Personnel Today Awards 2019: KP Snacks tastes success with HR Impact Award

KP Snacks collect their 2019 trophy from XpertHR's Scott Walker and guest host Sally Phillips.

KP Snacks saw off the competition to win the HR Impact Award, sponsored by XpertHR. Here we take a look at what they achieved and at the entries of our runners-up.


KP Snacks

KP Snacks has been on an acquisition spree since it was bought by Intersnack in 2013. In July 2017 it bought Butterkist, and while integrating this business, both Tyrrells and Popchips came up for sale. This presented an unprecedented challenge for its HR team.

Working groups, all with significant senior HR input, were established to make sure the acquisitions went smoothly. Led by HR business partner Rachel Ovington, its “One Team” people work stream was split from the main project in order to manage it confidentially.

Integration was complex and the HR department had sub-teams running three separate TUPE consultations. These teams were led by staff who had never handled TUPE before, supported by more experienced HR professionals, which gave HR employees opportunities to develop new skills. The HR admin team handled new employee files and right to work checks, while over 120 roles were evaluated using its grading framework.

Staff on weekly cycles were moved onto monthly pay arrangements, which saved the company money, while financial wellbeing benefits have been introduced.

The team achieved all of its integration milestones with no disruption or disputes and as a result the HR team has become known internally as “experts in change and transition”.



Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca identified skills gaps in certain areas at the same time some of its products lost their exclusivity, requiring it to develop a new product pipeline.

To ensure it was leveraging internal talent and resources across different countries, it launched plan100 which aimed to give 100 employees the opportunity to take on development assignments at the company’s sites abroad. It provides a platform for staff to work on shorter assignments, meeting their flexible working needs, and focus their efforts and skills where the organisation needs it most.

Employees are able to learn and gain experience within a new role and culture. On their return, they benefit from having learned from their experience, as well as being connected to a new network of colleagues.

Staff praised the project for allowing them to develop their functional skill sets, for helping them learn to adapt to new cultures and environments, and for giving further breadth to their roles. Of those who completed a plan100 project, 45% moved into a different role.

Resourcing time has reduced from between six and eight months to two to three months. plan100 does not require any additional budget from AstraZeneca to implement.

Civil Service Workplace Adjustment Service

The Civil Service Workplace Adjustment Service (CSWAS) was formed in 2015 to improve the standard and consistency of workplace adjustments across the Civil Service. Its goal is to ensure that departments provides consistently good adjustments to all employees who need one, regardless of whether or not they have a disability.

Government departments can choose from an end-to-end service from CSWAS, right through to a “light touch” centre of expertise from the service where departments run their own adjustments process. The scheme also provides support options to departments that wish to supplement their own services.

It provides expertise, guidance and shares best practice to improve adjustment provision, helping departments find innovative ways to keep their employees in work.

CSWAS is working towards putting an additional 1,239 adjustments in place in 2018/19, an increase of 182% on the 440 cases in 2017/18. Around 90% of staff who have used the CSWAS say their adjustments have improved the ease for which they can carry out their role. It has a satisfaction rate of 95%.

Since 2016 the engagement scores for staff with limiting long-term conditions has risen from 40% to 53%. The gap in engagement scores between employees with and without limiting long-term conditions has narrowed to 8 percentage points.

Elior UK

Prior to 2013, contract catering firm Elior UK lacked a recognition scheme for the entire organisation, despite engagement being a key focus.

It rolled out its “You Made a Difference” recognition programme to encourage positive behaviours and recognise progress made by employees. It is linked directly to the organisation’s values.

It was launched using welcome packs containing briefing documents, “thank you” cheque books and posters. The issuer of the “cheque” submits the recipient’s details directly onto its intranet, entering their chosen colleague into a monthly draw for high street shopping vouchers. Every employee receiving a a cheque is sent a letter congratulating them and get a mention in its “roll of honour” monthly news article. An average 300 cheques are issued every month and around 3,000 staff have received shopping vouchers since the scheme began in 2013.

Each year, three finalists from the roll of honour are selected and invited to its annual Awards for Excellence in London, with the winning employee receiving an all-expenses “once in a lifetime” paid trip. Previous destinations have included Las Vegas, South Africa and Vietnam.

The company says the scheme has united colleagues and created a culture of inclusiveness, recognition and drive to deliver great customer service. Client retention has also improved.

Financial Times

Towards the end of 2017 the Financial Times’ employee engagement survey showed its US employees were concerned about career development, particularly as the majority of its senior roles are based in the UK. This meant staff were leaving the company when they were looking for the next step in their careers, as they felt unable to progress.

To show staff that career mobility can happen in many ways, not just upwards, it launched its first “Craft your Career” week in New York in February 2018. It offered guidance, tools, resources and sessions covering management techniques, networking, LinkedIn personal branding and the careers available at the FT. Fringe events were held in addition to the group sessions, including one-on-one career coaching and a professional headshot photo session.

One hundred per cent of those who responded to a survey following the week said it provided the tools needed to develop their career. Ninety-five per cent said they learnt something new and 98% said they felt more in control of their career.

The company has since encouraged movement between its niche specialist publications and its main editorial operation, aiding career mobility. It has also held 30 subsequent one-on-one career coaching sessions and has trained one member of the US HR team to become a career coach.

Mitchells & Butlers

Mitchells & Butlers puts great emphasis on the quality and measurement of learning, including learning beyond mandatory compliance training, in order to avoid the risks many pubs and restaurant businesses face. Training was inconsistent across its 1,700 pubs and restaurants – especially as it was only accessible via desktop PC or face-to-face.

An e-learning system, called Mable, was launched. It delivers “bite-sized” learning to employees based anywhere at any time, integrating gamification and social learning. Employees earn points, badges and rankings based on completed learning and interactions via the social features of Mable.

The majority of content is created in-house to ensure it meets business needs – previously 100% of content was outsourced. It deployed Norovirus refresher training swiftly and within two weeks had an 86% completion rate, while new resources were produced within days following an allergen incident, including videos which were filmed on Monday and released on the Thursday of the same week.

In the first 90 days, over 37,000 of its 46,000 employees had logged into Mable, completing 42,000 courses, creating 800+ forum posts, and consuming 15,000+ hours of videos. Its recently-launched menu training packs have increased food quality by 5% (compared to a traditional drop as teams become accustomed to a new menu).

Pepper UK

Pepper UK is a loan servicing and asset management firm. After a troubled employee reached out to its HR team for help following a suicide attempt, the company rolled out a comprehensive wellbeing package to ensure all staff could access support if they needed it.

It commissioned Mind to deliver mental health training to 40 employees, with the aim of having 10% of staff trained as mental health first aiders. Signage was refreshed so that MHFAs were listed next to physical first aiders so employees knew who to approach for supported.

Other mental health support mechanisms are in offer including: HR “drop in” clinics, battle boxes with support materials, training sessions on stress management and caring for family members with mental health issues, sleep packs and alcohol awareness packs in the run up to Christmas.

Leave was also bolstered: holiday entitlement has increased for long-serving employees, the ability to buy and sell holiday has been introduced and mental health days –which give staff the right to request time off for personal wellness – have been brought in.

Comments are closed.