Leadership: The Heart of HR

chief human resources officer
Meet the 2016 CHRO of the Year and Talent Acquisition Leader of the Year Award finalists who are bringing their teams to triumph.
By Christa Elliott

Outstanding CHROs and talent acquisition leaders will be recognised and celebrated for their efforts and achievements with the Chief HR Officer of the Year and Talent Acquisition Leader of the Year Awards during the HRO Today Forum EMEA on 9 November, 2016.

This year marks the second annual CHRO of the Year EMEA Awards—this honour goes to a CHRO with the ability to adapt to a constantly changing and challenging business environment whilst delivering the people skills companies need. At HRO Today, we value the importance of CHROs as they drive workforce initiatives through innovation and with results.

The TA Leader of the Year award represents the role that talent plays as a critical organisational asset. The leaders who drive talent initiatives are directly responsible for attracting and retaining top performers, and therefore deserve to be recognised for their important contributions to their organisations by and large.

Below are six CHRO finalists and seven talent acquisition leader finalists selected from a roundup of incredible nominees. The finalists are listed by award category, then alphabetically. These are all of our finalists at press time.

CHRO of the Year Finalists

Leatham Green
Programme Director of People and Change

Orbis – Partnership between East Sussex and Surrey County Councils

Leatham Green is an outstanding leader who accomplishes tasks and delivers results evident by his impressive track record in transforming services with innovation and flair. Using a four-year HR strategy that included senior-level support, the programme director executed an HR transformation and earned financial efficiencies to boot.

Innovation & Impact: Green was tasked with creating and implementing a change and transition strategy for the operating model and culture of the biggest public sector shared service partnership between East Sussex and Surrey County Councils. The organization also faced a challenge of absenteeism amongst the employee population, which was driving up sick pay and agency fees. Green’s solution? A health and wellness programme that offers employees avenues to better health through free physiotherapy, smoking cessation clinics, discounted gym memberships, head and back massage, reflexology, health checks, and increased access to health insurance.

Pinar Kalay
Human Resources Director
Vodafone Telecommunication Turkey

In her role, Pinar Kalay has built initiatives to help Vodafone Telecommunication Turkey better realise its vision of “being the leader of digital transformation in Turkey.”

Innovation & Impact: Leadership is key to the entrepreneurial spirit and transformational culture of Vodafone. Kalay’s transformational leadership programme encourages executives to realign their approaches with company culture. To encourage internal mobility and career growth amongst current employees, Kalay also implemented the Red Experience and Career Paths programmes. Today, 65 per cent of job openings are placed with current talent.

On the technology side, Kalay strived to enhance the employee experience digitally. The organisation has implemented two innovative mobile applications that provide employees access to training programmes, meeting room management, and benefits information.

Rajitha Singh
Head of Human Resources
Broadridge Financial Solutions, India Pvt. Ltd.

Rajita Singh has proven herself to be an outstanding HR leader, especially during the challenge of Broadridge becoming independent from ADP. She firmly stresses the importance of being Innovative—she believes it inspires company and individual growth.

Innovation & Impact: At the time of the company separation, ADP had 40,000 employees worldwide; 2,500 of which were in India. This complicated Broadridge’s independence from ADP: Singh faced logistical, legal, and operational hurdles. Plus she had to contend with understandable employee apprehension. But the organisation has transitioned successfully to operate as an independent entity. Record-high employee engagement levels during this time can be attributed to Singh’s strong leadership and dedication to organisational values.

Nigel Sullivan
Group HR Director
TalkTalk pic.

Nigel Sullivan joined TalkTalk in 2010, and since then, has worked closely with CEO Dido Harding to engineer a business transformation. TalkTalk is a large player in the telecoms market focused on value, but when sullivan came on board, there were few people strategies in place. He took it upon himself to make changes.

Innovation & Impact: Talent management and employee engagement are at the heart of Sullivan’s human capital management strategies. Employee-centred programmes include improved onboarding, training and development programmes, recognition, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. And they’re working. TalkTalk’s ‘Great Place to Work Survey’ reports employee engagement levels at more than 90 per cent—a 15 per cent increase since Nigel joined the organisation. Internal mobility is also at an impressive 30 per cent, providing employees with the growth opportunities they seek in order to stay.

Charlotte Sword
Global HR Director
Foster + Partners

Global HR Director Charlotte Sword was a key player when Foster + Partners’ expanded their global footprint to the Middle East, Asia and the USA. Several employee challenges arose, and Sword’s innovative approach to global talent management and global talent mobility positioned the organisation to be leader in its field.

Innovation & Impact: Knowledge transfer and assignee training was a critical component of the organisation’s expansion into new regions. Sword and her team implemented several initiatives to assist in successful international assignments: a cost projection tool; travel assistance to help with medical, travel, and security information; cultural awareness training; and language classes. This new approach increased the organization’s projects to be the highest amount in 2015 with 85 per cent occurring abroad.

Arne-Christian Van Der Tang
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
TomTom International

A highly competitive market drives the innovative approach to talent Arne-Christian van der Tang brings to TomTom International. He is responsible for not only changing how the company approaches recruitment and employer brand, but he also positions HR as a strategic partner to the overall organisation.

Innovation & Impact: Van der Tang s keen focus on organisational culture and employer brand has elevated how the company recruits talent. He enlisted employee ambassadors to share personal experiences and company news on social media. This has catapulted TomTom to have one of the fastest growing brands, according to Brand Finance, reporting a 41 per cent increase from last year. These efforts have also had a major impact on employee engagement scores.

Talent Acquisition Leader of the Year Finalists

James Atkins
Talent Acquisition Global Excellence Manager
Caterpillar

James Atkins, Caterpillar’s talent acquisition global excellence manager, created a transformational talent acquisition plan which resulted in an increase in innovation at the company. Atkins, a global thought leader, has also been invited to judge multiple recent management and recruitment awards in Europe.

Innovation & Impact: Declining markets between 2011 and 2015 created a challenging hiring environment, and, at the same time, Caterpillar’s talent organisation strategy wasn’t conducive to the business. Atkins’ took these multiple challenges head-on as he created the plan which ensured more innovation, flexibility, and excellence in the company whilst reducing enterprise period cost. He stressed the following initiatives: improve the time to delivery, protect the company brand, professionalise ways of working and service user experience, focus on core activities, and lower cost per process. Atkins improved departmental engagement figures and achieved an 80 per cent engagement rating.

Tara Benton
Head of Resourcing
UK Vodafone UK

Tara Benton has proven herself to be a visionary talent acquisition leader as head of resourcing for the U.K. at Vodafone. She embraces technology and innovation to deliver quality new hires for a constantly transforming business.

Innovation & Impact: Benton’s responsibilities include volume and executive hiring, analytics and employer brand, leading an internal team as well as an RPO—all roles of which she has excelled at. Benton’s effort in talent acquisition has resulted in over 5.000 new hires, a 68 per cent candidate net promoter score, more than 20.000 candidates participating in technology processes like video interviews, and over £1 million in savings in the last year alone.

Szen Chew
International Recruiting Manager
Ciena

In his role, Szen Chew has created and championed a number of effective talent acquisition initiatives that drove results. He has increased engagement levels with both candidates and hiring managers, and provided a new, successful interview framework for the organisation, which hires more than 800 people per year.

Innovation & Impact: Chew’s successes are extensive. One large achievement was creating a new intranet site at the company, which was necessary for handling the high volume of candidates in an efficient manner. The site includes a broad range of tools for managers like interview frameworks, and guidance on interviewing for candidate potential in accordance with Ciena standards. Chew also increased the visibility of the company brand with a series of roadshow presentations to conference groups. The goal was to emphasise the importance of an effective interviewing and hiring process and to share how to successfully leverage available tools, like utilising social media practices. His internal campaigning has led to up to 40 per cent referrals in some countries—no small feat.

Suzannah Kwok
Head Of Executive Search Cabinet Office

Suzannah Kwok is blazing a new trail in public sector hiring. The U.K. government recently decided That a talent acquisition Expert on board was necessary to ensure quality hires. In 2015, the Cabinet Office hired Suzannah Kwok as head of executive search and she became a part of a new crossgovernment internal executive search team. Before this step change in approach, the UK government exclusively outsourced hiring of hard to secure candidates to external search firms. Kwok was hired for her track record in recruiting exceptional and quality candidates—previously in the private sector, but with the potential for success at government hiring.

Innovation & Impact: Kwok’s work has boosted government efforts to attract and hire a more diverse range of high-quality external candidates—with particular successes in numbers of senior women being hired. This enhanced capability has become particularly important post Brexit and other vast changes in the social and political structure of the U.K. today. She successfully set up an inhouse search function which specialises in niche and high-profile roles, stressing innovation to acquire a higher quality of talent. She has also provided the opportunity for outside candidates to be more prepared for success in applying for civil service vacancies— attracting a range of talented individuals to join the government sector.

Mark E. Smith
Head Of EMAE Recruitment
Caterpillar

Mark Smith, head of EMAE recruitment at Caterpillar, has led the company’s talent acquisition team since 2012, and created a new vision of the programme—one that is an important part of the business strategy. He helped with the implementation of a new applicant tracking system that has made the hiring process more effective and Streamlined, whilst focusing the team on the essential qualities of customer service.

Innovation & Impact: Smith drove Caterpillar’s brand awareness, whilst focusing on multiple important initiatives. Before Smith’s appointment as head of EM AE recruitment, the company had few metrics and measures of success, nor the technology to assess it. Smith emphasised the importance of data—and not only the need to monitor internal performance, but also to look outwards at the industry and benchmark results. He ensured the company was constantly keeping up with technology as a medium for quality talent acquisition and management. Smith used new types of social media to enhance the company’s image and create new ways to provide service to customers as well.

Jo Sullivan
Head Of People
Guide Dogs

As head of people at Guide Dogs, Jo Sullivan is heavily involved with rot only talent acquisition, but ensuring that the 1,400 employees and 13,000 volunteers are diverse, engaged, and successful. She operates various people functions, including human resources, volunteering, and business partnering, and she has created a single, innovative people strategy that the company utilises. This strategy allows the organisation to shift from being primarily service delivery focused to a people- and customer-centric service.

Innovation & Impact: Under Sullivan’s leadership, Guide Dogs introduced many new initiatives, including a pay progression programme, flexible benefits operation, and a new self-service HR system. These efforts led to the reduction in caseloads, which then allowed the organisation to have time to empower managers through training, as the people-related services were restructured and brought together,

Diversity and inclusion is of the utmost importance to Sullivan. She led the charge in improving the retention of employees with disabilities via diversity workshops and localised diversity action plans. The number of blind/partially-sighted employees at the company has increased by 22 per cent in 12 months and 10 per cent of new recruits last year were from a black and minority ethnicity background. She also increased staff engagement results from 43 per cent overall engagement in 2013 to 54 per cent in 2015.

Nabil Tarhouni
HR Director
NPS Energy

Nabil Tarhouni, HR director at NPS Energy, is an innovator and leader in talent acquisition. His efforts and drive for success while retainign quality candidates has allowed the company to develop into a key player in the oil and gas services sctor.

Innovation & Impact: Tarhouni joined NPS in 2007, when the company’s HR function and its impact was relatively small. He saw the potential for a successful hiring and management system—so he developed the function from being an administrative partner to a business partner while empowering the HR TEAM by: developing a variety of services including grading, new salary structures, career development programmes, training, performance management systems, and HRIS. Tarhouni and his team have driven localisation initiatives, and he ensures all employees are being used effectively and to their full potential to maximise efficiency. Under his leadership, NPS has maintained a very high rate of retention, 95 percent, during a difficult market climate.

Posted October 31, 2016 in Talent Acquisition

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