Electricity North West


Electricity North West Limited (ENWL) is one of 14 Distribution Network Operators (DNO) and is responsible for the delivery of Electricity to the North West Region of the UK.

During 2022 all 14 DNOs were required to submit their plans for the next five years to OFGEM, the industry regulator. In December 2022 ENWL received confirmation of final determination, including £1.75Bn of investment from April 2023.

Additionally, a new CEO joined ENWL with a commitment to delivering the OFGEM agreement as well as taking ENWL on a journey from “Good to Great”.

The “Good to Great” journey will see a review of ENWL vision and values, a refocusing on performance in all its guises and a shift in the culture of the organisation to reflect these revised priorities.

“I was looking to create a HR function which was responsive, proactive and professional. The Knowledge Bank offered us a vision and approach which helped us to achieve this.”

Rachael Parr – HR Director (ENWL)

The Challenge

ENWL had a People Strategy based on the Attract, Develop, Retain strategic objective underpinned by various activities which weren’t representative of what was really happening on a day-to-day basis. This coupled with a silo approach to the activities of centres of excellence, operational HR and Pay and benefits, portrayed HR as being uncoordinated and inconsistent.

The Knowledge Bank was approached to assist the Senior HR Leadership Team to align HR activity with the directorates vision and values. Thereby enhancing HR reputation and delivery of People Directorate Services.

Central to the “Good to Great” journey are the colleagues within ENWL and, consequently, the people strategy.

The 5i Approach

Investigation of current activity involving discussion groups with Senior and Wider Leadership Teams within HR. These were supplemented by observations of HR colleagues undertaking day-to-day activities and duties. Recipients of the HR service were also encourage to provide feedback.

Interpretation of the data to establish common themes upon which solution-based approaches could be developed.

Individualisation of plans to ensure ownership and buy-in.

Implementation of plans against targeted timelines, owned by team members.

Ingrain the changes into everyday activity and review areas for improvement in future years.

The Findings

Whilst HR internal customers were more than satisfied with the service, professionalism and delivery, there was an underlying current of inconsistency.
Internally, there was a culture of silo working which resulted in externally portrait of inconsistency. In essence no one knew the role of HR.

The HR strategic objectives of Attract, Develop, Retain was fit for purpose. However, there was no clear measure of success of these within the wider People Vision, and the underlying approaches didn’t complement each other. This resulted in internal resources being in competition with each other to deliver tactical and strategic objectives.

A further observation was the impact the Global Pandemic had had on the workload and priorities of the HR function. At the same time an increase in severe weather events, and their accompanying demands to safeguard vulnerable people and communities, had placed further pressures on the whole organisation including HR.

The Delivery

A three-stage programme was designed, built, and implemented.

Strategic Alignment

The People Vision

Measure of Success

Workforce Resilience Strategy

Strategic People Objectives

People Strategies

Our Foundations

‘The How’

Master Plan

Role of HR

Top Level Accountabilities

Responsibility, Accountability, Consultation & Inform (RACI)


Ingrain the structure leading to key added value activities


Performance Management

Diversity & Inclusion

Strategic Resource Planning

The Outcome

There is a clear alignment of activity with strategic purpose. Clarity on who is accountable and responsible for activities as well as measurement criteria. The Knowledge Bank provided the Senior HR Leadership Team with challenging observations, delivered in a constructive way. This allowed the team to revisit their established viewpoints. Consequently, the team are equipped to make the conscious effort to communicate the added value that HR provides to ENWL.

The approach to aligning HR strategic activities towards ENWL vision has been adopted as the template for the rest of the organisation.Peer feedback from HR customers show an improvement in the following areas:

Responsive having clarity on purpose and the services offered.

Independence of ‘mind’ in being able to balance the needs of the workforce with the demands of the management to deliver business requirements.

HR strategies are about resolving issues and problems which are strategically important for the business, no longer about separate HR strategies.

Proactive identifying events before they become issues and working closely with managers to resolve.

Aligned HR activity promotes the consistency and professionalism of the function – Real People Partners