Interview with client Steve Ball, Head of HR for URENCO UK

Steve Ball, Head of HR for URENCO UK, speaks to Sylvia Doyle

What were you setting out to achieve?

Our parent business, URENCO UK, has a long and well-established culture. We were tasked with setting up URENCO ChemPlants. This required us to develop and implement a reward strategy and practices, together with strong people management practices, to deliver the new business model.

How did you go about it?

Engaging with the senior management team and selecting the right reward consultancy were our first priorities. We selected Reward First People Consulting to help deliver our goals. Developing a performance-focused culture at both the team and individual level was critical to our success. This demanded flexibility combined with strong levels of personal accountability. Also, because we operate within a very tight employment market, developing market-driven reward practices was essential. To ensure transparency and to promote personal accountability and performance we developed a reward structure and practices that reflected these attributes. And we implemented it last year with the full endorsement of the leadership team.

What were your key reward challenges?

There was the obvious challenge of developing a greenfield business alongside an existing, long-established business. However establishing reward practices capable of attracting as well as retaining high-calibre staff was also high on the agenda given the competitive market we operate in.

How did you overcome these reward challenges?

Working on a ‘clean sheet’ basis provided the opportunity to establish reward practices that aligned with our new culture and operating model. On a practical level our new pay structure focuses on developing career paths so staff can clearly understand what is required of them at each level. This also helps reinforce expectations about personal accountability. The use of pay zones is also helping us achieve a strong performance management culture that recognises the contribution best performers make to the business.

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