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Published: 21 May 2020

Royal Air Force – Joint winner 2020, Best for Innovation

The RAF has merged HR metrics and information from several sources into one central data repository (known as the Employment Policy Dashboard) that can now provide live data on take up of, and links between, flexible and family friendly policies such as parental leave. 

Based on inputs from individuals, Line Managers and HR staff, the Employment Policy Dashboard displays anonymised information on the age, sex, profession, ethnicity, rank and location of personnel using flexible working options, or parental leave options.  

Policy makers can see how many applications for a particular policy have been approved or rejected in a set period and identify relationships between policies, such as how many people first used maternity or paternity leave and then took shared parental leave. 

Over the last year, the RAF has further pooled data from multiple staff surveys and feedback from units on welfare provision with the metrics held on the data repository so as to be able to exploit HR analytics. 

HR analytics is crucial to help the RAF assess the effectiveness of its policies among such a large and diverse workforce. For example, the RAF can see that some polices are working well, with female personnel serving longer and staying longer after maternity leave. 

HR analytics can also help identify areas for improvement, such as a need for more support around childcare in order to retain staff. In this case, the data showed high childcare costs, particularly in the South, could force some personnel to leave, so the RAF engaged the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) to set up RAFA Kidz, to deliver not-for-profit nursery business offering quality childcare at a much more affordable price. 

The judges were impressed with how the RAF can provide hard evidence of the need for policy changes, and demonstrate the impact they make, rather than relying on a sense of altruism and ‘doing the right thing’.