Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Dorchester Collection triumph in Employee Engagement Award (more than 1000 employees)

dorchester-employee-engagement
Dorchester Collection collect their award for employee engagement at the 2015 awards.

Dorchester Collection takes home the 2015 Personnel Today Employee Engagement Award (for those with more than 1000 employees)

WINNER

Dorchester Collection

About the organisation

Dorchester Collection (DC) is a luxury hotel operator owned by the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. It owns and manages 10 luxury five star hotels.

The challenge

Employees were not fully engaged in complaint handling – guest engagement scores highlighted a mismatch between guest complaints and employee responses. It was time to address employee engagement, what it actually meant and therefore achieved, and change the way the business viewed its people.

What the organisation did

  • Held annual executive forums to ensure all leaders share in the common culture and direction.
  • Arranged for director for global guest experience and innovation to visit hotels four times per year where teams present the action plan update on employee and guest engagement activities.
  • Introduced an in-house learning and development programme, “The Academy” which was set up to ensure tailored development reflects trends in guest and people engagement feedback and establishes learning partnerships with colleagues.
  • Created “ProMisses” – problems and missed expectations – to solve guest issues – data continues to be analysed each month in order to establish learning requirements and deliver tailored training through The Academy.
  • Implemented an overarching brand – “We Care” – underpinned by core values and used this across all properties and within all internal communications.
  • Introduced social media platforms and redesigned the website; created “The Lounge” intranet, encouraging employees to communicate across the organisation; and implemented our “Your Future” online performance tool to encourage individual career progression.
  • Launched internal “Values Awards”, showcasing high levels of employee engagement.

Benefits and achievements

  • Overall employee engagement is now consistently at 90%+, an increase of 3%.
  • Saved more than £1.7 million in attrition costs; 18% more people applied to work for the brand in 2014; and 90.3% of employees are “engaged”.
  • Number of people leaving after 100 days has dropped from 20.8% to 13.7% due to the Academy induction programme.
  • 100% positive feedback on L&D programmes – exceeding the target by 10%.
  • Closing the loop between guest and employee engagement led to a £9.8 million revenue increase.
  • Actively disengaged guests decreased by 9%, saving £11.3 million, while guest complaint handling improved by 3%.
  • 15% of employees were promoted or transferred within the group (representing 450 employees), while labour turnover has decreased from 29% to 20% in two years.
  • Every employee completed “Your Future”, resulting in robust succession planning and reporting.
  • Employee engagement survey revealed that: 96% agree their hotel excels at keeping them informed; 98% are proud to work for Dorchester Collection; 94% plan to continue working for Dorchester Collection; 93% trust the executive team to follow through with their commitments; and 95% would recommend the company as a good place to work.

Judges’ comments

“An exceptional example of linking employee engagement with a powerful brand and driving excellent customer experience through a holistic strategy, underpinned by excellent data analysis.”


RUNNERS-UP

BMW Group UK and Ireland

About the organisation

In 2011, BMW Group UK reported sales of 116,642 BMW and 50,138 MINI vehicles, representing an 8.59% share of the total UK car market. BMW Group employs around 8,000 people directly in the UK, with an additional 11,000 in its 147-strong retailer network representing BMW and MINI brands.

Employee benefits – the judges

Mark Withers, Mightywaters consulting

Wendy Cartwright, University of East London

The challenge

BMW wanted to improve the wellbeing of BMW employees “in ways which enhance engagement and support organisational performance”. Working in partnership with Duradiamond Healthcare Limited, it developed objectives to build on the success of previous absence management plans; develop best practice, sustainable initiatives and processes; and orientate and maintain low absence targets.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with occupational health to develop a pioneering health and wellbeing programme for BMW Group in the UK.
  • Focused the programme primarily on: the ageing workforce; musculoskeletal conditions; work-life balance; obtaining a better understanding of occupational health issues; engaging with individuals about what matters to them; and delivering behavioural changes and improved performance.
  • Developed a strong business model and growth plan with a collaborative approach, including working with the Health Impact Forum.
  • Recognised the importance of communicating effectively to ensure high take-up. Ensured programme was recognised under the “Health Initiative” brand.
  • Positioned “20-minute MOT healthchecks”, conducted by specialist nurses and delivered at on-site occupational health centres.
  • Linked national sports events and themes, such as during the London 2012 Olympic Games when tickets were awarded to associates who had become more “active”.
  • Introduced other new features such as healthy eating campaigns, smoking cessation courses, biological age checks and resilience training.
  • Held BMW “family days”, which have increased awareness and access to the wider community.

Benefits and achievements

  • Enabled BMW to raise awareness of health and wellbeing.
  • Given associates the ability to recognise personal health issues.
  • Provided advice and support in an engaging and meaningful way.
  • Given people the means to take control of their own health and empowered them to reduce health risks by making healthier lifestyle choices.
  • Helped individuals feel healthier and more confident. Resilience has increased, boosting people’s power and performance both at work and at home.
  • Significantly reduced sickness absence rates and kept them in check over the longer term.
  • Job morale and satisfaction have increased.

Judges’ comments

“A strong entry and well set out. Focused on one component of benefits (health and wellbeing) and success of approach evidenced by being adopted by other BMW companies across the world.”


DHL International UK Ltd

About the organisation

DHL Express is a market leader in the international express business, specialising in time and day critical shipments across the globe, with a 50+% market share in the UK. Working across more than 40 locations, it has more than 3,500 employees working in roles ranging from drivers to customer service agents and support staff to warehouse workers.

The challenge

As DHL continued to go head-to-head with its competitors, it understood that to set itself apart, it needed to reconnect with SMEs, a crucial target market for continued growth. The challenge it faced was giving its staff the knowledge and confidence to be international specialists, while retaining employees’ passion and “can-do spirit” and growing its smaller customer base.

What the organisation did

  • Rolled out the world’s largest employee engagement programme, a £120-million investment covering 100,000 employees across 220 countries, costing £800 per employee.
  • Introduced a number of other campaigns, which: communicated the company strategy; the importance of living the DHL values; increased employee knowledge; drove continual development; increased team work; and delivered active leadership.
  • Held a series of training workshops and ongoing campaigns through a bespoke UK version of the Certified International Specialist programme.
  • Introduced “Know-It-All” campaign, including an engaging pub quiz with a national final and £2,000 prize.
  • Developed quarterly “Boardwalk” programme led by CEO, where the team visit every location, meeting every courier and sales person.
  • Hosted a “listening focus” campaign, enabling a better understanding of the challenges staff faced that make them less engaged.
  • Developed an online benefits portal that staff can access anywhere.
  • Added more flexibility and choice of rewards and benefits including: doubling paternity; increasing long-service awards; and improving wellbeing (such as flu jabs and optional standing desks).
  • Hosted an annual “Big Day Out”, giving employees the chance to have fun with their families at a theme park with free entry, food vouchers and goody bags for children.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since launching the benefits portal, 88% of employees have registered voluntarily.
  • Led to a 50% decline in staff turnover in some areas.
  • Take-up of “know-it-all” quiz by 1,046 employees was 30% above target.
  • Growth measures including turnover, profit, shipments per day, revenue per kilo and margin are all up from 2012 to 2013 and again from 2013 to 2014.
  • Turnover rose from £543 million in 2012 to £655 million in 2014, a 20% improvement; and management profit increased from £74 million in 2012 to £75 million in 2014.
  • Annual employee opinion survey achieved 94% participation in 2014, an increase from 92% in 2013 and a 5% improvement in employee engagement in 2014.
  • Staff turnover stands at 10.2%, significantly lower than the industry average of 13%, while average length of service is nine years.
  • Non-attendance has declined by 1% overall, and maintained for more than 12 months.

Judges’ comments

“There was clearly a huge investment in running an employee engagement programme, which shows that the company was serious. What struck me was less the range of core activities but some of the innovative ideas that sprung from them.”


HomeServe Membership

About the organisation

Operating in the UK, US, France and Spain, Homeserve has more than 4.5 million customers worldwide and is continuing to grow rapidly. It offers home emergency and repair services and is partnered with many major utilities and appliance manufacturers.

The challenge

After a series of unprecedented challenges and a fine of £30 million by the Financial Conduct Authority in February 2014, a new customer charter was created, which achieved its target of increasing customer numbers to just over 2 million. Having rebuilt customer trust, it was clear that employee engagement also needed an overhaul. In 2013, employee engagement was recorded at just 56%, so Homeserve set an objective of increasing this to 80% by 2020.

What the organisation did

  • Modelled on its customer charter, Homeserve created a “People’s Charter”, which was aimed at involving every part of the business in establishing a set of values and improving the employee/employer relationship.
  • A series of all-employee cascades were arranged across the business, where all of the 1,700 employees who attended had the opportunity to select their top five values.
  • More than 200 people attended informal cafe-style workshops, drawing out the positives of HomeServe as a great place to work and collating ideas on making it better and what behaviours employees expected from each other.
  • Pop-ups were arranged to further refine the findings with an online version to enable engineers to contribute.
  • Day workshops were held, led by an award-winning business coach, involving 100 leaders and 100 people from across the business.
  • Launched a recognition scheme in conjunction with the charter, which involved the introduction of “thank you e-cards”.
  • Introduced an award programme designed to recognise individuals who have demonstrated the values and made a real difference to customers and the business.
  • Created a new “people champion” role, which provides a bottom-up approach to support managers in creating and sustaining energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the people charter promises and engagement.

Benefits and achievements

  • Demonstrating involvement and engagement, 1,700 people got involved in determining the values, more than were 700 involved in shaping the promises and the behaviours, 500+ attended the initial launch (in March 2015) and more than 2,000 attended the “cascades”.
  • Sickness absence has reduced by 35% between November 2014 and February 2015.
  • Contribution levels on Yammer significantly increased over the past six months – 66% staff played an active part, compared with 17% previously recorded; and a total of 6,299 messages were sent in one month.
  • CEO Martin Bennett achieved a 97% approval rating on Glassdoor and ranked as No.4 in the top-ranked UK CEOs.
  • Latest engagement survey results show that in just 18 months it has achieved a 22% uplift in engagement to 78%, with every part of the business showing an increase. In the past six months alone, there has been an increase of 8%.
  • With all of the foundations in place, it is well placed to achieve its target of 80%  – well within the 2020 timeframe that has been set.

Judges’ comments

“HomeServe have made a considerable investment over the past 18 months in regaining the trust of employees and customers. I liked the range of activities used to engage employees and the effort made to involve the field workforce. ”


London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q)

About the organisation

L&Q is one of around 2,000 housing associations that operate in the UK. It was founded in 1963 by a group of young professionals in South-East London to provide quality housing for people in housing need. Now, with more than 70,000 properties and 1600 staff in 18 offices, L&Q is one of the largest housing associations in UK providing affordable rented accommodation and supported housing for vulnerable adults and young people.

The challenge

After undergoing a significant structural change – in response to changing government policy and initiatives as well as the backdrop the economic recession – the leadership team recognised that employee engagement would be an essential ingredient for survival and future success.

As a customer-focused organisation, L&Q knew that its employees needed to be 100% engaged with its values to deliver a great service to its residents. In response, it decided that “living the L&Q values” would be the best indicator of engagement.

What the organisation did

  • As part of the development of its corporate plan, L&Q agreed to develop a strong, purposeful culture that promotes its values and balances commercial need with social ethics.
  • Recruited more than 50 employee engagement champions who play a key role in helping to identify and share examples of employee engagement.
  • Shared the results of the Great Places to Work survey with champions for them to use in conjunction with employee engagement survey results when planning their local action plans.
  • Tasked a group of managers to develop a change management framework for L&Q to help ensure that a consistent approach is adopted across the group.
  • Reviewed all management training programmes to ensure that messages around values are embedded into these courses.
  • Created a “workplace pledge” that enabled engagement with staff across L&Q and helped to define the psychological contract.
  • Put a training programme in place to support champions in order to provide a clearer understanding of their roles and to develop the necessary skills.
  • Introduced: suggestion boxes for staff to encourage them to put forward ideas; one-to-one Q and A sessions; monthly blogs from senior management; engagement newsletters; and team-building events.
  • Held a staff conference at Wembley stadium in 2014, which included: an energizing opening session; staff awards; workshops; and guest speakers.

Benefits and achievements

  • People feel recognised, each department has a budget to make awards ranging from £10 to £200, give out certificates and even give time off if targets are achieved.
  • Turnover is low, well under 14% target and, in 2014, 40% of its recruitment was sourced by internal promotion.
  • Majority (82%) of L&Q employees say they would recommend it as an employer to their friends and family.
  • Ninety-six per cent of employees say they understand how their work contributes to the success of L&Q, 88% are proud to work for the company and 96% understand the values of L&Q.
  • Staff conference feedback was excellent: 98.5% of attendees were positive about the organisation of the event, more than 85% rated all the content as satisfactory or above, with the surprise energiser attracting an “excellent” rating form more than 60% of delegates.

Judges’ comments

“This is a good, solid entry. The focus is on living the values. The link between engaged employees and customer satisfaction is made but the challenge isn’t particularly clear.”


Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

About the organisation

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust provides a range of acute services and is the second-largest employer in the area with more than 7,000 employees, including Ministry of Defence colleagues. It has a catchment of 675,000 and it the busiest maternity department in the South-East, delivering more than 6,000 babies per year.

The challenge

In spring 2013, the 2012 National Staff Survey (NSS) results were disappointing, with 13 of 28 key findings in the bottom 20%, or below average of acute trusts nationally, and only 56% of staff agreeing that patient care is the organisation’s top priority. Overall, staff engagement was in the lowest 20%, with only 36% of staff reporting they were satisfied that the organisation valued their work. Only 44% recommended the trust as a place to work, while just 57% recommended it as a place to have treatment. It was clear that a radical approach to engaging staff was needed.

What the organisation did

  • Led by the CEO, a methodology called “Listening into Action” (LiA) was chosen to develop an open and honest culture in which staff felt comfortable raising concerns and ideas that were considered and responded to.
  • Six staff conversations took place in May 2013, launching LiA as a new way of working – 400 staff from across the organisation attended, sharing their views about what would make the biggest difference to patients and staff.
  • “The Framework” focuses on three dimensions of change: quality and safety; patient experience; working together, incorporating all aspects of how a ward, department or service works.
  • Teams are coached through a “journey”, beginning with a clear view of how they are performing, and takes them through a process to engage all the right people; identify the biggest opportunities for improvement; and deliver measurable outcomes.
  • Further teams held staff conversations, targeting audiences to empower staff to identify solutions and better ways of working.
  • The whole process has been supported by a core sponsor group; consultants, nurses, midwives, managers, radiographer, executive directors, military colleagues and staff side representatives, who have actively and visibly championed the approach.

Benefits and achievements

  • The 2014 NSS results placed Portsmouth NHS Trust in the top 20% acute trusts in 10 Key Findings, including:
    • almost three-quarters (72%) of staff said patient care was top priority (+16% on 2012 figures and +10% from 2013);
    • the percentage of staff having well-structured appraisals increased to 43% (+9%);
    • a 15% increase in staff recommending it as a place to work (from 44% to 59%); and
    • a 9% increase in staff recommending it as a place to have treatment (from 57% to 66%).
  • Compared with 2013 NSS results, the number of staff believing that senior managers try to involve staff in important decisions increased 9% to 37%; and the number stating that that they are satisfied with the extent to which the organisation values their work increased 8% to 46%.
  • Overall, staff engagement places Portsmouth 56th of 138 acute trusts, moving from 114th of 142 trusts in 2012.
  • Other measurable LiA outcomes include: 20% reduction in delayed x-rays; 12% more patients x-rayed in core hours; cancelled portering journeys reduced from 230 to 50 per month; additional ultrasound room resulting in more patients being scanned; centralised referral document improving the speed of internal patient referrals; reductions in theatres equipment waste; dedicated porters for echo-cardiology inpatient scans; and increased productivity by 25%, with patients scanned within 24 hours improving by 15%.

Judges’ comments

“I was impressed with the actions taken by this NHS Trust, but I think that these need to be sustained over a longer period of time for the real impact to be properly understood.”


Ulster Bank

About the organisation

Ulster Bank, a retail and corporate bank, is part of the RBS group. It serves 1.9 million personal and business customers through 175 outlets across Ireland and employs almost 6,000 people.

The challenge

As a business, Ulster Bank has gone through a period of significant challenge, while working through the immediate effects of the financial crisis. Uncertainty in the banking sector had meant that employee’s pay had been frozen from 2010 to 2015, three redundancy schemes had resulted in 28% of employees leaving the business, and a technology failure cost more than €100 million to the bank in operational and redress costs. Due to the subsequent relocation of 3500 employees, the bank decided to bring forward the introduction of its new engagement and flexible working strategy.

What the organisation did

  • As a first step, HR directly engaged with all employees, through facilitated “employee listening” sessions, where 300 employees shared flexible working practice ideas in response to the property moves.
  • HR issued an online flexible working survey to understand the best approach to take, to which 1,700 employees responded.
  • Survey results showed that 80% of respondents wanted to work more flexibly, yet more than 60% did not believe flexible working was culturally supported.
  • In addition, 78% (in the Republic of Ireland) and 70% (in Northern Ireland) perceived flexible working as a key retention factor.
  • Of those between the ages of 25 and 34, 85% said they would be more likely to stay with Ulster Bank if they could work more flexibly.
  • Survey results led to the creation of UB Choice, Ulster Bank’s flexible working programme.
  • Workshops were held with 180 people leaders to educate and up-skill them in managing flexible working.
  • UB Choice Champions were appointed in each business area who reported weekly to the HR project team on issues and discussed possible solutions.
  • The head of HR drove communications in a series of transparent emails and intranet updates that illustrated the urgent business need to relocate employees, the cost-saving rationale and the support the organisation would offer.
  • An interactive intranet site was created to support the project, which housed a variety of resources such as: support material for line managers; videos of the leadership team promoting the programme; employees sharing their experience of flexible working; the options available; and FAQs.

Benefits and achievements

  • Since launching UB Choice, 800 flexible working arrangements have been put in place.
  • Flexible working contributed to annual savings of £12 million.
  • Created an uplift of employee engagement from 61% in Q1 2014 to 73% in April 2015.
  • Most recent employee opinion survey, “Working in RBS”, in April 2015 showed that engagement has increased by 2% in the last six months.
  • The bank has since shared its learning from UB Choice with other organisations including Pepsi, AIB, Diageo and the Central Bank.
  • A series of “people leader” engagement sessions have taken place in various locations across Ireland, facilitated by local people leaders, the executive team and the CEO where leaders are given the opportunity to network, give feedback, and discuss what being a leader in Ulster Bank means.

Judges’ comments

“This organisation had a compelling business case and managed to increase engagement and flexible working in a very tough operating environment.”


Vaultex

About the organisation

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

The challenge

Due to the nature of its business, Vaultex requires absolute security, precision and accuracy from its cash handlers, who work shifts sorting, counting, checking and loading cash ready for delivery. Customer service level rating is high (at 99.99%), however, the work can be repetitive and there is little opportunity for employees to move around freely within the site due to the level of security required.

With a company-wide turnover figure of 30% (against a national average of 10.6%) and sickness levels of 15% (against a private-sector average of 1.8%) in 2007, it was clear that improvements to the working culture, conditions and environment were needed.

What the organisation did

  • HR team looked to engage and motivate Vaultex people by giving them a real voice and sense of purpose; enabling them to share experiences, create tight-knit communities and celebrate and share their successes.
  • Expanded the communications team to operate on a regional level. A “You Said, We Did” policy keeps Vaultex people updated on progress via the intranet and notice boards.
  • Arranged for managers and supervisors to receive communication training.
  • Introduced roadshows where employees meet with members of the executive committee face-to-face to find out more about the business and Vaultex’s future plans.
  • Launched regional social committees in response to feedback – each site now has two representatives, who will share the opinions of their colleagues and collaborate with head office to help arrange events throughout the year.
  • Introduced a tiered system of rewards that would help recognise and reward everything from day-to-day achievement to brilliant, cost-saving ideas that help improve the business.
  • Ran a series of schemes, including: the Vaultex Awards for Excellence (an award ceremony held at Alton Towers); Happy video (viral video featuring performances from people across all sites); Vaultex fun day (Chessington, Alton Towers, BBQs, pub quizzes and bake sales); and a charity football tournament.
  • Introduced the “We are Vaultex” campaign, recognising achievements and putting up posters around the sites.

Benefits and achievements

  • Schemes have incentivised good practice, improved working conditions and boosted morale across Vaultex.
  • The HR team were named the best internal function of the year at the 2014 Vaultex Awards.
  • Vaultex’s EOS survey in September 2014 recorded an increase in engagement scores to 71%, an increase of 9% from 2013.
  • The spot prize scheme resulted in more than 17% (347 of 1,995) of Vaultex people receiving £35 on average (a £13,405 spend in 2014).
  • Since the scheme began in July 2014, 82 people have received more than £750 each, on average.
  • Annual sickness levels are at one-fifth of the level they were – 3.28% compared with 15% in 2007, while staff turnover is 7.51% reduced from 30% in 2007.
  • Retained Investors in People Gold Status (receiving just 10 points less than the highest possible score). In addition, Vaultex has also obtained “champion” status. 

Judges’ comments

“An excellent entry showcasing a compelling mix of well-designed and implemented solutions, which have been recognised externally by IiP Gold and Champion status.”


Wales & West Utilities

About the organisation

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) began operations on 1 June 2005 after the gas distribution network was sold by National Grid plc. 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 and provides the Gas Emergency Service.

The challenge

Cultural change within the industry has always been significant and has continued since the establishment of WWU. The impact of continued change left a lasting negative effect on employees. In 2012, in preparation for the new regulatory period, field force terms and conditions were changed and, in early 2013, 10% of the workforce left via voluntary redundancy. It became clear to HR that motivating a very despondent workforce and better connecting them with where the company was headed was what employees needed.

What the organisation did

  • A communications survey was sent to all 1,300 staff. Only 35% responded, however some clear messages were received, including: “It would be good to hear direct from the leadership team”; “We want clarity about business performance”; and “How can I contribute to where we’re headed?”
  • Held a series of workshops with people from across the business, while also engaging with trade unions.
  • Developed “Moving Forward Together” – a new engagement strategy to support the achievement of business goals and regulatory challenges.
  • Developed a suite of new communication tools and channels, including: a cascade pack for managers to use when briefing their teams; the publication of our key measures and targets; an engagement-specific newspaper; and a “micro website” with director blogs and material.
  • Following this, a series of executive-led roadshows were held and a new innovative format was developed based on two-way round-table discussions.
  • Monthly manager brief “Team Talk” was developed containing departmental and business updates to be sent out.
  • Each department put together their own “action plan” in line with the values and priorities and these were published on the website to ensure transparency.
  • Launched “Celebrating Excellence Awards” – these are based on company priorities and voted for by employees.

Benefits and achievements

  • Employee engagement survey carried out in March 2015 revealed that 94% of respondents said that they are aware of the organisation’s priorities and values and 91% of respondents said that they understand them.
  • Additionally, 83% of people said they feel proud to work at WWU and 80% of people said that they have confidence in their leadership team.
  • Nineteen roadshows engaged with nearly 1,000 people and colleagues now say they are better informed and more engaged.
  • One employee said: “The new roadshow format is much better than the previous ones, as it allowed colleagues to be heard and talk with other colleagues. This is a step in the right direction for our business.”
  • Another comment was that: “Previously, we weren’t always kept up to date with what the company was doing, but now that has definitely changed. We receive information in the Moving Forward Together newsletter and via the website – all of this helps us feel engaged in what the company is doing.”

Judges’ comments

“The actions taken by management to re-energise the workforce are commendable but not exceptional. The solution outlined includes activities many organisations have taken and they represent good practice.”

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