Workday Podcast: The British Heart Foundation Pumps Efficiency Into Workflows

Human resources workflows are the lifeblood of organizations. Kerry Smith, director of people and organizational development at the British Heart Foundation—and recipient of HR Magazine’s Most Influential Practitioners award—shares how her organization improved the health of its culture.

This podcast was recorded before the global pandemic. While the world looks a lot different today, we believe this content remains valuable for helping organizations move forward and emerge stronger.

Audio is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world, taking about 17.9 million lives every year. To help lower these numbers, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) raises money for research through events and retail stores stocked with donated items. Since they started their fundraising efforts 60 years ago, the BHF has helped to reduce deaths from heart and circulatory diseases by more than half.

Despite these accomplishments, the organization knew it could do more by automating its paper-based human resources workflows. They were restricting everything from efficiency and fundraising efforts to employee engagement and retention across the BHF’s 750 sites.

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, I spoke with Kerry Smith, director of people and organizational development at the BHF, about how employees and volunteers at the organization helped drive a digital transformation that’s replaced sluggish 1960s processes with seamless, highly efficient workflows. 

Below you’ll find a few excerpts from my conversation with Smith, edited for clarity. You can find more episodes of the Workday Podcast here.

  • “We have grown the British Heart Foundation in terms of numbers, but also, we have reduced our employee turnover. We've increased our employee engagement from 67% to 82%. And we have increased the number of people who have been promoted internally.”

  • “There was a time when we could say, ‘We sense something,’ or, ‘We feel that that's the right answer.’ That doesn't work anymore. We've got to substantiate our thoughts with evidence. And this is why we need the information that Workday systems and reporting analytics give us. For the first time, retailers can see the cost of their workforce—including hours, resources, time tracking, and absences—in real-time reports.”

  • “Workday gives us the opportunity to work in a very different way. It has been so transformational that it feels like we went from driving a Fiat to a Ferrari literally overnight.”

  • “Bringing in more agile, digital tools has enabled us to attract a different sort of talent—people who are used to being much more flexible and fluid. . . . We no longer have to be London-centric. We can have people working in different places around the United Kingdom and still be connected.”

More Reading