Under the new structure there is an HR manager in most stores, mixing coaching and support and an emphasis on business partnerships.
Communication played a major part in helping HR staff understand the new vision. This included the 'Rich Picture' (right) showing the journey from personnel admin to business partnering. A device called the HR Manager's Wheel was used to communicate the five main skills an HR manager needs: 'I am HR expert; I am the business partner and coach; I manage relationships; I am the talent manager; I am the change agent'.
What impressed the judges was the way HR is now seen as part of the business team, playing a crucial part in the overall turnaround. Major HR initiatives include simplification of the staff scheduling process - resulting in a benefit delivery of £8 billion a year; the introduction of HR shared services in Manchester, which has freed up HR teams to focus on the value-adding side of their role; online recruitment - producing a saving of over £1.6 million in costs; and the new Oracle Colleague Administration HR payroll system.
The team approach can also be seen in the way expansion has been handled. Convenience stores have been opening, on average, at a rate of two a week since November last year and all of these have gone smoothly.
For the huge strides the HR's team has made in successfully challenging negative perceptions of the 'McJob', judges deemed this worthy of high commendation. Today 88.1% of 'crew' say they are satisfied with their jobs; 82.6% feel valued and 86.4% would recommend working there. Other noteworthy successes are the creation of 5,000 new jobs for 2010; and its lowest ever crew turnover - a 20% reduction of since 2007.
The communications services company's HR team had to tackle staff turnover levels of 28% and feelings of 'disconnectedness' leavers revealed at their exit interviews. The success of the new, well-integrated approach to employee engagement, career and personal development helped change the statistic, said the judges: 89% of staff now think Azzurri is an excellent place to work, up from less than 50% the same time 12 months ago.
Royal College of Nursing
This article was first published on Human Resources