Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council wins Award for Excellence in Technology

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council collect their award
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council collect their award in 2015.

Broadbean TechnologyDudley Metropolitan Borough Council won the Award for Excellence in Technology, kindly sponsored by Broadbean Technology, at the 2015 Personnel Today Awards. Here we profile its winning entry, and those of our runners-up.

WINNER

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

About the organisation

The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley was created in 1974 from the existing boroughs of Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen. The council is made up of 72 councillors representing 24 wards.

The challenge

Dudley Council wanted to modernise how it recruited for its schools and attract the best talent in a busy and demanding market. It recognised that effective use of technology would help it to compete for talent and create specific school branding linked with its HR recruitment services.

What the organisation did

  • Decided to roll out Talent Link, an online platform that schools could use to recruit directly.
  • Invited more than 100 headteachers and school business managers to take part in a pilot programme.
  • Set up team of 3.5 (full time equivalent) project officers, championed by two senior officers in HR.
  • Identified a 14-stage process from “adding the vacancy” on Talent Link to “hiring the candidate”, reducing this to six vital steps.
  • After a test group of 11 schools started with the system in January 2014, Dudley implemented the system across 102 schools over a 14-month period.
  • Provided training sessions to more than 300 school’s personnel, and devised a new online system to manage queries.

Benefits and achievements

  • Ninety vacancies were advertised and processed during the pilot period, with more than 60 appointments made as a result.
  • Schools view Dudley as innovative as modernised service provider, which means the council has attracted more income from Traded Services, which mainly comes from schools.
  • Reduction in duplication of processes as Talent Link is managed by HR, rather than IT.
  • HR can monitor new starters and control payments as data on the system is live.
  • Schools appreciate the introduction of an online interview booking process, and have experienced a reduction in advertising, postage and other administration costs.

Judge’s comments

“I liked the descriptions of the implementation process, which I thought was well done, including briefings and a pilot.”


RUNNERS UP

Aviator AGW

About the organisation

Aviator provides services to the airline industry, from passenger and baggage handling, through to de-icing, cargo and freight handling services. Its customers include five-star airlines, low-cost airlines and cargo airlines. The company has 3800 employees in total, 960 of which are based in the UK.

Excellence in technology – our judge

Jon Ingham, analyst, blogger, consultant and speaker on human capital management

The challenge

As a company working across 22 stations in the UK and Europe it was difficult to communicate information about compensation, benefits and company policies. It also wanted to harmonise policies and build a corporate identity, as well as create a more cohesive culture, improve retention and attract new talent.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced a cloud-based “smart portal” called Aviator Extras for all employees to handle everything related to compensation and benefits.
  • Rolled out a portal that employees can access from home, work or via their smartphone – this means they have easy access to electronic payslips and the ability to apply for salary sacrifice schemes.
  • Enabled staff to use a tailored visualisation tool to fully understand the different components of their benefits package.
  • Encouraged employees saving for a pension to see scenario-based situations, encouraging them to save more if appropriate.
  • Offered a wide range of discounts via the portal.

Benefits and achievements

  • Savings of 840 hours per year that would have been spent on administration, or 80% time reduction thanks to automation.
  • Employees spend an average of an hour per year on the system; HR spends three hours; payrolls spend three hours.
  • Time saved spent on administration of HR processes has reduced by 300 hours per year.
  • Time reduction thanks to employees accessing information via the portal is 50%.

Judge’s comments

“They work in a difficult environment and they have tried to identify some benefits.”


Direct Line Group

About the organisation

Direct Line Insurance Group is a leading insurance business which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Group owns a number of general insurance brands including Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege and roadside assistance brand Green Flag.

The challenge

As Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) was formerly part of RBS, which was required to divest its insurance business following the 2008 global financial crisis, DLG needed to create a new, independent HR function underpinned by innovative technology. Its new systems needed to improve insight into the workforce and collate reliable, clean data in a single location.

What the organisation did

  • Implemented cloud-based HR solution Workday, starting with basic functionality and building on this with later roll-outs of talent management, compensation, and offering a single access point/sign on for all HR systems.
  • Enabled employees to access and edit HR information via desktop, laptop or mobile, leading to more accurate data and therefore better analytics.
  • Ensured all customers are on the same version of the system as it is hosted in the cloud, and users can feed back on functions that meet their needs.
  • Managed the January 2015 annual pay review on the new system.

Benefits and achievements

  • By October 2014, 94% of staff were using self-service modules.
  • Managers have greater accountability because they can make decisions based on data on the system and enact those decisions using the software – for example, inputting performance ratings or deciding on bonus amounts.
  • Moving to a cloud-based system has allowed DLG to reduce HR function by 50%.
  • Employees’ experience has improved through single portal to access all HR data and systems.
  • System has provided stock of insightful, accurate data which can be utilised to make better business decisions.

Judge’s comments

“The situation was challenging and that the solution was an appropriate response.”


FDM Group

About the organisation

FDM Group is a professional services provider with a focus on IT. It has more than 130 clients worldwide, and is one of the largest IT graduate employers. It aims to create and inspire exciting careers that shape its digital future.

The challenge

To ensure FDM’s business model was sustainable, the company needed to broaden its reach to support people throughout their careers. One of its biggest challenges was to maintain employee engagement and interaction within its consultant workforce. FDM also wanted to identify and embed the behaviours at the core of its values.

What the organisation did

  • Decided to build a “career community” of people who have a passion for learning.
  • At the centre of this community is ME+, a career development app developed in conjunction with Me Plus Development (joint venture between Telos Partners and digital agency Dare).
  • Workshopped ideas with target users to shape the user experience.
  • The app helps people to clarify their ambitions and break them down into actions and milestones; they can also share their achievements along the way.
  • All trainees given access to ME+ in their first week.
  • ME+ now part of the self-managed learning graduates undertake as they build their technical and professional skills, and can be taken to client sites.

Benefits and achievements

  • Career development is now part of everyday language, rather than being dictated by a formal appraisal process.
  • Reduction in administration with consultants who work remotely/at client sites.
  • Providing career support wherever employees are means there is a deeper relationship and stronger engagement.
  • “It brings value to users, and forces us to think about the support that they need to achieve success.” – Andy Brown, Group Commercial Director, FDM.

Judge’s comments 

“The design of an app is very topical.”


Nationwide Building Society

About the organisation

Nationwide is the largest building society in the world, the UK’s third largest mortgage lender and one of the UK’s largest savings providers. Its origins lie in the Provident Union Building Society, set up in 1846, the Northampton Town & County Freehold Land Society and the co-operative movement in London.

The challenge

The HR Employee Services division of Nationwide looks after 17,000 employees. In 2014, Nationwide started a transformation programme to overhaul its HR systems. This included an upgrade to its Oracle PeopleSoft system and the development of two new HR services. These were designed to support the corporate goal of creating a digital employee experience.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced three- to eight-minute YouTube-style videos for employees to find out how to complete some of the more complex PeopleSoft tasks.
  • Implemented “Approve on the move”, which reduces the time managers have to spend on administrative tasks and allows them to sign things off while not in the office.
  • Created a technical interface between PeopleSoft and the company’s email server to enable manager approval without having to log on to the system.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since their launch last year the videos have received 6,000 hits and score a 4.5 star app rating from employees.
  • Videos have led to, on average, a 30% reduction in call volume each month for support with using HR systems – a monthly financial saving of £1,800.
  • Reducing time spent on approvals means managers have more time to focus on their teams and their roles.
  • Time spent between requests and authorisations has reduced by up to 80%, and there has been a 40% reduction in calls to HR regarding holiday, overtime or organisational change.
  • Both solutions use existing technology to deliver new HR services.

Judge’s comments

“I really like the way they’ve rethought a simple upgrade as a more strategic opportunity to improve the employee experience.”


Santander

About the organisation

Santander UK is a bank that is wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group. The bank has around 20,000 employees in the UK, and 4.3 million customers for its 1|2|3 Current Account. In its latest financial results, it made £928 million in profit.

The challenge

Historically, talent management at Santander was conducted offline, which meant that any data captured from the talent initiatives had to be inputted manually. This made it difficult to integrate, use and protect data. Santander wanted to create a central content management system that would support its talent development initiatives, accessible from any device.

What the organisation did

  • Collaborated with digital agency Digital Balance to come up with the concept of a portal called Developing Your Potential (DYP).
  • Launched DYP in February 2014 with functions including: live chat support, talent talks (like Ted Talks), blogs and news, search functionality and a dedicated area for those “early in their career”.
  • At the back-end, the system would offer moderator control functions and 24/7 support.
  • Introduced new initiatives on the back of DYP, such as a mentoring database, which matches people to roles based on algorithms of compatibility.
  • Developed a customisable electronic version of the nine-box grid approach to talent management, which can produce results in Excel or PDF format.
  • Talent Review Communities use the data on the system for talent committees that happen in various business areas.
  • Created community sites, with Facebook-type functionality, allowing diverse groups across the company to connect and share experiences.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since launching DYP, more than 1,000 employees have been “gridded”, meaning it’s easier to spot those with high potential.
  • Employees can access data or communities on any device, and at their own pace.
  • Portal has had more than 100,000 page views and average time spent on its is around 21 minutes.
  • Thirty-nine percent of visits came from within Santander, 41% from external wi-fi and 20% mobile networks, proving that staff are accessing from anywhere.
  • “Likes” and ratings enable Santander to see how popular aspects of DYP are with users.
  • Now discussing plans to roll out DYP on a corporate device as a pre-installed app, and possible introduction of gamification.

Judge’s comments

“It’s interesting and useful, I’d have liked to have seen some detail on the algorithm.”


University of Sheffield

About the organisation

The University of Sheffield is a world top-100 University renowned for its excellence, impact and distinctiveness in research-led learning and teaching. It employs around 7,200 staff.

The challenge

The University of Sheffield employs a range of staff from cleaner to professor, across 51 academic and 15 professional services departments. However, despite a strong employer brand from a recruitment perspective, it felt it was missing an opportunity to demonstrate its goals and values during induction. This was made more complex thanks to the fact that 250 staff across the institution are responsible for induction, many of whom were unaware of the resources available to support new starters.

What the organisation did

  • Established staff induction steering and project groups to identify what would be critical to the success of better induction processes.
  • Decided to introduce new staff induction events, enhance online induction guidance for managers and create a new staff induction portal, available to all new staff regardless of role.
  • Branded the portal “Extraordinary starts here”, with a range of images showing the diversity of the work staff undertake, and practical information for new starters.
  • Sent out automated emails so staff receive a personal welcome three months before their start date, a reminder email one month later, and a feedback request three months after they have started. New staff also receive a welcome email from the vice-chancellor.
  • Line managers also receive an automated email when a new starter is appointed, reminding them of how they can support them through induction.

Benefits and achievements

  • Cost effective: set-up costs were around £44,000, with ongoing running costs of £12,000 per year. This equates to just £11 per new starter.
  • Number of staff resigning within three months of joining has dropped by 36%.
  • More than half (55%) of new staff have accessed the portal, including 65% of academic staff and 60% of research staff.
  • More than four-fifths of those who fed back on induction said the portal supported them in settling into their new job.
  • Three-quarters of staff said the portal made them feel proud to work at the University of Sheffield.
  • Access to the portal for all new starters means the University can highlight key initiatives.
  • Managers find a central induction provision useful – one said: ‘’I think it is absolutely first class. It is upbeat, welcoming and permeates a great vibe for the induction process and of the University.”

Judge’s comments

“A fairly simple technology solution… but nicely designed, communicated and supported.”


Wales Audit Office

About the organisation

The Wales Audit Office supports the  Auditor General as the public sector watchdog for Wales. Its aim is to ensure that the people of Wales know whether or not public money is being managed wisely, and that public bodies in Wales understand how to improve outcomes. It employs around 260 people, scattered across the length and breadth of Wales.

The challenge

In February 2014, the Wales Audit Office embarked on an ambitious culture change programme. Staff surveys showed that issues with existing systems and processes were holding the organisation back from reaching its full potential. It wanted to streamline its HR systems so staff could take more control over their development, managers could better control attendance and performance, and leaders would have access to better data.

What the organisation did

  • Identified key strategic areas for improvement, including absence management, L&D, performance management and online recruitment.
  • Delivered the project in 10 months and under budget, working closely with consultants from iTrent (self-service software package).
  • Came up with communication strategy so staff could be kept abreast of the timeline of the project, including Yammer and the organisation’s intranet.
  • Focus group of managers from across the business invited to test the system and provide feedback.
  • Detailed user guides published on the intranet, and training sessions were held in the four main Wales Audit Office sites, as well as one-to-one briefings.

Benefits and achievements

  • HR team received excellent feedback in the recent pulse survey on the impact and effectiveness of the iTrent implementation.
  • New system has improved reliability of sickness/absence statistics, reducing percentage from 7.82% in 2013/14 to 2.45% in 2014/5.
  • Reduction in administration time: for example in Audit Trainee recruitment campaign, 52 hours have been saved through automation of hiring processes.
  • Staff can now record their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) achievements, and the Wales Audit Office can assess the impact of learning initiatives.
  • Staff can evaluate learning through the system; 97% of staff feel the courses they have attended have met their objectives.
  • Savings on project management and consultancy days of 14.5 days giving an overall saving of £11,441.

Judge’s comments

“I particularly liked the videos and user guide.”

 

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