Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Harris + Hoole take L&D prize (under 1,000 employees)

Harris + Hoole could not attend so XpertHR's Madeleine Graham collected the trophy on their behalf
Harris + Hoole could not attend so XpertHR's Madeleine Graham collected the trophy on their behalf

Roffey Park

Coffee chain Harris + Hoole received the Award for Excellence in Learning and Development (for firms with under 1,000 employees), sponsored by Roffey Park in the Personnel Today Awards 2015. Here we profile its winning entry and the submissions from our runners-up.

WINNER

Harris + Hoole

About the organisation

Harris + Hoole is an artisan, speciality coffee company. A joint venture between Taylor Street Baristas, an independent coffee business, and Tesco, its coffee shops can be found in South-East England.

The challenge

Since August 2013, the business has grown from zero to 46 outlets, with an opening plan of one to two new shops each week. The challenge for Harris and Hoole’s “People Team” is to hire eight to 12 employees (affectionately known as “Hooligans”) per shop, however, it has struggled to attract and retain managerial talent in the numbers needed.

What the organisation did

  • Designed and launched Personal Growth Journeys (PGJ), a structured development programme that delivers managerial talent to meet the demands of the store opening plan and reduce attrition levels.
  • Emphasised personal responsibility throughout the programme, with line managers and the People Team providing support and direction. PGJ ‘Hooligans’ benchmark their own performance, together with line manager and peer-reported feedback, against their “hunger for growth”.
  • Gave each Hooligan a PGJ folder, filled with bespoke assets that would encourage pride in learning, and that acted as scrapbook throughout their journey.
  • Aligned staff development with signature strengths (things they love to do, do often and do well) and business need. For each managerial role, a ‘My Role’ document outlines the key strengths required to be a successful manager.
  • Asked Hooligans to complete a self-discovery activity at the start of their PGJ, followed by a 1:1 with their manager to diagnose their learning journey and craft a bespoke learning programme.
  • Provided learning through a simple and accessible framework of Read, Watch and Do, a home-grown version of 70:20:10. This included “reading” the latest thought leadership related to our manager strengths, “watching” TED lectures and other video content, and “doing” on the job activities such as running a shift, stock ordering and cashing up.
  • Implemented Fuse, a cloud-based social learning platform. This enabled content to be carried out online with screencasts, micro-learning videos and the like.
  • Held a Growth Hack. This was an assessment centre that included networking opportunities, a presentation on learning reflections, a strengths-based interview and a group assessment. Upon completion, Hooligans received a public celebration on the intranet, and can apply for a manager position.

Benefits and achievements

  • Set the critical objective of having 25% of new manager roles filled by internal talent in year one. Within the first year, 126 Hooligans have moved through a PGJ and 35% of new manager roles have been filled by internal talent.
  • Attrition has dropped from 94% to 75%, while manager attrition has halved in this time, alongside the number of vacancies reducing from an average of 30 per month to 10.
  • In the most recent Happiness Survey, “career prospects” has become the second-highest scoring question, where previously it was 10th. The overall Happiness Score has hit 6/10, which represents the top 30% of organisations.
  • Customer net promoter score has increased from 57% to 65%.
  • Achieved these developments with a budget of only £20,000.

Judges’ comments
“A very strong entry showing how learning programmes can be innovative and impactful, both for employees and the organisation as a whole.”


 

RUNNERS-UP

CA Technologies

About the organisation

CA Technologies is a global software company producing security, application development and mainframe software for businesses. It has 520 UK employees based in both home and office locations.

The challenge

Within the HR department, there is a small team responsible for the talent development needs of both the organisation and individual employees across the whole of the UK and Europe. The team’s main challenge is to proactively engage with the business to design and align learning and development interventions that retain, motivate and engage. They should also allow the employee population to succeed and excel within the CA Technologies environment.

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

Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University

David Goddin, Change Continuum

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, CIPD

What the organisation did

  • Formed a Leadership Development Program for employees with a minimum of 12 months tenure, from mid-management level to senior leadership team.
  • Showed commitment to encouraging thought and people leadership across all levels of the organisation due to the mixed seniority level of the course.
  • Conducted two three-day sessions for each program in the UK, as well as a series of webinars hosted by the CA leadership team, promoting high performance and leadership values.
  • Ran focused sessions on trust, communication, emotional intelligence and enterprise leadership, as well as incorporating a number of self-awareness tools such as 360-degree assessments and immersive business simulations.
  • Built an intranet site to support a “leadership at all levels” philosophy, which includes podcasts, interactive presentations, sign-ups to classroom interventions and opportunities for peer networking.
  • Created a learning management system – a process whereby employees can sign up for courses and content that relate to a wide variety of talent development and employee education interventions spanning soft-skill development, technical knowledge and leadership training.
  • Developed a mentoring program – CA Effect.
  • Created a new program “Managing and Leading”, currently being piloted in the form of a seven-week virtual program. New managers are invited to commit one afternoon each week to explore being a manager at CA.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employee opinion survey found higher levels of engagement – particularly around perceptions of CA as an employer that values them and focuses on their career growth.
  • Previously disengaged high performers now recommit and re-engage with CA’s business and push for promotions, relocations and diverse opportunities as a result of their participation.
  • Formation of strong cross-functional, cross-level and cross-geographical networks.
  • Creation of diverse peer groups. These networks continue to exist after the program.
  • Employees are enabled and empowered to share innovation, ideas and support one another as they progress as leaders within CA.
  • Managing and Leading pilot has demonstrated how influential changes in manager behaviour can be to the employee population and addresses concerns recently raised on the employee opinion survey for some individuals new to management roles.

Judges’ comments

“Appreciated the range of solutions being delivered and how they worked in harmony.”


Gi Group

About the organisation

Gi Group provides recruitment, staffing and workforce management services to local and national clients of all sizes, placing an average of 13,700 flexible temporary staff into work each week across all market sectors. It directly employs 340 staff.

The challenge

Gi Group needed to invest in programmes that would improve employability in the markets in which it operates. It had previously worked with a training provider in delivering NVQs to candidates, but was disillusioned with the standard of training. Gi Group wanted to deliver exceptional training and opportunities and enable flexible employees to go on to become permanent employees at its client sites.

What the organisation did

  • Delivered several sector-based work academies, giving employment skills and work experience to the unemployed, in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus.
  • Applied in 2013 to become a Work Based Learning Provider via the Skills Funding Agency. Was one of only 70 large companies that were successful in securing this accreditation, and it can now run Intermediate Apprentice Programmes.
  • Created a training programme for existing members of staff to become assessors in addition to their current role.
  • Put 10 members of staff through an accredited Internal Assessor Programme. Of the 10 that have passed, three have gone on to gain their AET (teaching qualification) and are now full-time trainers.
  • Launched a training needs analysis in 2014, and set about creating a training programme for all assessors and trainers.
  • Created a Business Admin Apprentice Programme, which offered eight apprentices the opportunity to work in the internal Gi Group offices based at client sites. Four of the apprentices have secured permanent jobs with Gi Group.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employability Programme has improved employee engagement.
  • In 2014, the number of temporary workers who achieved permanent jobs with clients increased by over 40% to 3,530. These are mainly high-quality manufacturing jobs with clients such as BMW, Boots and Marks & Spencer.
  • Temp-to-perm programme means that the unemployed can demonstrate their capability to the prospective employer, rather than compete in an interview scenario where they may not have confidence.
  • Gi Group has put 759 unemployed people through sector-based work academies and 45% went on to work for the organisation.
  • It has employed 111 young people through the Youth Programme.
  • The group is getting more speculative applicants who want to work for it due to a positive perception of the company and the way it does business.

Judges’ comments

“A great example of how the organisation has taken an opportunity to transform the business model through an L&D solution.”


Grovelands Resourcing

About the organisation

Grovelands Resourcing works with clients in the financial services and technology industries to deliver the best quality contractors and permanent employees. It employs 70 people, with three working in HR.

The challenge

The company found that, after a period of extensive growth, labour turnover within the first three to six months was on the increase and exit interview analysis showed that this was due to a lack of career progression, coupled with employees discovering that recruitment was not for them.

What the organisation did

  • Recruited a new L&D adviser internally; someone with existing knowledge of the business, the ability to train and a keen interest in L&D.
  • Produced induction plans for all line managers. As a result, each new starter now receives a comprehensive plan for their first four weeks in the role.
  • Changed structure so that the company only hires trainee consultants instead of resourcers who receive a training programme to progress them to consultant in six to 12 months.
  • Developed training paths for each role, at each level, so each employee knows what they need to do to progress and how the company will support them in their aims.
  • Devised a career banding document that defines size of all roles within the organisation and shows, aside from specific objectives, what they need to do to get to the next level.
  • Encouraged employees to use this banding document in their career planning and share their aspirations with managers.
  • Provided courses for specific recruitment skills development, such as account management and business development.
  • Defined a competency framework so it can identify potential external training opportunities such as influencing, presenting with confidence, and interviewing.
  • Recruited an external leadership development firm to deliver a programme to managers. It is spending considerable time with the senior team, other managers and employees with a view to designing a bespoke programme.

Benefits and achievements

  • Internal engagement surveys have shown that employees are better engaged by the new structure and clear line of sight from one role to the next.
  • Retention has improved; the average six leavers per month has more than halved.
  • Trainees are delivering more quickly, because they receive a training programme designed to make them confident, knowledgeable and up to speed.
  • A better performance development process means all objectives are set in line with organisational goals and plans. The PDP element defines what support is needed to achieve those objectives, so L&D provisions are directly contributing to the achievement of the company vision and goals.
  • A next step is to create an L&D brochure, so that when an employee is having a meeting with their manager, discussing objectives and development, they can easily see what support is available to them.

Judges’ comments
“A comprehensive learning approach that is clearly having an impact.”


MarketMakers

About the organisation
MarketMakers is a telemarketing agency, based on the south coast, specialising in business-to-business lead generation and appointment setting campaigns. Launched in 2004 by Paul Thomas and Henry Braithwaite, the company has grown to a team of 250 people and works with clients including Virgin Atlantic, Barclaycard, Hyundai and VitalityHealth.

The challenge
At the end of 2013, the L&D department and senior management team at MarketMakers agreed that there was a real need to drive its Business School forward to the next level. While the school (established in 2012) was proving to be highly successful, management felt it was missing a focus on measured sales performance enhancement. Senior management had also identified a gap in talent for sales excellence.

What the organisation did

  • Designed and developed a sixth element, the Optimum Sales Programme, for the MarketMakers Business School, focused on improving sales excellence throughout the business.
  • Consisted of a 12-week programme made up of once-weekly 90-minute group “power sessions”, fortnightly individual mentoring sessions with the head of learning and development (L&D), focusing on goal setting (both personal and professional) and side-by side-coaching, helping individuals implement what they are learning on the job.
  • Created a blended approach of Power Sessions, personal mentorship, “guest” speakers, role-playing, one-to-one coaching, weekly assignments (homework), and assessments of knowledge.
  • Used DISC profiling to help assess strengths, and enable learners to enhance their own techniques when speaking with prospects and clients. This also facilitated the L&D team in delivering training and mentoring that was completely tailored to the individual.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since the launch of the programme, all delegates have completed the course.
  • Average campaign performance of all delegates who took part in the programme saw an increase of 17%.
  • MarketMakers were placed at number 35 in the Great Place to Work Survey in 2014, rising to number 21 in 2015.
  • Increased annual staff retention rate of 89%, compared with industry average of 66%.
  • Increase in revenue from existing clients rose from 61% to 75% in 2014.
  • More than eight in 10 (85%) of all delegates who completed the programme were promoted within six months.
  • Three candidates from the MarketMakers field sales team who completed the programme saw an average increase on sales revenue results by 17%, an average increase of 9% on average order value and an average increase on return per appointment of 20%.

Judges’ comments

“A strong entry showing a carefully crafted and purposeful programme that is demonstrating impact on participants and the business.”


nGage Specialist Recruitment

About the organisation
nGage Specialist Recruitment (formerly Human Capital Investment Group) is made up of boutique specialist recruitment businesses covering four core sectors (health and social care, public sector and not-for-profit, engineering and the built environment).

The challenge
After one of the deepest and longest recessions in memory, the majority of recruiters working at nGage were still in school the last time the UK economy was in a recovery phase. In the light of this, substantial focus had to go into equipping consultants with the skills to be able to address these new market conditions.

What the organisation did

  • Provided a set of 15 module-based courses, reviewed by the L&D team to ensure that they had a strong emphasis on candidate shortages, management and retention.
  • Created additional courses on candidate management and LinkedIn to address the greater need for pro-active candidate sourcing.
  • Instigated the Power up your Performance training programme. Team members were nominated by business directors with those in attendance ranging from CEOs to consultants in the early stages of their careers.
  • Focused on increasing the number of sales heads in the business; this has seen a net increase of 100 sales staff, and additional pressure on management.
  • Created the nGage Leadership Academy to develop the leadership skills of senior management in all of the group’s businesses. In total, 20 senior managers have successfully completed the Leadership Academy to date.
  • Designed the Recruitment Management Academy to help billing managers maintain their performance, while managing growing teams. Unlike the Leadership Academy, this was delivered by an in house L&D team, allowing it to be more tailored to the specific sectors the managers are operating in. It was also made to reflect the different sizes of teams they were managing.
  • Created the Recruitment Academy to recruit and train an intake of 10 to 12 high-potential young trainees every three months.

Benefits and achievements

  • In the last year alone, there have been seven successful intakes with an 80% pass rate; as consultants their average monthly billings are £12,861.
  • One hundred net new staff were successfully inducted into the business, contributing £2.9 million across 2013/14.
  • Staff retention rate is now at 76%.
  • Just under 100 employees promoted in last 12 months based on performance.
  • New managers hired, 36 in total.
  • Three new start-ups have successfully been inducted and trained on all internal systems and have already contributed £210,000 in billings so far this financial year.

Judges’ comments

“A strong, clear submission linking business needs to learning interventions/activities and demonstrating improved business results.”


Wolverhampton Homes

About the organisation

Wolverhampton Homes is an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) that manages council houses across Wolverhampton. It runs around 23,500 properties, including 1,900 leaseholds on behalf of Wolverhampton City Council.

The challenge

Wolverhampton Homes’ primary aim is to provide good-quality homes for people living in the area. But it must also contribute to the local economy and provide opportunities for skills development and employment in an area of high social deprivation. In 2013, the company’s employee profile showed that a number of senior managers could potentially leave the organisation together at some stage in the future, so succession planning became a key focus.

What the organisation did

  • Launched the Aspire programme in 2013 – with 78 colleagues self-selecting for a managerial improvement journey.
  • Provided delegates with a toolkit of management skills consisting of 12 modules.
  • Utilised YouTube, DVDs and plenty of team-building exercises, Aspire sparked the creativity and planning skills of its delegates.
  • Overcame the challenges of working with unfamiliar people; of the 78 delegates who began on the Aspire journey, more than 90% of them graduated from the scheme.
  • Tasked each group of delegates with creating a business plan for a new project for the business, culminating in a formal presentation of their project to the senior leadership team and directors at the end of the programme.
  • Adopted some ideas into business plans. These included the creation of a window-cleaning service to generate additional income and building a new sensory garden for tenants with dementia as part of corporate social responsibility projects.

Benefits and achievements

  • Wolverhampton Homes is, according to the Sunday Times, one of the top 50 organisations to work for in the not-for-profit sector.
  • One Aspire project has already been adopted by the business and represents the main pillar of this year’s corporate social responsibility plan.
  • The group has sourced £10,000 worth of grant funding from the Big Lottery to help build a new sensory garden in the city and support those with dementia. The aim is to help stimulate the senses of its visitors so that people can touch, smell and hear things which are familiar.
  • The organisation now has a small social enterprise called Wolverhampton Works that was set up to deliver new projects and act as an avenue to generate new commercial income and support out of work council tenants.

Judges’ comments

“A good solid approach to support well-defined business needs”.

 

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