Personnel Today Awards 2019: KPMG triumphs in HR Supplier Partnership Award

KPMG collect their award for HR Supplier Partnership at the 2019 Personnel Today Awards

KPMG was voted the top HR supplier partner in this category, which is only open to companies working with shortlisted employers. Judges were impressed with its overhaul of the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.



Consistently ranked as one of the country’s leading graduate employers, the Civil Service welcomes around 1,000 new recruits via Fast Stream annually, drawn from over 50,000 applicants. Consulting firm KPMG worked with the Civil Service to undertake a major overhaul of its learning and development offer underpinning the Fast Stream for its 2018 intake.

This included removing under-performing topics from the core curriculum, which spreads over three to four years. It aimed to provide more contextualised learning, including a more practical and stretching leadership module, giving learners increased control over their learning schedule and allowing them to learn in closed cohorts. Base Camp (induction) activities were also revisited, and new sessions were added such as public policy, resilience and wellbeing, and presenting and influencing. These were accompanied by keynote speeches from senior civil servants and a series of evening mini-conferences.

Courses were also made flexible so they could be undertaken when the subject correlated to work in the learner’s current placement – and the new-look curriculum was completed by the inclusion of the highly respected Stepping into Leadership management course. Over 90% of delegates feel that Base Camp now inspires them to do the best in their job, that they felt more part of a community and were motivated to achieve the Civil Service’s objectives.

“Delivering a project of this sophistication and on such a scale requires an incredibly strong collaborative relationship. Innovative, hard-working and with an unwavering focus on our stated objectives, it’s no surprise that KPMG have been able to help us produce a cutting-edge L&D curriculum,” says Nick Walker (Deputy Director, CSL). KPMG has also run successful L&D projects for the NHS Leadership Academy.



Cappfinity, formerly Capp, describe themselves as the Strengths Experts, having worked with more than 150 organisations worldwide to find and foster the right talent. The company uses behavioural data, strengths expertise and innovative technology to add value to the talent lifecycle. They evaluate candidates’ behavioral, cognitive, and reasoning skills to reveal their true fit for the role and the company. 

Personnel Today Awards 2019

See the full list of winners

Cappfinity’s partnership with Accenture began in 2018 to design and implement an immersive, strengths-based recruitment process for Early Careers, based on their ‘Brilliance Assessment Model’ for the UK and Ireland. Accenture was looking to transform the recruitment experience for candidates by putting them in control of how they explore and complete assessments, and providing them with a developmental learning experience. 

The Accenture Discovery Portal is a unique, immersive recruitment process and multimedia gateway to the world of Accenture. It utilises technology to create an authentic experience, delivered through a single screen where they navigate through a number of interactive content panels, designed to accommodate bespoke or customised assessment profiles. Cappfinity analyses results against the Accenture Brilliance Model. Ninety-three percent of candidates felt the subject of their assessments felt relevant and 84% found it innovative compared to a traditional recruitment test. The process has also improved diversity, with 58% female offers (compared to 45% industry average) and 48% BAME offers (compared to 30% industry average). 

Other clients include Aviva and GSK. Aviva has described Cappfinity as bringing “real passion, belief and energy to what they deliver and have had a huge role to play in the success of our programme”.

Cezanne HR

Cezanne HR offers modern, cloud-first HR software that streamlines and improves HR processes across the full employee life-cycle, whilst simultaneously engaging and empowering the wider workforce to deliver better experience for everyone. 

This is something that the HR team at Open GI recognised from the start of their project to select and implement a new HR system. Alongside key objectives of greater efficiency, improved processes and a platform that would cater for organisational change, the HR team wanted the system to deliver value to the whole of the organisation. Cezanne HR delivered a company-wide HR solution that has achieved their project objectives, including: immediate efficiency gains; ongoing cost savings (of around £4,000); improved company-wide communication; robust data security (GDPR compliant) and support for business change. The system is now used by over 550 employees across the business (Worcester, Dublin, London, Milton Keynes, Skopje and Krakow). 

Cezanne supported Open GI with training pre-launch, including a sandbox system so employees could explore it in the context of the company’s processes and data. There were also webinars, drop-in clinics and support with knowledge and data transfer.

“Alongside saving us tons of time, Cezanne HR has everything we need from an HR platform. There’s so much more that we want to do with it, and we know that the team will take our requirements into consideration and will help us to get the most out of our platform,” says Natalie Brotherton, HR manager. 

Other clients include ASL Aviation Group (global roll-out) and ByrneLooby (phased implementation across global offices). 

Egremont Group 

Egremont Group is a management consultancy that helps companies achieve breakthrough change. It assists its clients to identify what’s holding them back and create a movement for change that re-energises the organisation and its people. It recently worked with Southern Water on an organisation wide transformation programme to enable culture change, drive operational excellence and implement a more effective and cost-efficient support services model.

Regulators had defined ambitious targets across the industry driving a need to embark on large-scale change. Egremont was asked to design, mobilise and implement a cultural transformation programme that would strengthen the business’ position as they head into the next regulatory period. Egremont approached this through three lenses: aligning leadership around key priorities; establishing stable and repeatable processes; and creating an effective organisational configuration that would allow the first two to happen.

Enablers of change at this scale included agreeing key leadership principles upfront, reducing silos and clarifying roles and responsibilities. Area and regional managers have been participants of an applied leadership development programme and there are around 70 hubs across the business which improve connection and collaboration between teams. This new approach has resulted in reduced risk, increased efficiency, more productive use of resources and increased engagement scores.

Rob Barnett, Southern Water’s managing director said of the work: “The organisation is set up to be much more successful. Some of the historical issues have been dealt with, we’ve had good financial return with many millions of savings and efficiencies, but for me more importantly we’ve built enduring capability that will allow us to drive multiple benefits in the future.”

Lane 4

Lane4’s purpose is to build winning organisations and improve working people’s lives. That means developing successful, long-term partnerships, and the company is still working with its very first client, Bourne Leisure, 25 years on.

Lane4 worked with construction company Wates to help it achieve the culture change necessary to reach its ‘zero-harm by 2020’ goal. Working together, three teams from Wates (Safety, HR, and Internal Communications) along with a dedicated Lane4 team created a programme combining technical safety training with leadership skills, underpinned by a compelling communications campaign.

More than 1,000 employees have been on one of two programmes – Lead the Change! and Drive the Change! – and the goal of a lost time injury rate below 0.100 has been achieved two years early. Debbie Crew, Head of Talent & Resourcing says that “Lane4 offered us the best of both worlds: a leadership programme with a clear focus on safety. Their proposal showed that they’d listened carefully to what we told them and that they had quickly grasped our objectives.”

Another successful project has been with engineering company IMI, where Lane4 developed a global, bespoke management development programme. This has helped to upskill more than 1,000 new and existing managers and develop a secure talent pipeline. Collaboration has been integral to the programme’s success, mixing IMI expertise in “lean operations” and financial management with Lane4’s expertise in skills such as performance management and coaching to create an impactful programme. There are six-monthly reviews and IMI and Lane4 are now working together on phase two of the programme.

Other client partnership successes include leadership development programmes for the Mott McDonald and Anglian Water.

Pearson TQ

Pearson TQ designs, develops and delivers bespoke training solutions, including the assessment and provision of accredited qualifications for public and private sector clients.

In 2017, it partnered with BT to develop a Future Leaders programme for aspiring managers. It wanted to enhance its existing management training, expand accreditations, and embrace the Apprenticeship Levy for all eligible participants. Over three years the programme has developed over 600 learners across fourteen countries. Pearson TQ worked with BT to understand its leadership framework, its performance management and reward so these could all be aligned with its vision, values and culture. It also supported the company to get senior-level buy-in and to support learners throughout the programme. 

Personnel Today Awards 2019

See the full list of winners

The training itself includes: 1-to-1 personalised coaching, regular progress reviews, group, classroom and workplace learning, online resources and employer-focused work-based projects. Participants can achieve a BTEC L3 Diploma in Management and a Team Leader Apprenticeship Standard if they are eligible. Almost all (96%) of line managers agree that their team member “is developing into a leader/manager” and 31% of participants have been promoted since the programme. By retaining and promoting key talent into management roles, BT has reduced external hire costs whilst creating a long-term talent pipeline.

“We’ve addressed issues … positively and collaboratively and … made improvements in content, process and communications in real-time,” says Debbie Copping, Leadership Development Manager at BT. Other client successes include delivering apprenticeships to various organisations within the Ministry of Defence. 

Saville Assessment

Saville Assessment is an assessment and psychometrics company, now part of Willis Towers Watson. It worked with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to implement a technology solution that would make their hiring process more robust and efficient whilst improving candidate experience. J&J collaborated with Saville to become early adopters of a new proprietary piece of technology, the Role Fit app. 

The app allows recruiters to select – on screen – the competencies that are critical to that role, and powers online assessments to assess suitability and recommend individually tailored interview questions. It meant J&J could identify better quality candidates for roles, using as little resource as possible. The app generates interview guides so recruiters can ask targeted questions and efficiently use their time. The highly predictive nature of the assessments ensures that J&J hires the best talent but also means a greater return on investment as they hire individuals who are both productive and fit with the J&J culture.

In some recent analysis of almost 7,000 applicants, 99.4% of candidates who started the Graduate and Placement Situational Judgement Test (SJT) went on to complete the assessment. These low drop-out rates indicate that candidates are highly engaged. In the experienced-hire process, applicants are given personalised feedback reports at the online assessment stage. 

Saville has worked with around 900 clients and has been praised by the British Psychological Society for a “very high-quality programme”. One of the team at J&J said of the company’s support: “We were particularly impressed with Saville Assessment’s focus on five factors against which assessment solutions should be evaluated.” 

The Development Company UK Ltd (DCo)

DCo provides bespoke learning and development initiatives for clients across all sectors. Its ethos is to build strong partnerships and design tailored solutions that enable clients to meet their business challenges through high-performing employees. It has a long relationship with missile systems company MBDA and recently supported it to review its graduate and apprenticeship offering. 

The solution had to dovetail with MBDA’s existing early career framework and also achieve an increase in the graduate and apprentices’ ability to assimilate information, respond to coaching, forge strong relationships with clients and undertake the role of ambassadors for the company. It put in place two experiential development programmes: ‘Lifeskills’ for Apprentices is a two-part residential programme and ‘GR8’ is an intensive week-long programme that covers eight core topics identified as essential for the creation of proficient communicators, leaders and managers. Around 450 apprentices have experienced the Lifeskills programme and MBDA boasts an 82% retention rate of apprentices since 2003. 

Since 2016, 275 graduates have completed GR8. The programme includes realistic scenarios and challenging experiential coaching – such as learning presentation skills in a theatre and risk assessment/team collaboration by way of a coasteering challenge. Around 230 internal mentors have been trained to support individuals whilst they are within the scheme. The company now has a 58% promotion rate within two years of individuals completing schemes. Other client successes include a leadership programme for Johnson Matthey, which has led to 40% of participants in its first cohort now occupying more senior roles.  

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