Global Banking School’s HR team secured the prestigious HR Team of the Year title for maintaining high levels of engagement and a strong organisational design and culture during an international expansion project. This category is sponsored by PeopleScout.
Global Banking School
Global Banking School provides foundation, degree and master level courses in banking and finance. It is part-way through an ambitious plan to develop and diversify its portfolio, reach more UK students and grow its international business.
A few years ago, its HR team comprised just three people. The team needed to support a global organisation with more than 1,000 staff within 13 months.
The HR team was divided into four sub-units – talent acquisition, operations, organisational development and employee engagement. By July 2021 14 HR staff were in place and by April 2022 this number had grown to 24, with the function supporting six separate divisions spanning the UK, India, Dubai and Malta.
Between October 2021 and March 2022, the team processed 6,051 applications, completed 1,076 interviews and made 472 job offers. It has introduced new systems including an ATS, an analytics platform, and a database that houses its handbook, employee benefits and policies.
Global Banking School is now a certified “Great Place to Work”. The HR team has launched a staff-nominated awards programme for employees, an employee celebration day to reward staff for their hard work, and employee and management focus groups to facilitate transparency and obtain ideas from the workforce.
Edge Hill University
2020 was a tough year for Edge Hill University’s HR team. There was significant turnover in business-critical posts; staff were reporting a a lack of autonomy and limited opportunity for professional growth; satisfaction among HR team members sat at just 72%; and there was a heavy reliance on expensive legal advice. Overall, the university’s HR model was not working – job roles needed to be redesigned and its objectives aligned with the university’s priorities.
Confusing team names were removed and job titles were simplified. HR job profiles were designed to broaden the scope of each role and to encourage more career progresson opportunities. Shared responsibilities for wellbeing, EDI and OD were absorbed into all roles and elements of partnering were expanded into the advisory roles, providing increased team agility, collaboration, and networking opportunities. This helped to abolish siloed working.
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Team members were given greater autonomy. They were also supported to acheive at least level 5 CIPD status to enhance the function’s credibility. Team members’ confidence in their abilities has soared, which has helped the university slash legal costs by £418,000.
The function is now seen as proactive, credible and valued. Job satisfaction among team members has grown to 92%, placingv HR in the top three “happiest” departments at the university.
In order to tackle attrition, retain key people, become an employer of choice and meet the aims of its Horizon2030 business strategy, the HR team at McLaren Automotive have embarked on numerous initiatives that have improved engagement and enabled change.
It regularly holds a manager and leader events, attended by 600 people globally, which takes all people leaders through its people strategy and facilitates feedback on how its goals can be met. Surveys enable the team to understand challenges in more detail and culture champions work with the HR team and executive team to highlight imperative issues.
One issue was performance management, so the team established a system that facilitated continuous conversations and check-ins, in consultation with stakeholders from across the organisation.
The HR team is highly engaged in ensuring at has a healthy talent pipeline. It worked with the Princes Trust to help boost employability skills for more than 50 young people, and it has launched a two-year graduate development scheme in departments including engineering, manufacturing and marketing.
It has also improved its service levels by overhauling HR e-forms. The new forms are easier to use, track and report on.
N Brown Group
The people team at e-commerce company N Brown Group, which owns brands including Jacamo and Simply Be, has been a key enabler during its transformation from a catalogue business to a digital retail leader. Its people and culture strategy – which focuses on development, design, capabilities and performance – aims to promote an inclusive culture that allows staff to perform well and deliver commercial success.
The team worked with senior leaders and executives to deliver a new organisational design, which has helped it move away from a heirarchical, “command and control” culture, to one where staff feel more empowered and accountable. Digital, data, design, product, finance and risk skills have been enhanced, and its internal talent pipeline has grown – a third of vacancies are now filled internally.
Staff are currently working towards more than 2,000 performance objectives and over 840 personal objectives. A total of 9,174 performancce check-ins have been recorded in 12 months. The team has also created a continuous feedback loop to capture the employee voice, encompassing engagement surveys and focus groups.
Following the disruption of the pandemic, the people team reviewed its communication channels to meet the needs of its hybrid workforce. This resulted in the launch of Fabric, a new intranet that provides regular news, discounts, information about company strategy, and houses its people policies.
N Brown Group has seen improvements to its net promoter score, colleague engagement score and survey reponse rate.
In 2019, Saga faced plummeting profit and employee engagement. Focus groups and employee foums revealed that many staff were unable to describe the company’s values or strategy.
The HR team has implemented a series of initiatives to turn the organisation’s culture around on a small budget. This has included the launch of Workplace, a platform to build a virtual sense of community, which has eased the transition to hybrid working. Ninety-eight per cent of colleague accounts have been activated.
D&I has been a major focus. It has introduced a full week of paid leave upon the birth of a grandchild, enhanced its maternity and paternity policies and brought in a pregnancy loss policy. All eligibility criteria has been removed from family-friendly policies and all holiday across the firm has been equalised, with the opportunity to buy extra time off.
It also has a quarterly engagement survey to check in with staff. Between December 2019 and November 2021, its engagement score jumped from 6.5 to 7.7 and in 2022 it now stands at 8 out of 10 – a considerable acheivement despite two redundancy programmes during this period. The HR team’s engagement score is 8, its health and wellbeing score is 8.3, and its diversity and inclusion score is 8.5.
TALIS Management Holding
TALIS, which supplies products to the water industry, has a small HR team of 3.5 FTE staff that managed the entire company’s Covid-19 response in over 17 countries. This included the management of risk assessments, action plans, communications, contingency plans, travel guidance and awareness campaigns.
Before the pandemic, there was no central HR process for managing a crisis, operational impacts or employee health and wellbeing. The team, based in Wales, came up with a pandemic response which was tailored to each business unit, in countries as far as China and Israel.
They worked with local HR resources to get an overview of what support they needed and to ensure that operations continued and employees remained safe. They formed a Covid-19 taskforce to monitor the impact of the pandemic, identify priorities and manage risks to each entity, and ensured each business unit had the equipment they needed, including PPE. They also coordinated the donation of 10,000 masks and PPE to local healthcare providers.
Sickness absence remained below comparable industry rates. On-time delivery performance continued to be met, and sales and profit grew despite the challenges posed by pandemic, due in part to the group HR team’s work to ensure business continuity.
The Co-CEO praised the group HR team for rethinking the employee experience in ways that respect individual differences, while also adapting to rapidly changing circumstances.
This year, Travelodge’s focus has been its ‘Better Travelodge’ strategy – a campaign that is split into four different streams: colleagues, customers, investors and future.
Under ‘Better for our Colleagues’, the HR team focused on having a stable team across its 600 hotels and support centre, including being in a position to recruit and train more staff for the peak summer months, despite a tight labour market. Retention is a major part of this.
Its strategy is to help employees learn more, earn more and belong. All e-learning has been mobile-optimised, helping staff to access it on their phones rather than having to wait for a computer to become available. Materials have also been translated into 10 different languages, secondment opportunities expanded, and its Aspire development programme to help people move into supervisory roles has been made more accessible.
New management development programmes have been introduced for high-potential hotel managers, visability of vacancies has been increased, and new pay schemes have been introduced to better incentivise hourly-paid staff.
After seeing its net promoter score drop in September 2021, the HR team introduced new recognition tools, listening calls and a follow-up pulse survey to monitor how sentiment changed.
Ninety per cent of hotels were at the headcount required during the summer, allowing them to reach maximum occupancy. The number of staff staying with the company for six months or more increased by 6.6% and its net promoter score increased by two points, with improvements in 21 out of 25 scores.
Like many logistics companies, Wincanton has experienced a shortage of HGV drivers. As well as focusing on retention, the people team needed to ensure the company was encouraging supply chain and logistics as a career choice, particularly among young people. This is acheived through a combination of targeted apprenticeships and fast track driver’s licence acquisition schemes.
It has a diverse range of apprenticeships on offer, ranging from driver and warehouse roles through to HR and finance. Eighty apprenticeship programmes are available, and 20% of active learners are engaged in a second apprenticeship, showing how engaged employees are in their career development.
The future drivers programme is a major contributor to increasing the diversity of its workforce. More than half of this year’s intake has been under the age of 34 and 6% have been female. There has been a 54% increase in female graduate placements and a 37% increase in entrants from an ethnic minority background into its one-year graduate placement scheme.
The people team has supported the company’s growth agenda. When it acquired Cygnia Logistics, the team successfully onboarded 700 employees from four sites across the UK. They also welcomed 118 colleagues who transferred to Wincanton when it won a transport contract with Primark.
In its most recent financial year, Wincanton increased the overall number of employees by 4.1% to 20,300 and increased the number of drivers by 3.9% to 5,300. Its employee engagement score increased by three percentage points to 69%.
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