Personnel Today Awards 2020: HR Technology Award shortlist

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust show off their 2019 Excellence in HR through Technology Award

The Personnel Today Awards 2020 winners will be revealed in less than a month. We continue our countdown by profiling the finalists in the HR Technology Award category, which recognises the effective and innovative use of tech by HR teams to bring business benefits.

Costa Coffee with Ceridian

Ceridian’s flagship cloud platform, Dayforce, was implemented at Costa Coffee in 2015, but has been invaluable since the coffee shop chain was bought by Coca-Cola in 2018. This acquisition further cemented its need for a technology solution that enables it to scale its workforce efficiently and model its labour requirements.

Dayforce is used for all aspects of operational labour management, resourcing and HR policy checks at Costa Coffee. Operational efficiency has been enhanced by the use of the software’s forecasting abilities, which enables franchise owners to see whether they will have the right staff in place in each 15 minute segment of the day.

Personnel Today Awards 2020

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The software is also being used to scrutinise compliance with HR policy. For example, team members are alerted when they have a certain amount of holiday time available and if they have accidentally tried to book more leave than they are allowed.

Scheduling has also been improved, with employees who are only able to work certain hours – for example students – able to update their availability in the system whenever they like, without fear of being given a shift when they have other commitments.

Dayforce has been adopted across 100% of Costa Coffee’s stores and every employee can access it via a mobile app.


Facilities management firm EMCOR UK has more than 4,400 employees. In 2018 it launched FLEX, its wellbeing, communications and benefits platform, in order to ramp up engagement, create a safe environment, improve inclusivity and help achieve sustainable behavioural change.

Working in partnership with PIB Employee Benefits, it implemented Fair Care’s FlexGenius platform, which it branded as FLEX. It offers a comprehensive selection of health and wellbeing tools to employees and their families, such as health cash plans, dental insurance, discounts in shops and restaurants, and financial support to consolidate debt and manage repayments.

Staff who do not have company computer access are able to use FLEX securely on their mobile device by registering using their personal email address. So far, more than 82% of staff have signed up.

FLEX also includes the company’s GEMS employee reward and recognition programme, which replaced an outdated and under-used paper programme. GEMS and allows employees to nominate colleagues for a voucher reward or a “just say thanks” reward.

FLEX has had a significant impact on employee wellbeing: stress and mental health related absence has reduced by 20.3%, 1,312 staff have accessed financial wellbeing support, 1,412 staff have accessed its EAP portal and employee turnover has reduced from 23% to 13.4%.


In 2019, more than 2 million people applied to work with EY. And with millennials – who expect a level of digitalisation – making up 75% of its workforce, the company wanted to develop an exceptional HR experience by launching consumer-grade technology.

It leveraged its partnership with IBM to gain access to leading digital solutions, including artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to reinvigorate the tools candidates use to start their journey with EY.

It began by developing a chatbot called ‘Buddy’ to complement the real-world buddies offered to new starters. Buddy gives staff another channel of onboarding support by answering common HR questions.

This paved the way for the global roll-out of a company-wide chatbot called ‘Goldie’, which was introduced to 300,000 staff in just 31 days. Goldie’s introduction has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of calls to its HR shared service function, enabling the team to focus on more pressing questions and delivering ROI in just seven days.

Goldie has been configured to provide responses tailored to each employee. For example, it can answer questions about Covid-19 policy in UK and Ireland, and user recognition has been enabled in Singapore to answer specific questions about personal information such as salary calculation and leave entitlements.

The technology has moved from a chatbot to a digital virtual assistant, which has brought value to EY’s HR function through the use of conversational AI. In performance management alone, Goldie answered the equivalent of 17,435 hours’ worth of questions in 2019.


GVC is the holding company that houses gaming brands including Ladbrokes, Coral, Foxy Bingo and Party Poker.

Prior to 2019, there was a lack of awareness among the workforce of who GVC were. It had grown through mergers and acquisitions, and multiple systems and processes had emerged with people working in silos.

In order to build its employer brand and better align the teams it partnered with technology provider Altru to reinvigorate its careers site. The new site featured stories, generated by employees themselves, from ‘global ambassadors’ across various brands and departments. Videos featuring colleagues speaking about their role were embedded into job descriptions, which GVC found helped increase conversions.

The new brand was launched internally at a GVC One event. Before the event, staff were encouraged to follow social media channels, update their LinkedIn banner with new branded artwork and explain why they enjoyed working at GVC, with the chance of winning an all-inclusive trip to Las Vegas.  Within the first 48 hours the firm had over 75 videos from across the globe.

JD Sports with The Access Group

The JD Group employs more than 50,000 people globally. Although undergoing a period of tremendous growth, there were underlying issues around HR, payroll and workforce management – including the use of inefficient paper-based processes.

By transforming into a digital-first HR environment, the group projected it would save 1% on payroll costs and reduce inefficiencies caused by manual processes and multiple, disparate systems.

It selected The Access Group to launch a new payroll system for one of the group’s divisions, enrolling 9,000 people and devolving onboarding from the head office to 400 stores. Following this initial success, further rollouts of its People Management and Workforce Management systems, as well as an app for employees to access their records and shift information from their smartphones, were rolled out.

Numerous challenges were overcome during the process. For example, as the organisation prepared to launch the Time and Attendance modules, they received a low user score during the pilot testing stage. Rather than delay or push ahead regardless, JD worked with The Access Group to understand the reason behind the low user score using surveys and site visits and re-designed the solution.  Although this presented a potential three-month delay, having a dedicated project team meant the system was launched on time.

The JD Group has now migrated its entire portfolio of 700 stores to The Access Group’s systems. Some 85% of new starters are onboarded within 24 hours, a process that used to take two weeks, and more than 2,000 insight reports have been delivered to the business.

London Stock Exchange Group

In 2019, the London Stock Exchange Group created an HR Technology Roadmap, which was implemented using multiple cloud-based SaaS enabling tools and systems. These changes have represented a huge shift in the way its HR team works and ensures its services are scalable.

It moved all of its 5,000 employees across 22 countries over to ServiceNow. The launch was accompanied by a global communications campaign which emphasised that “being in control” through self-service was the best way to interact with HR. Now, questions are raised through the portal rather than via email, allowing them to be immediately assigned to the relevant team member and ensuring transparency throughout the process.

Secondly, Workday Learning was rolled out in 2019 to help staff manage their own L&D. Employees can now learn in the flow of their daily work, via their mobile device. In the first five months more than 8,833 hours of training were undertaken, with an average of 1.25 hours of training per learner.

Finally, cloud based compensation management tool Beqom was adopted. It was launched in January 2020 to more than 200 senior managers across all divisions to help manage salary, bonus and long-term incentive plan decisions, and later to 600 communicating managers.

Santander with DBLX

With a strategic objective to improve its workforce’s digital skills and encourage a culture of continuous learning, Santander partnered with DBLX to create a digital learning space that would engage and excite employees.

The solution, called MIO, factors learning and development into technologies and behaviours already being adopted by employees as their work and home lives blur. It is an intuitive, customisable suite of connected sites with a single sign-on access point that can be easily used on any device at any time.

It has become the home for everything in an employee’s day, putting learning among everyday tasks. It automatically serves the user content related to previous content they have engaged with, much like Netflix, and also has a social space that connects people based on their skills for automated mentoring. All career progression, personal development plans and appraisals are managed in MIO.

It has taken 18 months from concept to implementation and more than half of Santander employees are active users of the platform. People are accessing the content outside of working hours, achieving the bank’s aim of encouraging informal, continuous learning.

Schneider Electric

In order to deliver a better employee experience, energy management and automation company Schneider Electric used DocuSign CLM to automate the process for contract documents – including signatures, proof reading and archiving – for 19 countries across Europe.

The system is used to create contracts for new hires and various other employee documents including change of working hours forms and compensation forms; generate resignation and termination documents; archive documents based on the required retention periods under local laws; and convert existing HR files into electronic files that can be accessed from one central location.

The DocuSign team worked closely with Schneider Electric employees at all levels, including field services employees, to create the system. It is integrated with its HCM system and all previously manual follow-up processes have been automated.

More than 300 contract templates have been automated and digitised, minimising the risk of error, and the number of steps taken in the contract lifecycle have reduced by almost 20%. Data quality has improved to 98% and contract lifecycle time has been slashed by 68%.

Both HR business partners and HR service staff agree the process is now more transparent and allows transactions to be easily tracked.

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