Thursday, March 30, 2023

Personnel Today Awards 2021 Shortlist: HR Impact Award

Personnel Today Awards 2021 Shortlist: HR Impact Award

We profile the finalists in the HR Impact Award category ahead of the Personnel Today Awards 2021, which take place on 16 November. This category celebrates HR teams that have added value to their organisation through innovation and determination.

Coca-Cola HBC

Coca-Cola HBC is a packaged goods business and bottling partner of the Coca-Cola company. It observed several people challenges, including limited opportunities for people development, under-utilisation of employees’ hidden skills and talents, and an unequal distribution of work across the countries it operates in with many employees stretched beyond capacity.

It developed the Opportunity Marketplace platform to match workers’ talents with internal work opportunities and promote the concept of “gig work” across the organisation.

Employees create their own profile with details of their skills, time availability, the skills they want to develop and the kind of projects they work on, and can apply to take on projects that have been posted on the platform. The work is voluntary and on top of their usual responsibilities, with the aim of providing opportunities for career and skills development and overcoming resource barriers.

The project was completed quickly, with the idea first pitched in March 2020 and going live on 4 May 2020. More than 1,600 profiles have been created and over 280 projects posted. It has unlocked 13,200 person hours and has an employee satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5.


Parcel carrier DPD last year saw 3.5 years’ worth of growth in just nine months, which put significant pressure on its workforce. The people team rose to the challenges this posed and their work has helped the company achieve its best ever on-time delivery levels of 99.99%, record a people engagement score of 4.62 out of 5, and engaged staff to raise £375k for charity.

It had four specific objectives for 2020: Recruit 500 shift managers between April and the pre-Christmas peak, when volumes traditionally rise by another 40%; recruit and train 4,350 new delivery drivers and 3,000 other staff; achieve an average engagement score of at least 4.2 out of 5; and achieve 99.5% on-time delivery.

It conducted a listening exercise where employees were asked to rate how happy they were on a scale from 1 to 5 and were given the opportunity to talk to someone if they had any issues. Managers had 48 hours to meet any employee that gave the firm a rating of 1 or 2 to help address their concerns.

Gifts including chocolate brownies and advent calendars were sent out to help maintain morale and employees who were home-schooling children but didn’t have access to a laptop had access to a £100,000 fund that the company had made available.

In a six month period around 150,000 people applied for a role with DPD, many after being made redundant by airlines, hotels and high-street retailers. Some 532 new managers and 4,654 new drivers were recruited.

Essex County Council

As the second largest local authority in the UK, ECC has 7,000 employees that deliver services to 1.4 million residents.

ECC had outsourced all resourcing services to a third party provider for a decade and in Nov 2019 it bought those services back in-house. That team launched a strategy to supply “the right people at the right time” without any disruption to resourcing or vetting services during the transition.

The newly formed internal resourcing team went through an intense induction process. Their job no longer began when the hiring manager had an approved order to recruit – they took responsibility from the moment any hiring manager considered a need to recruit.

Since the new service went live ECC has seen zero days of downtime and 0% turnover in the internal recruitment team. Some 1,764 permanent appointments have been made and time to hire has reduced by seven working days on average. It saved £1.2m in temporary recruitment spend and £490k in permanent recruitment spend in 2020.

Applications from black and black British African candidates have increased 3.84% and applications from Asian and Asian British Indian candidates increased by 1.79% since a new EVP was launched. Applications from 20 to 24-year olds have increased 7.42%. A new ATS has also gone live.

KPMG in partnership with Cappfinity

To give interns and graduates greater insight to life at KPMG, the professional services company partnered with Cappfinity to launch an online immersive assessment, a digital job simulation and a virtual Launch Pad event.

The firm receives more than 30,000 applications a year and hires 1,000 graduates. In March 2020 it transitioned to a fully virtual selection model and this required changes to its Launch Pad outreach events that had previously been held in-person.

Designed to provide an accessible and memorable learning experience, the virtual Launch Pad event presented candidates with a blend of assessments including micro- and group exercises, which balance personal interaction with smart, flexible use of assessor resource. It can assess up to 180 candidates per day, via digital exercises and live strengths-based interviews.

The OIA includes a blend of assessment types. Business area-specific digital job simulations continued the assessment narrative introduced in the OIA and helped assessors evaluate candidates against the key strengths and cognitive capabilities required for success in the roles. Job simulations were chosen over a more traditional video interview approach due to the highly engaging candidate experience they provide and to give greater insight into candidates’ performance in role-specific situations.

The transition to virtual assessment centres has reduced the administrative burden on assessors, reduced assessment completion time from 8 hours to 3.5 hours, provided candidates with greater insight into the graduate experience at KPMG and enhanced KPMG’s employer brand.

London Northwest Healthcare University NHS Trust

London North West NHS University Healthcare NHS Trust was faced with a surge of admissions at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as staff absences through sickness and isolation.

The HR team was the first port of call for many queries and the team sought to provide clarity for managers and employees and quickly react to new requirements around self-isolation, risk assessments and shielding. A dedicated Covid-19 email address and telephone line was set up to handle queries, as well as a new FAQ website.

A Covid-19 risk assessment recording procedure had to be administered to more than 8,500 employees across all sites. Some staff had to quickly be redeployed or adjustments had to be made to their roles and within a few weeks more than 93% of employees were risk-assessed. To ensure it had staff with appropriate skills, over 5,000 training sessions were held to upskill staff who needed redeployment. The team also worked with junior doctors to agree a derogation from their contract to enable them to work to new rotas and pay.

Formal employee relations processes were revamped to focus on staff wellbeing and informal resolutions. The Trust has since seen a 41% reduction in formal procedures compared to the previous year.

At the peak up to 20% of staff were absent from work.  Real time absence reporting was introduced to ensure that all absences were reported and a daily absence report was produced to ensure that the Trust had full sight of staffing levels.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust has 8,500 workers geographically dispersed across the UK and recognised the need to support, connect and inspire them during the pandemic.

The result was the launch of The Big Shout Out, an online event that aimed to engage and thank staff and their families. It involved three virtual festival tents and over 40 hours of digital content based on the themes of compassion, collaboration and celebration.

Ideas for the day were crowdsourced from across the organisation and via social media. Sessions included a workout from Mr Motivator, a virtual coffee morning, virtual escape rooms, a kitchen disco and a bedtime story read by television presenter Nick Knowles.

The event received more than 9,000 views. Its May 2021 pulse check revealed that the event had a significant impact on life satisfaction scores (7.3 out of 10 compared with 6.6 among those who did not attend).

Staff welcomed the ability to network with colleagues they would never usually work with and found the sessions fun, interactive and informative.