Personnel Today Awards 2009: Award for HR Impact shortlisted teams

THE AWARD

This award recognises an HR professional or team that has added value to their organisation through an innovative, clever or determined solution. The winning intervention should show HR at its most creative and flexible, providing evidence of speed of reaction, thinking ‘outside the box’, clear communication, a sophisticated understanding of the business drivers, and measurement of the benefits.

THE JUDGES

Chris Parry
Chair,
Centre for High Performance Development (CHPD)

 

 

 

Ruth Spellman
Chief executive,
Chartered Management Institute



Alton Towers Resort

The team: HR
Number in team: 14
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 2,000

About the organisation

Alton Towers Resort is a leading short-break destination, made up of a theme park, two hotels, a Caribbean waterpark and a conference centre.

The challenge

Customer satisfaction research showed that people saw the business as a theme park with hotels, rather than a resort. The company wanted to reposition itself as a short-break resort offering a “fantastical escape” from everyday life. HR’s job was to harness staff as brand ambassadors.

What the organisation did

  • Added a branding section to its induction programme
  • Arranged branding workshops for more than 200 people managers
  • Sent staff out to look for examples of where the brand wasn’t working, and fed the results back to the leadership team.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employees have taken ownership of improving the resort
  • Employee findings have led to 48 maintenance jobs being identified and completed
  • Improved ratings with customers – the ‘Intention to recommend’ score rose by 3% to 93%
  • The whole company is now working towards one goal.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “This entry demonstrates the power of HR to harness people’s energy as brand ambassadors, with impressive results.”


Broadway’s Real People

The team: HR department
Number in team: 9
Number of staff the team is responsible for: supports 60 organisations

About the organisation

Broadway’s Real People is a social enterprise HR consultancy, part of homelessness charity Broadway.

The challenge

To maintain a high-quality HR function in-house while reducing Broadway’s infrastructure costs, and to support Broadway in its long-term vision of becoming the centre of excellence for training, organisational development and service improvement in the homelessness sector.

What the organisation did

  • Set up the Real People enterprise in 2005-06, with a two-year pilot project, ‘Beyond a Helpline’, providing HR support for 12 smaller homelessness charities
  • With the Chartered Institute of Housing, developed a national leadership and management development qualification for homelessness services, ‘Leading Places of Change’.

Benefits and achievements

  • Have provided strategic HR support for 70 homelessness charities
  • Growth of Real People turnover over three years from £50,000 to a budgeted £325,000 for 2009-10
  • Net profit of £88,000 against a target of £49,000 gift-aided back into Broadway in 2008-09.

Judge’s comments

Ruth Spellman says: “This was a genuine ‘out of the box’ idea that has impacted on management and leadership and will have a long-term business benefit. It will also bring real change to the homelessness sector, where it is notoriously difficult to build sustainable solutions.”


Everest Home Improvements

The team: HR and internal communications
Number in team: 8
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 980

About the organisation

Everest Home Improvements specialises in double glazing, conservatories and solar products.

The challenge

Everest wanted employees to see it as a great place to work (GPTW), but engagement has historically been low. The HR and communications team decided to introduce a new approach to understanding engagement, with a solution created by employees rather than leaders.

What the organisation did

  • Identified 32 people as GPTW champions
  • Organised a workshop for the champions, asking them to spell out what they saw as a great place to work
  • Had the champions help design an ongoing programme of workshops, the results of which were fed back to other staff
  • Asked the champions to help develop a cost-cutting solution, resulting in a request to staff to volunteer to take pay cuts. 84% of workers volunteered.

Benefits and achievements

  • £1.2m saved through salary reduction
  • Nearly £4m reduction in operating costs since the programme began
  • Additional activities were launched to support the programme, including the Everest Value Awards.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “This is a great example of how truly engaged staff – the GPTW champions – can help their company survive through tough times.”


KPMG

The team: HR
Number in team: 62
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 11,564

About the organisation

KPMG is a professional services firm, providing audit, tax and advisory services.

The challenge

KPMG wanted to be able to respond quickly to further market deterioration while remaining an employer of choice. It wanted to avoid large-scale redundancies, retain its talent, and maintain employee engagement and trust.

What the organisation did

  • Invited all 11,000 partners and staff to volunteer for a temporary change to their terms and conditions. The new terms allowed KPMG to ask volunteers to reduce their working week by one day (unpaid) or take between four and 12 weeks’ leave (at 30% pay)
  • Partners and staff could agree to either or both options with a maximum salary loss capped at 10-20%, depending on business area. Full benefits would be maintained.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since March, the tax and people services, advisory and central services divisions have involved 500 staff in the flexible futures programme
  • This has resulted in savings of approximately £1.2m
  • Many staff have used the free time for volunteering or other personal interests.

Judge’s comments

Ruth Spellman says: “This idea was developed quite quickly despite there being 12,000 people involved. KPMG have taken flexibility at work to a new level, at the same time generating savings.”


South Norfolk Council

The team: HR
Number in team: 3
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 460

About the organisation

South Norfolk Council is a local government body in the east of England, providing council services to more than 110,000 people, and covering an area of 909 km².

The challenge

To recruit a new chief executive within six weeks, the recruitment budget having been cut. The team also needed to look forward-thinking and modern in a traditionally risk-averse culture.

What the organisation did

  • Sat down and discussed how to create a campaign that was cheap and innovative
  • Produced a recruitment video, within four hours, at a cost of £150
  • Loaded the video on to YouTube, built a micro-site around it and advertised the link in the local papers, all within 10 days.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 2,000 hits on YouTube, along with national coverage
  • Delivered a £50,000 concept for a £5,000 spend
  • Received applications from all over the country, shortlisting some exceptional candidates
  • Found an excellent new chief executive, who embraced the council’s new forward-thinking culture.

Judge’s comments

Chris Parry says: “This one really stood out as HR at its best. A brilliant piece of recruitment that was creative, innovative, cost-effective and highly successful.”


Lancashire County Council

The team: HR consultancy, partnerships development team
Number in team: 14
Number of staff the team is responsible for: 44,000

About the organisation

Led by locally elected members, the county council provides a diverse range of public services directly and through partnership to the citizens of Lancashire.

The challenge

Having identified a demographically imbalanced workforce, propped up by costly agency staff, the team needed to transform the way the council worked.

What the organisation did

  • Developed the first-ever public sector work trial, ‘Work Start’, creating a route back to work for long-term welfare recipients
  • Re-engineered their apprenticeship programme to address demographic trends
  • Founded ‘Future Horizons’ to provide opportunities for young people not in education, employment or training. The scheme provides qualifications, life skills, career information and work placements.

Benefits and achievements

  • An increase in administrative apprentices from six in 2005-06 to 268 on 2008-09
  • Centrally recruited up to 20 apprentices at a time, saving £120,000 a year
  • Arranged work placements for 60 people, 43 of whom have secured sustainable employment
  • Saw 18 out of 20 young people complete the Future Horizons programme
  • Saved £1m on staffing.

Judge’s comments

Ruth Spellman says: “The transformation of HR was both practical and innovative, expanding the talent pool and targeting disadvantaged people as employees.”

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