Personnel Today Awards 2015: Savills ranked top in Learning & Development Award (1000+ employees)

Savills accept their award for learning and development in an organisation of 1000+ people.
Savills accept their award for learning and development in an organisation of 1000+ people.

Roffey Park

Savills UK were victorious in the Personnel Today Awards 2015 for their learning and development initiatives. Here we profile their winning entry, plus the other contributions made by organisations nominated for the Award for Excellence in Learning and Development (more than 1,000 employees).

Learning and Development (1,000+ employees) – the judges

Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University
David Goddin, Change Continuum
Ksenia Zheltoukhova, CIPD

WINNER

Savills (UK)

About the organisation

Savills plc is a global real estate services provider. It has an international network of more than 600 offices and associates throughout the US, the UK, continental Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services.

The challenge

Pitch success rate in 2011 was just 50% and particularly strained for more complex pitches. Expecting Savills reputation and experience to carry them, experienced surveyors were compiling pitches last minute with no preparation or rehearsal; less experienced employees were following suit. Savills’ head of development approached the people development team in 2012 and asked for help improving pitching skills.

What the organisation did 

  • Designed an in-house course, in conjunction with Mercuri International.
  • Senior fee earners and business development colleagues within the development services team gave their time to be interviewed by Mercuri about: their current approach to pitching; their perceived strengths and weaknesses; their identified success and failure factors; and typical projects they had pitched for in the past, both won and lost.
  • Created a two-day workshop “Raising the Bar” (RtB), comprising a series of masterclasses of best practice techniques, such as building personal and professional rapport and handling objectives.
  • Interspersed with the masterclasses, delegates took part in realistic and challenging meeting simulations, designed to resemble the sales process end-to-end, from an initial five-minute fact finding call with the client, to individual meetings with three key stakeholders, and finally preparing and making the final pitch to them.
  • Split attendees into teams in a competition to win the prestigious contract, re-enacting the real-life competitive nature of the process. A coach works alongside them as they experiment with the new techniques and peer-to-peer feedback helps hone their approach.

Benefits and achievements

  • Before the course, Savills won 50% of pitches. In 2014, the development services team achieved 60% pitch success, meeting an incremental target of 10% and sitting 5% above the current company average.
  • To demonstrate RtB’s contribution to this figure, employees have estimated that they have won at least an average of 8% more pitches since attending.
  • There has been a 44 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before making a telephone call; a 47.1 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before a meeting; and a 27.7 percentage point increase in the number of people who rehearse before a pitch.
  • Employees who have attended RtB were asked to estimate the approximate value of additional fees they have won as a result of the training. The average estimate was £18,381 (increasing to £20,077 when singling out the development team whose course has been running the longest).
  • These estimates equate to a combined total of £772,000. This has therefore produced an approximate return on investment figure of 348%.

Judges’ comments

“Clearly an L&D response aligned to business need with compelling metrics to illustrate the impact.”


RUNNERS UP

PageGroup

About the organisation

Established in 1976, PageGroup has grown to become one of the world’s best-known and most respected recruitment consultancies. With operations in 35 countries, the group provides recruitment services and career opportunities on a local, regional and global level.

The challenge

In 2013, results from its first global employee engagement survey indicated that, while PageGroup is a place where people feel proud to work, it needed to be more transparent about its proposition to its people as they consider their career prospects.

What the organisation did

  • Reinforced its long-term offering; clarifying various career journeys so every employee can now see where each path could take them.
  • Gave new joiners professional development from the outset.
  • Designed sales academy programmes to equip consultants with key sales skills, approaches and behaviours.
  • Partnered with an external sales training organisation and took a deliberate step towards pure sales training.
  • Focused on key areas including: greater sales confidence; ownership of “desk” and business; better relationships with clients and candidates; more jobs to recruit; consistently high revenue generation.
  • Delivered a new management development programme. The overarching objective is to enable managers at all levels to develop skills and behaviours to improve retention and engagement, and build a profitable and sustainable business.
  • Expanded its leadership development with the implementation of leadership development programmes.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since 2013, fee earner headcount increased by 12%.
  • Attrition levels reduced by 6%.
  • Profitability increased by 8.9%.
  • There is a correlation between consistent, engaging and effective training and employee motivation and engagement levels.

Judges’ comments

“A good robust programme of learning activity.”


Rentokil Initial

About the organisation

Rentokil Initial is one of the largest business service companies in the world, comprising a number of global brands including Rentokil, Initial and Ambius.

The challenge

2013 saw the appointment of a new CEO, Andy Ransom, who outlined his business plan (The RIGHT Way). The plan focused on ensuring the organisation had the “RIGHT People, doing the RIGHT Things (for customers) in the RIGHT Way” (for shareholders). The company also needed a fundamental shift in culture and a leadership framework to drive new ways of working.

What the organisation did 

  • Commissioned the “Leader in Me” approach to disseminate the RIGHT Way across the business.
  • Identified a need to provide a clear and consistent message for the key community of leaders and to provide a strong leadership community across all markets.
  • Created the following principles: learning is transferable to the workplace and learning opportunities are created from everyday work situations; great leadership starts with emotional maturity and increased self-awareness; personal change always has to begin with oneself and flow outward; sustainable change comes from working on several levels – behaviour, mindset, emotions and purpose; and as adults we learn best through experience, and reflecting on our experiences, rather than being taught or told.
  • Aligned these principles with the RIGHT Way philosophy.
  • Provided an intensive personal growth experience, focusing on deepening the emotional and psychological development of leaders.
  • Challenged and strongly supported participants through a “vertical learning” process.
  • Gave further one-to-one coaching and offered ongoing practice through the leading of action learning sets on other programmes or ensuring leaders mentor others in the management community.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 90 leaders have attended Leader in Me, driving high performance and change.
  • Course evaluation shows that leaders felt that the programme boosted their confidence and improved their leadership capability.
  • Most feel that their ability to stand back, reflect, listen and think about their response has led to improved relationships and team engagement.
  • Sales colleague retention improved by 2% (cost of replacing 1% of sales reps is around £0.5 million).
  • Service colleague retention improved by 3%.
  • Service levels improved from 1% to 99% on time service and increases in customer satisfaction.
  • Overall revenue growth up 3.6% in 2014 and up 6.2% in Q1 2015.
  • Share price more than doubled from 61p to £1.50.

Judges’ comments

“Significant challenge, well articulated. The solution appears rigorous and the impact [is] showing despite the infancy of the programme.”


Vaultex

About the organisation
Vaultex is a leading cash processing company. It processes 40% of the UK’s cash requirement. The business is a challenging combination of factory operations and logistics, combined with highly complex treasury, financial, IT, security and consulting activities. It employs more than 2,000 people across multiple sites in the UK‎.

The challenge
Historically, most of Vaultex’s training was classroom based. People were also expected to attend training sessions irrespective of their ability to perform a task. In addition, the nature of the business means that many Vaultex people work unconventional shift patterns, which made scheduling training difficult. A modern method of training was required that considered people’s individual learning styles and existing knowledge, while expanding their skills.

What the organisation did

  • Restructured and expanded L&D team to support a new learning approach.
  • Expanded training: the L&D team worked with the whole business to establish training needs – ranging from legislative/regulatory to operational process training.
  • Created a new blended learning approach, which combines online learning (VOLT, or Vaultex on-line Training) with on-the-job training supported by a line manager.
  • Trialled VOLT in early 2013 with core modules. VOLT’s scope has continued to expand – adding new training modules, guides and videos on a frequent basis.
  • Worked on a more engaging approach to on-boarding. Using the VOLT platform, an on-boarding portal was developed that provides new starters with simple and informative training prior to their first day of employment.
  • Allowed all new starters to have the opportunity to meet Vaultex’s CEO in their first month and pose any questions they may have.
  • Replaced existing two-day classroom session with online induction program – reducing training time by 50%, while allowing new starters to absorb new information at their own pace.

Benefits and achievements

  • Reduced training costs by 30%, while increasing the number of hours spent on training and assessment – primarily through identifying areas where people are competent and no additional training is required.
  • Standardised training across all of Vaultex’s sites, ensuring consistency and compliance, while providing real-time data to help managers keep an eye on areas where their employees might need additional training and support.
  • There is a wide range of modules for Vaultex employees to choose from – 76 in all. First-time pass rates are 93% – with additional individual support bringing that figure up to 100%.
  • Time taken to pass an assessment has fallen dramatically to under 10 minutes.
  • The programme has saved Vaultex more than 10,000 hours, and 55,000 assessments have been passed to date.
  • Some 74% of Vaultex people found VOLT useful for mandatory training (14% were neutral)
  • VOLT’s role in people development has played a prominent part in Vaultex’s retention of its Investor in People (IIP) Gold Award. It also became an IIP Champion earlier this year.

Judges’ comments

“A good submission showing how learning technology and tailoring solutions to meet business requirements can create consistency and efficiency.”


Viapath Group

About the organisation

Viapath is one of the largest and most successful providers of pathology services in the UK. It is owned by both the private and public sector – an innovative collaboration that has required a sophisticated approach to organisation development. It has around 1,070 permanent employees; more than 60% of whom have worked in the NHS prior to joining Viapath.

The challenge

Healthcare scientists’ skills are rare and valuable to global organisations. However, the early development of scientists is focused on the relevant science and technologies, rather than leadership or interpersonal skills. There is a need to help future potential scientific leaders develop a wider repertoire of skills. The organisation needed to help its employees gain an appreciation of their innate strengths and how they can be used when working with others is important.

What the organisation did

  • Launched Viapath’s Innovation Academy in 2012 as a forum for scientists to share developments, signalling clear intention to current and future employees that the organisation is serious about investing in people.
  • Hosted two events a year that are free to all employees and those in the wider healthcare arena; the events draw national and international speakers at the top of their fields
  • Launched Innovation Fund (IF) in 2014, as an opportunity for all employees to apply for “seed-funding” to test new scientific ideas or ways of working.
  • Created Future Leaders in Innovation (FLiI) in 2013. Members of the FLiI group are keen and ambitious Viapath professionals in the early stages of their careers.
  • Ensured, via FLiI, that attendees learn three key principles of working in a progressive organisation: understanding oneself; models of leadership; and working with others.
  • Started the Scientific Learning and Development Fund (SLDF) in February 2014. This fund provides a focus for the strategically important area of scientific learning and development, allowing employees more control over their career destiny and appropriate investment in their scientific development.
  • Aligned investment to Viapath’s current and future needs, addressing service opportunities while focusing on equality of opportunity and access at all levels across all locations and services.

Benefits and achievements

  • Innovation Fund has generated new internal and external collaborations that have generated new scientific discovery and improvements in patient care. They have also generated £3 million in extra revenue.
  • Future Leaders in Innovation (FLiI) group has doubled in size with plans to expand. They are a trusted source as the voice of the junior scientific community.
  • Viapath actively encourages greater mobility of people across the organisation, with members of the FLiI already securing promotions.
  • FLiI members help to recruit other members; ensuring a fair, equitable and transparent process.
  • The initiative has helped the organisation develop and deliver a commercially viable reward strategy that is linked to company, team and individual performance and underpins growth aspirations.
  • Reduction of employee turnover rates from 14.08% (2013) to 11.8% (2014).
  • Staff engagement score increased by 5% over the last two employee surveys.
  • Investment in the Innovation Academy has underpinned revenue growth of 34%.

Judges’ comments

“A strong submission with an innovative approach to blending learning and development opportunities.”


Virgin Care

About the organisation

Virgin Care is a private provider of services to NHS England. It owns 24 GP-led provider companies that provide NHS services through networks of GP surgeries; and community-based NHS services.

The challenge

The organisation needed to retain its high-potential employees, managers and frontline teams, many of whom were based in different locations. This needed to be done through training, with the indirect aim of transforming heathcare for patients.

What the organisation did

  • Developed and launched three programmes: Inspire; Flourish; and Evolve, underpinned by consulting partner TypeCoach.
  • Focused on building broad transformational skills.
  • Aimed to build merger and acquisition-type skills such as making fast people decisions and creating opportunities for catalysts to change the culture.
  • Worked on authoritative and engaging leadership.
  • Fostered truly trusted partnerships and stakeholder management.
  • Created a way of working that is implicit and understood by all, focused on experiential and group learning.
  • Targeted 350 managers with the Flourish programme, and aimed to give them the opportunity to become great leaders, via four training modules delivered in mass-participation format.

Benefits and achievements

  • From a £100,000 total investment in Inspire, there has already been a saving of £160,000 in recruitment fees, filling internal positions with talent that have been through accelerated development – including three promotions to executive team.
  • Flourish and Evolve has been a combined investment of £250,000, but the organisation is already realising savings.
  • A 5% decrease in stress levels at work is already realising a potential saving of £80,000 in lower absence levels; £5,000 has been saved so far.
  • A 22% increase in intention to stay at Virgin Care is already realising a potential saving of £1 million on lower recruitment costs; £100,000 saved so far.
  • A 13% improvement in people engagement is boosting discretionary effort.
  • Patient Friends and Family Test satisfaction scores have increased by 20.8%.

Judges’ comments

“A strong submission showing a range of development approaches underpinned with an innovative tool.”


Virgin Money

About the organisation

Virgin Money is a UK-based bank and financial services company owned by the Virgin Group and founded by Sir Richard Branson in March 1995. At the beginning of 2012, it acquired Northern Rock in a deal worth up to £1 billion.

The challenge

Following an intense period of integration since the acquisition, focus in 2014 shifted to developing a platform for future business growth. However, following Virgin Money’s 2013 colleague engagement survey, there was evidence that it needed to improve managers’ capabilities.

What the organisation did

  • Created a management programme that was different and memorable and yet still delivered the transformation needed across the organisation.
  • Designed and delivered “Me as a Manager”, a six-month programme for 435 managers across the business.
  • Invited managers by personalised e-ticket, to the start of their journey. They brought their ticket to the first event as their “boarding card”.
  • Each learning group was set up as a community on the “hub”, an internal social media platform. Here, they watched and commented on thought-provoking videos and get to know each other.
  • Challenged managers to think differently through innovative learning experiences including:
    • Building our bank: Lego challenge highlighting the challenges associated with communication, engaging with leadership and teams.
    • Business simulation: managing and motivating a virtual team.
    • Conversations with actors: bringing to life the issues encountered during the business simulation, providing opportunity to practice driving performance.
    • Learning from Olympians: goal setting and motivation techniques used to deliver gold medal performance in the world of sport, translated into business.
    • Coaching for performance: managers develop approach through “coaching” a colleague in basketball, a golf simulator and cricket.
    • Relay teams; smaller teams formed to identify improvements to customer experience and drive collaboration and teamwork across the business

Benefits and achievements

  • Generated 120 innovative new ideas on how the organisation can build a better kind of bank.
  • Refined an existing mortgage process so it now positively impacts the customer experience, driving retention, incremental spend and advocacy.
  • Increased footfall through Virgin Money “lounges”, driving product penetration.
  • More than seven in 10 (71%) employees felt they had opportunities to learn and grow – up from 55%.
  • Two-thirds (66%) felt that the training they received was of benefit to them – up from 51%.
  • Almost three-quarters (71%) said their manager helped them to fulfil their potential.
  • Seven in 10 (70%) employees disagreed with the statement “Managers at VM do a lot of telling, and not much listening”.
  • More than nine in 10 (92%) colleagues have appropriate performance objectives in place – up from 87%.
  • The “Me as a Manager” programme has led to a dramatic shift in colleague engagement, how people feel about their development and how they feel about their manager.

Judges’ comments

“Innovative approach that illustrates the impact on individuals and the business. Examples of the ‘experiences’ created by managers as a result of the programme would have been interesting to see.”


Wales & West Utilities

About the organisation

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) began operations in June 2005 after the gas distribution network was sold by National Grid. The company operates around 35,000 kilometres of gas pipelines, serving 2.5 million homes and businesses across Wales and the South-West of England.

The challenge

In 2012, the business underwent a workforce review and, due to business changes and developments, it was identified that a different skill-set was required from middle management. This tier of the workforce had traditionally worked as technical supervisors and focused on delivering a workload. With a new title of first line managers (FLM), they would be required to continue with work delivery, while taking on responsibility for managing their team’s performance and budgets.

What the organisation did

  • After deciding initially not to offer specific training, anecdotal feedback suggested that these roles lacked the skills, confidence and understanding necessary to meet their new responsibilities.
  • Set about investigating the skills gaps that required immediate attention, and developed a new, bespoke programme, “Managing for Performance”(MfP)
  • Developed business-wide modules tailored for current FLMs to allow them to do their jobs effectively.
  • Spent time with employees on a one-to-one basis, and in groups, to undertake a skills analysis.
  • Agreed a first tranche of modules focused on the biggest areas of need, including: managing people; managing performance; managing budgets; managing customers; managing information and managing health and safety.
  • Tasked internal subject experts, working with the HR directorate, with putting together the content to address the specific elements required by FLMs.
  • Created learning modules based on “real-life” business experiences with WWU so that all FLMs could relate to the material to allow them to put the training to use immediately.
  • Ensured the format for each workshop was influenced by the subject – and ranged from a case-study-based workshop for managing people to a classroom and online mix for managing information.

Benefits and achievements

  • A 95% take up rate from the FLM population, proving the need and desire to learn.
  • MfP is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management and successful candidates are awarded an ILM NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Management.
  • The programme is constantly reviewed and there are currently two modules in development (managing performance conversations and managing change), which were piloted in June 2015, in addition to managing streetworks and managing vehicles, added since the launch.
  • Success of MfP inspired the FLM traineeship, which launched in February 2015. This gives colleagues who have no managerial experience the opportunity to have a six-month training placement as an FLM on a work shadow basis, as well as completing the MfP programme.
  • The opportunity was extremely popular with 67 applicants compared to an average of two applications for any vacant FLM roles.
  • To date, 99% of FLMs have been through MfP, with another 150 individuals having gone through the programme in line with their training needs. A further 100 are scheduled to undergo training over the next six months.

Judges’ comments

“A strong, clear submission responding to business needs with a tailored learning programme that is well received.”

Comments are closed.