Published on 06-Feb-2014
National Health Service
Smarter Workforce, Social Business, Social Business for Human Resources
Founded in 1948, the National Health Service (NHS) is the largest organization in Europe and the world’s fifth largest employer, with more than 1.7 million members on staff. NHS has a multibillion-dollar budget and has been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the best health service providers in the world.
Identifying and engaging top talent early in the graduate recruitment process to save the NHS Leadership Academy time and resources.
Implementing IBM® Kenexa® Behavioral Assessments for Professional and Managerial Roles on Cloud to discover top talent quicker and more efficiently.
· Reduced the available applicant pool in a simple manner that identifies top talent earlier in the process and gives the NHS Leadership Academy significant cost savings . Achieved retention rates after the first year for graduate recruits of 97.5 percent, and 67.5 percent after five years, cutting down on recruiting costs for an extended period of time
Founded in 1948, the National Health Service (NHS) is the largest organization in Europe and the world’s fifth largest employer, with more than 1.7 million members on staff. NHS has a multibillion-dollar budget and has been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the best health service providers in the world. Website: www.nhsgraduates.co.uk
The Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies give host nations an opportunity to showcase their culture, history and greatest achievements to a captive, global audience. The fact that organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London chose to highlight the success of its national healthcare system is a reflection of the United Kingdom’s enormous pride in the National Health Service (NHS).
The NHS is one of the oldest single-payer healthcare systems in the world, serving 62 million citizens living in the United Kingdom. The organization is publicly funded through taxation and most services are free at the point of use.
The NHS has seen tremendous growth during the last five decades. Today, it employs 1.7 million staff members including general practitioners; nurses; ambulance, hospital, medical and dental staff; and management. Finding qualified people to serve more than 3 million people a day is a daunting task.
The challenge: finding the next generation of leaders
Finding talented, qualified leaders is vital to the success of the NHS. Through its graduate recruitment schemes, the NHS strives to hire people who will emerge as the future leaders of the organization.
In July 2011, the NHS charged its Leadership Academy to hire recent graduates each year to serve in management or science-related positions.
The aim of the NHS Leadership Academy is to be recognized as a national center of excellence and as a beacon of best practices for leadership development and talent management, and to develop outstanding leadership in health to improve the quality of services and outcomes for patients.
Citizens of the UK have a high opinion about the NHS. The organization’s graduate schemes have won a number of accolades, including being named the Employer of Choice for General and HR Management in the Times Awards UK Graduate Careers Survey and ranking sixth in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers in 2010.
NHS jobs are highly sought after – the NHS Leadership Academy receives more than 40,000 applications each year for its graduate recruitment schemes.
“Because we have so many applicants, we needed a process in place that could manage huge numbers of candidates in a quick, efficient and fair manner,” said Rob Farace, Senior Program Lead Resourcing with the NHS Leadership Academy. “We needed an approach that would enable us to spot talent quickly and easily.”
Since 2006, Kenexa, an IBM Company, has provided NHS with the solution it needs to identify and engage top talent early in the recruitment process.
The solution: finding high performers
The NHS uses Kenexa’s cognitive ability (numerical and verbal reasoning) assessments. These tests are item-banked, meaning each candidate is presented with a random set of questions so, in essence, each applicant is given a different test. Kenexa’s psychometric experts collect the data and are constantly adjusting the benchmarks so that they are fair to the candidate but allow the organization to determine top talent.
These tests are deployed individually and are used as hurdles, meaning candidates have to perform sufficiently on one before they are invited to take the next test.
In 2011, Kenexa implemented a process that allows the NHS to look for high-performance behaviors by configuring its personality profile tool. This led the NHS to administer a dynamic personality test to provide another hurdle candidates must clear before advancing to the interview stage of the recruitment process.
This second assessment solution is not assessing a candidate’s cognitive ability, but is providing insight into behavioral traits to provide an alternative lens through which to view candidates and help determine who is more likely to become an effective leader in the NHS.
“By using Kenexa’s assessments, we have adopted an approach that judges people’s skills instead of their background,” Farace said. “Because of this approach, the quality of candidate coming through is excellent. We’re getting outstanding people through each process. We’re getting a well rounded image of each candidate before we make a selection.”
Kenexa has more than 1,500 ready-to-use assessments, but the company takes a tailored approach to each customer depending on the unique business challenges it faces. These assessments are based on a combination of science and a proven history of predicting performance through unique methods and observations.
Kenexa’s assessments allow companies to find the right person for the right job, which leads to higher performance, increased employee engagement, quicker time-to-productivity and lower turnover.
The results: enjoying the benefits
The inclusion of Kenexa’s assessments provides a number of benefits to the NHS, most notably the time the organization saves during the early stages of the recruitment process. Before implementing Kenexa’s online tests, the amount of resumes submitted for each open graduate position overwhelmed the talent acquisition team to the point of exhaustion.
“It would take us months to try and determine a short list of qualified candidates by hand,” Farace said. “Plus, with the online assessments we can be informed, balanced and empirical about where people are performing and how they measured up to our standards.”
Using Kenexa’s online assessments has resulted in significant cost savings for the NHS, and the time saved allows the talent acquisition staff to focus on more pressing issues. Adding to the organization’s savings is higher retention rates. Retention rates for the NHS’s graduate schemes after the first year is 97.5 percent, which is more than 4 percent higher than the average rates for UK companies with large-scale graduate hiring programs, according to a report by the Association of Graduate Recruiters. After five years, 67.5 percent of all graduates hired by the NHS Leadership Academy are still with the organization, cutting down on recruiting costs.
“And it’s more practical for the candidate,” Farace said. “Now, they can apply on their own time when it’s most convenient for the individual. It makes life easier for them.”
The success of using Kenexa’s assessments to hire graduate level positions is evident throughout the NHS.
“We know we’re getting better people for the interview process, people who are better suited for the next stage and have the necessary skills needed to succeed,” Farace said. “I think it’s fair to say that at first our administrators and line managers were a little bit skeptical about how well assessments tests would predict which candidates would make the best hires compared to the decisions they used to make. But the quality of candidates that has come through has persuaded them that it was the right decision to make.
“We went with Kenexa because of its reputation, and we extended our contract because what they do works for the NHS. The actual outcomes we have seen is proof this is the right approach to take and it’s been validated time and time again by the quality of candidates we hire.”
About Kenexa, an IBM Company
To us, business has always been personal – and it has always been about helping to make the workforce smarter, which is why we are proud to be a platform for a Smarter Workforce. We look at it from two angles – empowering people and transforming business. Our tools help enable businesses to attract and keep the best people, develop their skills, cultivate new leaders and capitalize on their collective intelligence by applying human insights, social tools and workforce analytics to transform the way they work. We provide deep insight and experience in employee engagement, talent management and leadership development mixed with industry-leading technology and social platforms, giving us the unique ability to build a Smarter Workforce.
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Products and services used
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