It became clear that to meet the business targets for increased growth (double year-on-year) and profitability, a major transition programme within the HR competence of the business needed to be achieved over the next twelve months. Created in 1997 the Group were recognised as one of fastest growing consultancies in the UK recruitment industry, had an annual turnover of approximately £50 million and over 1,300 contractors working with over 600 clients.
There were a number of tactical and operational problem areas identified:
- Lack of management response to staff turnover and retention issues
- Insufficient use of appraisal and development information to improve performance
- A lack of sufficient HR expertise amongst business managers
- Insufficient business controls (discipline, information reporting, etc) over the recruitment, induction, development and promotion of permanent employees
- Improvement in productivity through improved team working and coaching
- A lack of an effective recruitment strategy, resulting in heavy reliance on agencies, and excessive recruitment costs
Working with the Managing Director, AVASST proposed three steps to develop a Human Resource Talent Development strategy, and embed good practices, that would support the achievement of its business goals, and priorities the perceived areas requiring improvement.
Step 1 – Conduct an audit of existing HR practices through consulting staff at all levels using a semi-structured questionnaire (designed in line with key drivers of the business) in ‘1:1’ discussions with a cross section of staff.
Step 2 – Recommend to the Board a roadmap for aligning HR practices against the business plan, and of concern to staff, showing short and medium term actions required.
Step 3 – Recommend an appropriate medium to long-term solution to developing the HR strategy and embedding good HR practices.
16 key areas were identified as requiring urgent development, and were prioritised according to criteria; financial value, customer service and organisational health.
The top five areas prioritised were: managing ‘change’, managing staff turnover, introducing core competencies in the business, delivering personal development plans, improved communication processes to increase awareness and understanding of core HR practices.
AVASST created and managed a programme of improvement over the 12 month period using project management techniques. An AVASST consultant joined as Non-Executive Director for twelve months to facilitate HR strategy, act as a coach to business managers and launch various initiatives in line with the agreed roadmap.