Our client, a global leader renowned for fantastic customer service and one of the most easily recognised brand names in its field, was aware that their recruitment process was not performing well. There were many complaints, both internally and externally. The recruitment process had evolved over the years to the point where it had become cumbersome, difficult and time-consuming to administer as well as unpleasant, repetitive and very off-putting for potential candidates. The organisation knew that it was in danger of badly damaging the employee brand if it could not change its recruitment processes.
Poor recruitment practices reverberated around the business in some alarming known metrics, such as time to hire averaging over four months.The size of the operation and its continual need for recruitment meant that no-one had the time or the space to analyse what was happening or how things could be improved.
We were engaged to investigate the reasons why recruitment was performing so poorly. As a starting point, we looked at all of the available recruitment metrics and analysed why shortfalls were happening. This gave us a clear plan of action to improve the overall recruitment process.
To understand how people felt about the recruitment process, we carried out an in-depth anonymous candidate survey to all recent internal and external candidates (many hundreds in total), both successful and unsuccessful, and at all levels from logistics assistant to Operations Director. People felt very strongly about the brand and we received a huge response of well over 35%. A clear picture began to emerge of a very poor candidate experience resulting from a convoluted process with little or no communication.
This detailed survey measured quantitative and qualitative fields. We began to understand why top talent was not being secured as often and as quickly as the business would have liked and why the company was not hiring as many people as it needed to keep pace with growth. We identified at what stage in the process that many candidates decided not to join, how they then perceived the business and how internal candidates were impacted by being poorly treated.
We then set about a review of the entire recruitment environment. We broke the recruitment process into five main sections; Resource Strategy & Definition, Sourcing & Attraction, Assessment & Selection, Offer Process and Data Management & Measurement. We process mapped the entire recruitment environment and interviewed all key stakeholders – various members of the recruitment team, hiring managers and recent recruits. The resultant gap analysis and detailed report explained how and why each section was underperforming and identified practical adjustments and reviews that would address each problem.
We found a generally reactive recruitment process that lacked consistency and had notable failures in communicating both with internal customers and the candidate community. The recruitment team was weighed down with largely unnecessary administration, not universally followed and with a lot of unofficial ‘work-arounds’, which also exposed the business to risk should candidates wish to see their files. Aside from the business risks, the recruitment team was hampered in trying to deliver results. The recruitment team itself was capable and adaptive to change, and the principles behind the recruitment process were sound. However, even with these credentials, the overloaded recruitment team was clearly powerless to make the necessary vast improvements to achieve the results needed without intervention.
As a result of the surveys and reports, the business has put in place a number of initiatives that we recommended and has reviewed and adjusted its recruitment practices across the UK. The next step is to roll out these same initiatives across their European operations, which is the result of dramatic improvements already seen in the UK.
The result is a much-improved process that is far more strategic than reactive and supports continued expansion, which is essential to ensuring the organisation retains its competitive advantage. Employer branding will now match candidates’ high expectations of this very well-regarded consumer brand. We are looking forward to providing further support to the business in the future.