfaction and all associated costs. The findings are being used to help reduce time and cost to hire, improve training effectiveness, improve retention of engaged, high-performing staff, and manage turnover and absence. The team aims to create a ‘people profit and loss’ approach.

The judge says: “Effective HR measurement requires mastering a comprehensive battery of HR statistics, but still communicating the business implications in a straightforward way. CFS is producing an excellent range of data including customer, employee and financial measures, but well-summarised in an executive scorecard and series of ‘people dashboards’.” The judge also liked the ‘continuous improvement’ approach CFS has adopted.

The team
: Strategic HR
Number in team: 4 Number of employees organisation is responsible for: 8,500

About the organisation Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is one of four metropolitan districts that make up South Yorkshire. It provides services to a population of more than 250,000 and employs nearly 15,000 people. Over the past four years, it has transformed from a 1-star under-achieving council to a 3-star local authority that is “improving well”.

The challenge Historically, people data was not readily available. Particularly elusive were people capability, employee engagement, HR function effectiveness, workforce profile and leadership capabilities.

What the organisation did

The Strategic HR team implemented a new HR/payroll system to provide workforce data for analysis revised the council’s performance and development reviews and introduced new mechanisms to understand employee engagement, commitment and opinion.

Benefits and achievements

As well as the ongoing improvements to the council’s scores from the Audit Commission, it has:

  • improved employee satisfaction by 10 percentage points in five years
  • reduced employee turnover by 8% since 2004
  • saved £5.8m of employee time in three years
  • introduced new policies to support the employee experience – eg, flexible working.

The judge says: “A major performance and organisational transformation has been under way at the council, with more strategic people management at its heart. The focus of its work on HR measurement has been on employee involvement and engagement, workforce and sickness and performance development data. Quarterly performance scorecards are produced, including public and private sector benchmarking.”

AXA uk
The team
: Resourcing
Number in team: 47 Number of employees organisation is responsible for: 13,000

About the organisation The AXA group employs more than 120,000 people worldwide and has more than 52 million clients. The financial services company has 13,000 employees in the UK working for well-known brands including AXA Sun Life and AXA PPP Healthcare.

The challenge To improve the efficiency and accuracy of the HR function by creating a single resourcing process capable of improving profitability, productivity, and to respond better to the customer it serves.

What the organisation did

AXA applied the Six Sigma process, developed in the 1980s by Motorola to improve processes by eliminating defects, to its HR function. This involved abandoning traditional methods, and rethinking the company’s resourcing strategy as a whole. Financial and operational benefits have been dramatic.

Benefits and achievements

  • By streamlining operations and eliminating duplication, the AXA Six Sigma team created a measurable resourcing process across diverse businesses.
  • Cut ‘volume recruitment’ from an average of 40 days to 30 days.
  • Created time saving allowing the resourcing team to reduce dependence on external agencies, generating savings of more than £900,000 in five months.

The judge says: “Too often, HR departments still operate in haphazard fashion with poorly justified approaches. AXA has applied the Six Sigma data and customer-driven methodology to its resourcing activities with impressive results, cutting time to recruit by 25%, with savings on agency and advertising costs of almost £1m. More effective company-wide strategies, including ‘talent spotter’ schemes, have also been developed.”

The team: Group Human Resources
Number in team: 5 Number of employees organisation is responsible for: 60,000

About the organisation Standard Chartered Bank has doubled both revenue and headcount in the past three years. Despite being consistently ranked in the top 25 of the FTSE-100, 90% of its profits come from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The challenge Standard Chartered has aggressive growth aspirations – it has just acquired American Express Bank – and the human capital team needs to: plan resourcing accordingly identify and explore key issues, such as attrition inform business decision by evaluating risks monitor strategic goals such as diversity and track trends over time.

What the organisation did

Using standardised data from the global management information system and the HR Shared Service Centre in India, the bank launched Human Capital Scorecards. These measure people-related data and answer key questions on the effectiveness of people processes and their impact on business performance, such as capacity for growth, talent mobility and retention.

Benefits and achievements

Internally developed software now enables Standard Chartered to produce 40 dynamic slides from raw data of all 60,000 employees in less than a minute and at no cost. Previously, it had taken a day-and-a-half to produce each scorecard. All scorecards are now accessible to senior management through a secure website.

The judge says: “Links have been shown between employee engagement and branch business performance.” The judge also liked the wide distribution and use of the scorecards, which the Group Management Committee reviews with each business.

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