Personnel Today Awards 2020: Change Management Award shortlist

Great Western Railway accept the Managing Change Award at the 2019 Personnel Today Awards.

The Personnel Today Awards take place in just a few weeks. As part of our ongoing coverage of the shortlisted finalists, we look at those in line for this year’s Change Management Award.


At the start of 2019, Bupa felt it was not getting the best value and performance from its recruitment model. It wanted to change how it attracted, selected and hired talent. The company’s research had highlighted that volume recruitment was fragmented, there were poor relationships with stakeholders and an outsourcing partner had been underperforming. Candidate experience was not always consistent and there were no economies of scale.

In response it set up a Centre of Expertise for strategic and consistent resourcing across the UK; built an in-house recruitment service across four business units and an executive hiring function; implemented a candidate relationship management system and created a new People Value Proposition to be showcased with a new careers website. The ‘Belief in You’ PVP, designed by agency Pink Squid, is at the centre of how Bupa attracts and retains talent.

Personnel Today Awards 2020

The Personnel Today Awards are going online this year! Register here and join us in celebrating the winners on 26 November.

In 2019 the new set-up helped Bupa achieve a cost saving of £252,000 by avoiding agency fees for executive hiring and reducing agency spend from 6% to 0.7% across professional hiring through direct sourcing. Average time to hire went down by 11 days in Q4 of 2019 compared to the period between January and August. Blind CVs and shortlists have been introduced to executive recruitment, with increases to black and minority ethnic (BAME) recruits. Bupa’s Glassdoor rating has increased from 3.8 to 3.9 an employer brand – according to a scorecard devised by Pink Squid – has increased from 58% to 83%.


Facilities management company EMCOR UK, like most other businesses, faced huge challenges with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Early on, the HR function recognised that managers and employees needed clear leadership and instruction to support the workforce to come to terms with the ‘new normal’. With a workforce of more than 4,000 employees with different working patterns, terms and conditions and pay, line managers had numerous queries for HR.

To help manage the onslaught of queries and concerns, EMCOR came up with a Covid-19 Flowchart as a way of simplifying all the variables and scenarios. It was distributed to the HR teams and a small group of line managers at first to test for gaps and then published on the company’s Wellbeing and Flexible Benefits site. The huge number of calls to HR subsided significantly once it was made available.

HR and payroll now have the space to work on other matters and managers receive timely and accurate advice. Other benefits include reduced legal fees from not having to seek external advice, managers feel more confident to speak with employees and reduced payroll errors as there is more clarity on issues such as holiday and sickness pay. The Chart is regularly reviewed and updated whenever law or government guidance changes.

Leeds Building Society

Leeds Building Society is the UK’s fifth largest building society, established 145 years ago. When the Covid-19 crisis hit, the organisation had to respond quickly and did so in a number of ways. It redesigned its mortgage services training so employees could support the introduction of mortgage payment holidays; it quickly turned from only a small percentage of colleagues working from home to 60% of head office employees; and launched a Covid-19 hub to provide colleagues and managers to keep them up to date with latest government guidance.

As part of its mission to keep colleagues connected, Leeds enhanced its wellbeing hub with access to resources and 48 mental health first aiders were on hand with support. It also launched a colleague text messaging service to support with critical guidance at the start of lockdown. A social media competition to design a rainbow was launched for families. Working with an external consultant, the building society also created and delivered a mindfulness programme.

Pivoting mortgage training has saved 75 training days and £6,400, the organisation estimates, while no colleagues have been furloughed and all business areas remained operational. Forty percent of colleagues accessed the hub, while 62% of them remained connected using the Totem social media platform, with weekly posts up 200% at the start of lockdown. The building society achieved record customer satisfaction ratings in April, and colleagues praised their employer for how they responded to the pandemic.

Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group has 70,000 colleagues across the UK and aims for an inclusive, growth-led culture. The company decided it needed a more innovative approach to performance management, as its existing one was outdated, unpopular and lacking in transparency. Only 20% of employees felt it gave them a positive experience and only 26% that it improved performance. Colleagues were spending an estimated 2 million hours a year documenting reviews rather than coaching and learning.

A new approach known as Your Best was designed and tested with the help of 2,000 colleagues from across the bank. It focuses on continual coaching and two-way feedback across six ‘conditions’ of high performance: purpose; attention; challenge; choice; growth and recognition. All employees have personal responsibility and it is designed to be re-visited throughout the year rather than an annual box-ticking exercise. Mind Gym and creative marketing agency ICF Next supported the behavioural science and branding of the roll-out, which was staggered over four releases during 2019.

Employees could access online training on Your Best in bite size sessions, and 59 face-to-face sessions were delivered across the UK. Every training release achieved a 90%+ completion rate. Leaders were engaged at every stage, regularly providing feedback and role-modelling the change. Colleagues shared stories and have been influential in embedding the change. Almost nine in 10 employees now feel performance management is a positive experience, and managers spend 60% less time documenting performance, meaning they have more time for coaching. Eighty per cent of colleagues who have had three or more check-ins with Your Best know how they’re performing, compared to 35% who have done it once.

Longhurst Group

Longhurst Group is one of the East Midlands’ leading housing groups, and in 2015 was made up of four member companies. The company aims to be market-leading with an exceptional employer reputation and highly engaged workforce so it can improve the lives of its customers.

Organisation-wide away-days have been crucial to building and sustaining engagement. Feedback from these had indicated, however, that the group’s legacy structure was causing inconsistencies, which in turn led to inefficiencies across the organisation. The feedback helped Longhurst to design and initiate a three-year HR and learning strategy. The People Services department worked closely with the communications team to champion people-centred initiatives around two strategic pillars of health and wellbeing and economic resilience.

Beyond core terms and conditions, Longhurst needed to create a compelling employment offer and reflect its size and diversity in what it offered in terms of learning opportunities and progression. A consultation on core benefits was undertaken with 45 Acas-trained employee representatives, ensuring every colleague could have their voice heard. Letters, posters, email and Workplace Facebook communications also amplified the message.

To keep colleagues updated on the proposals and the progress of the consultation Longhurst created a dedicated Sharepoint site which was regularly updated. The final employee offer was outlined in detail to more than 1,000 people who were affected, and there were no objections or rejections. The work done on managing this change means that, should there be further reviews to benefits or responses to the impact of Covid-19 on working arrangements, the company is in a good position.

NatWest Group

As part of its People Strategy launched in 2017, NatWest Group wanted to provide colleagues with the same level of digital experience as its customers, and key to this was implementing Workday to digitise HR. As part of that the bank wanted to create a single, integrated job framework, changing the way the organisation describes, organises and manages jobs. The business has grown to almost 200,000 colleagues through mergers and acquisitions, with discrepancies in how roles are named and terminology around grade levels.

In 2018 a team was established to create a defined group-wide framework on jobs, with roles grouped into families and alignment of all colleagues to a job in that framework. There would be no changes to compensation but more transparency. The timescale from conception to delivery was 16 months, led by a team from across the organisation and with buy-in from senior leaders. All four stages of implementation were underpinned by communication with key stakeholders.

Since launch in November 2019, there is a more accurate and consistent understanding of jobs, who does them and the capabilities required. There are 44 job families across eight groups, with around 12,000 job profiles reduced to just 4,392. Colleagues can better plan their careers and workforce planning is more efficient. The new framework also means NatWest Group can benchmark jobs more effectively with the external market.

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