Personnel Today Awards 2015: RWE GBS takes home Award for Managing Change

RWE GBS UK took home the 2015 prize after impressing the judges with how they managed major change.
RWE GBS UK took home the 2015 prize after impressing the judges with how they managed major change.

Energy company RWE GBS won this year’s Personnel Today Award for Managing Change thanks to a focused approach. Here we look at their winning entry and profile the other organisations that made the shortlist.

WINNER

RWE GBS

About the organisation

RWE is one of Europe’s biggest energy companies. The RWE GBS UK Contact Centre comprises a team of highly skilled HR professionals across three areas: resourcing, employee relations and core HR. All specialise in supporting and advising 10,000 employees and managers (our customers) across five RWE companies.

The challenge

In 2012, RWE implemented a new UK HR model – this would change how employees would interact with customers while also delivering a seamless employee self-service and query management experience. However, the company needed to embed this change and alter employee attitudes which assumed that HR would take care of simple tasks on their behalf.

What the organisation did

  • Developed a balanced scorecard to support the change focusing on four areas: customer, quality, performance and people.
  • Established targets for the new HR model including reducing transactional calls to 120 maximum per day (increasing intranet hits to 2.5 per employee per month), to improve employee relations management while maintaining a quality service and mitigating risk.
  • Held customer engagement sessions so employees could meet HR colleagues directly and provide input.
  • Updated HR intranet to include step by step guides, videos and online forms.
  • Introduced a comemrcial and high quality end-to-end resourcing solution so RWE could attract the best candidates and give them a positive candidate experience.
  • Trained up most of the team in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to increase call quality and enhance communication.

Benefits and achievements

  • HR contact centre has achieved 95% service excellence against a 75% satisfied customer target.
  • Average calls per day in December 2014 were 81, well under the 120 benhcmark; intranet hits were 3.4 per user per month.
  • Cost savings on recruitment/resourcing totalled £4.1 million in 2014.
  • Candidate experience measures have peaked at 95% from 84% at the beginning of 2014.
  • Tribunal costs in 2014 down by 17%; employee relations ranked as highest performing team within HR.
  • Mock tribunal workshop attracted a customer satisfaction result of 92%.

Judges’ comments

“A nice entry about HR change and the resulting culture change required to get all people to work with HR differently.”


RUNNERS UP

Centaur

About the organisation

Centaur Media is an award-winning, multi-platform media group, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its brands include Marketing Week, The Lawyer, Celebrity Intelligence and Employee Benefits.

The challenge

Centaur suffered a challenging few years and, in 2012, appointed a new group HR director to drive change in the business. The aim was to put in place some HR basics and, more strategically, support radical change across the business, aligning more than 50 autonomous brands into seven portfolios, each with clear leadership and objectives.

Managing change – the judges

Professor Nick Kemsley, Henley Business School Centre for HR Excellence

Vanessa Robinson, CIPD

What the organisation did

  • Shaped the structure of the new portfolios, introducing central expert hubs and subject matter expert teams.
  • Merged teams around strategic portfolios to deliver great content to customers in a more efficient way.
  • Centralised the commercial teams and radically redesigned the commission and bonus schemes to encourage collaborative working and reward performance.
  • Restructured finance team to become a more streamlined group of commercial finance managers, able to support each portfolio and revise the shape of the transactional finance team to implement a new system for improved efficiencies.
  • Integrated Econsultancy and Platforum businesses, including the harmonisation of terms of all employees.
  • Reviewed leadership roles and recruited new talent, resulting in a team who are aligned against organisational priorities.
  • Implemented critical processes, such as an online performance management process with one pay and performance cycle; standardised terms and conditions; and talent mapping.
  • Centralised recruitment function to focus more on direct sourcing.
  • Revolutionised learning and development through new modular blended learning approach; introduced e-learning for journalists.

Benefits and achievements

  • Renewed investor interest and financial confidence in the company, indicated by share price improvement.
  • Centralising recruitment has saved in excess of £500k in the first 12 months.
  • Increase in confidence and digital knowledge: up 37%, according to pre- and post-session analysis.
  • Use of psychometric analysis to support coaching and recruitment has risen by 58% since 2006.
  • From the 83 questions asked in the engagement survey, more than 80% have significantly improved scores compared with last year.
  • More than 90% of the business has now had a performance and development review in the last year, resulting in more internal promotions than ever.
  • Number of employees feeling confident in their leaders at Centaur has increased by 10%
  • More than 90% of employees feel very positive about their team, they enjoy good relationships with their colleagues, and feel well informed about what’s happening within Centaur.

Judges’ comments

“What I liked about this submission was that it presented HR as a force for business change.”


City of Wolverhampton College

About the organisation

City of Wolverhampton College operates across three campuses, plus specialist training academies in Telford and Worcester. It offers more than 300 different qualifications, a wide range of full-time and part-time courses, and serves more than 4,500 students.

The challenge

After government funding regimes changed in 2010, the college faced a number of challenges including payroll costs, losing its Investors in People status, poor relationships with unions, outdated policies and badly managed absence. Payroll failed to meet HMRC expense regulations, engagement was not measured and grievances took a long time to deal with.

What the organisation did

  • Formed a new HR team in 2010, targeting individuals with more commercial experience.
  • Held focus groups and developed an HR strategy, which was approved by senior managers and governors.
  • Developed new recruitment brand called “the difference makers”, and introduced service-level agreements and occupational testing to benchmark applicants.
  • Reviewed all policies and trained every manager on how these should be implemented.
  • Brought payroll in-house and ensured individual users only had one payroll account and that everything was legally compliant.
  • Reduced number of casual/zero-hours contracts employees.
  • Handled the difficult publicity around a murder involving a staff member in 2011; preparing and implementing a post-incident report.

Benefits and achievements

  • Better communication: in 2014 an in-house employee survey showed that the satisfaction score had increased to 55% from 32%, and engagement score to 71% from 36%.
  • Recruitment “non-pay” costs dropped to under £25,000 from £70,000.
  • Reduced spending on casual workers from £2.3 million in 2010 to £230,000 in 2014.
  • Reduced payroll costs of £10.1 million between 2010 and 2014.
  • Number of absence days per employee dropped to 0.9 days.
  • HR has been graded Outstanding by Ofsted for its contribution to the college’s turnaround.

Judges’ comments

“I liked this because of the no-nonsense approach of simply getting on and doing the basics well.”


London Borough of Croydon

About the organisation

As London’s biggest borough, Croydon’s population is growing significantly, putting the council in a position where demand for services is increasing year on year. Employees serve more than 360,000 residents.

The challenge

Over the last four years, through efficiencies and a range of change programmes, the council has saved £100 million. However, with ongoing cuts and increased residents’ needs, the council needed to revisit how it delivered services and made best use of resources.

What the organisation did

  • HR spearheaded a significant change programme involving meaningful consultation with staff and trade union representatives.
  • HR itself underwent restructuring and changed its focus to become more strategic.
  • Changed values to make them more “liveable”.
  • Created joint HR and finance service centre.
  • Communicated consistently with staff to ensure they were informed.
  • Redesigned leadership development programme and performance management scheme.
  • Implemented a new finance and HR system with employee and manager self service tools.

Benefits and achievements

  • Change programme has delivered £40 million of savings and major levels of efficiencies across the organisation.
  • HR team managed 74 reorganisations and restructures across the organisation.
  • Responses from staff on the change programme include “I believe the communication between senior management and staff has greatly improved.”
  • More than three-quarters of staff now believe they have a good work-life balance; and 76% feel their work is valued by the council.
  • Performance-management process has been simplified and staff feedback includes: “A valuable tool to clarify where I am heading and what I can do to achieve more.”

Judges’ comments

“A well-pitched entry both demonstrating how the changes were introduced and also demonstrating an outcome that the council is now a change ready culture.”


Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

About the organisation

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust operates across 12 locations in Northumbria. It carries out around 27,000 operations per year, deals with 73,000 patients and handles 1.3 million appointments for patients outside the hospital. It was granted foundation trust status in 2006.

The challenge

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust wanted to set up a specialist emergency care hospital, the first purpose built hospital of its kind in the country. This site has now centralised emergency care for three general hospital sites, meaning a significant re-configuration of services across the organisation. The challenge for HR and managers was to move approximately 1,200 staff to the new hospital while maintaining services at existing sites.

What the organisation did

  • Conceived a plan in four parts: planning phase, delivery phase, induction and finally the actual move.
  • Each department was reviewed and allocated a change “type”, which would determine their actions going forward – some would just “lift and drop” into the new location, whereas others would require deeper changes such as recruiting for new roles or changing shift patterns.
  • Held regular meetings between managers and the new emergency care hospital team to ensure change process was on track.
  • Ensured consistent communication with employees regardless of where they worked in the organisation – each change process happened with HR and a departmental manager present.

Benefits and achievements

  • Created a template for change within the organisation, for example by adopting template business cases and consultation process in other areas of the organisation affected by change.
  • Closer work with trade unions, meeting on a monthly basis.
  • Undertook an equality impact assessment to identify how the changes might affect minority groups.
  • Some departments have decided to change to a seven-day working model, creating new rotations for staff covering these sites.
  • Latest employee engagement survey has shown improvements in staff being able to contribute to changes in the workplace.

Judges’ comments

“It comes across to be a great example of HR working hard to ensure the smooth running of a vital service during a major operational change.”


Royal Bank of Scotland

About the organisation

RBS Group is a British banking and insurance company in which the Government took a controlling stake in 2008. It also controls brands including Natwest, Coutts and Ulster Bank. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the bank has worked hard to restore consumer trust and win back business.

The challenge

RBS felt that its operating model had become too complex, slow and siloed. External factors such as the Independent Commission on Banking meant that it needed to have greater clarity, control and monitoring of their most senior roles. This led to the launch of a bank-wide transformation programme in 2014.

What the organisation did

  • Brought together a team of organisational design (OD) specialists to support the redesign of the bank’s structure.
  • Reviewed all of the roles that report into the executive committee across the whole of RBS, getting senior executives’ agreement to new OD principles that would support better decision making.
  • Shared the methodology with colleagues in other industries and academia as well as the European Organisation Design Forum.
  • Defined the most senior roles across the bank in a consistent language and format, and engaged with colleagues in corporate governance and secretariat to ensure individual and collective accountability was clearly understood.
  • Moved from seven operating divisions to three customer businesses.

Benefits and achievements

  • Initial reorganisation has removed £1.1 billion of cost last year.
  • Employees with a functional remit are now all centrally aligned within that function, removing duplication across the bank.
  • Committees and executive steering groups have reduced by half.
  • RBS Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (which measures a bank’s financial strength) has climbed to 11.5% this quarter, up from 11.2% at the end of last year.
  • Increase in employees who report feeling that decisions in their business area are based on what’s best for the long term.

Judges comments

“This is an enormous challenge given the size and complexity of the organisation, and the ingrained nature of some elements of the culture.”


Nottingham City Council

About the organisation

Nottingham City Council is the non-metropolitan district council for the unitary authority of Nottingham in Nottinghamshire. It consists of 55 councillors, representing a total of 20 wards, who are elected every four years.

The challenge

Nottingham City Council not only faced severe cuts to funding from Government, but also harboured an ambition to become a “great council”. This meant it needed to tackle how it managed its financial pressures urgently in order to continue delivering the range and quality of services expected by citizens. It decided to empower employees to be more commercial and create new opportunities.

What the organisation did

  • Developed a “Commercialism Matrix”, which helps employees apply a more commercial lens to what they do.
  • Ensured top-level buy in: deputy council leader is the sponsor, the chief executive has championed the project and it is led by a strategic director for commercialism.
  • Decided on a clear vision and definition of commercialism and communicated this to colleagues.
  • Developed and refined tools to engage colleagues, including self-service tools, a training programme for managers, support roadshows, and intranet site and mentoring/coaching opportunities.

Benefits and achievements

  • Commercial waste business has grown by 20% in past three years, generating an income of £3.5 million.
  • Doubled revenue generated through skip hire.
  • Development of a commercial occupational health service has delivered a benefit of £75,000 per year.
  • Net cost reductions across the authority will be more than £13.5 million by year four of the programme.
  • Citizens are happier: 73% are happy with how the council runs things (compared with 66% in 2012); 77% say it delivers on its promises (compared with 68% in 2014).
  • Number of customers choosing to stop receiving services has gone down by 18%.
  • More than half (55%) of queries are answered at first point of access.

Judges’ comments

“I like the way that this was approached through a change in the way that people were encouraged to think, and liked the simplicity of the matrix.”


Wiltshire Council

About the organisation

Wiltshire Council is the unitary authority for most of the county of Wiltshire in the West of England. Employees cover a range of functions, including adult care and housing, services for children and families, and commissioning communications.

The challenge

Reflecting a problem affecting councils across the UK, Wiltshire Council has faced difficulty recruiting and retaining experienced social workers in operational children’s services, most notably in safeguarding and assessment. One of the council’s three priorities in its Business Plan 2013–2017 is to protect the most vulnerable in Wiltshire’s communities.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with consulting company Penna to establish a seven-month, targeted children’s social work campaign.
  • Created a new employer value proposition and brand, which has now been rolled out to the council’s new careers website.
  • Introduced an “18 caseload promise” to new recruits within the safeguarding and assessment team, and phased in this reduction for existing staff.
  • Redeveloped social work microsite and social media pages, providing a “one-stop shop” for prospective candidates.
  • Created single point of contact within Children’s Services and HR so candidates have a smooth experience.
  • Developed bespoke set of standardised questions for use at interview and exit stage as a source of feedback on the process.
  • Collated management information to monitor site and media traffic, complemented by advertising campaigns across a range of media and sponsored features.

Benefits and achievements

  • Sixty per cent of posts across Children’s Operational Services have been filled; and 100% of head of service and service manager posts.
  • Permanent to agency staff ratio has improved: in February 2015 it was 2.3 to 1, compared with 1.8 to 1 the month before.
  • Reduced length of the recruitment process, meaning better candidate retention and managers can start shortlisting before the end of the campaign.
  • Awareness of Wiltshire council has improved through social media campaigns; using analytics has helped to refine advertising spend.
  • Greater understanding of recruitment campaigns and improved collection of qualitative information from candidates and exit interviews means the council can address its recruitment and retention challenges.

Judges’ comments

“Nice to see a more targeted and consumer-focused approach to recruitment, with good metrics.”

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