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In early 2020, UK-based World Duty Free was fresh off of a record-breaking year, generating £1 billion in sales primarily through 25 UK airport shops. They were growing, innovating and developing new customer experiences with over 4,000 employees in retail, logistics and headquarters roles.

The pandemic sent them nose-diving, with sales plummeting from £100 million a month to zero, forcing them to shut down their operations for three months and furlough 96 percent of their workforce. Such was their attrition rate after several lockdowns during 2021 that, by the summer of 2022, they needed roughly 1,000 new colleagues to be back to full capacity.

Contending with the most challenging recruitment conditions in the UK and no in-house team, World Duty Free looked to ResourceBank and Avature for help.

About World Duty Free and ResourceBank

From cosmetics to confectionery, World Duty Free is the UK’s leading travel retailer. They offer a wide selection of premium brands from store to store, striving to provide the latest products at the best value prices. Their locations include London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted.

Established in 1995, ResourceBank employs a team of HR professionals who work with clients to provide customized and tailored services that meet their business needs. Their range of services incorporates HR consultancy, market intelligence, talent testing, staff assessment and employer branding among others. They strive to deliver a high-quality experience throughout each process using their vast expertise.

Attracting Candidates

“We developed a careers website with an embedded Avature candidate portal in 2018, so we were quickly able to advertise vacancies there and on job boards and social media.”

Mahj Hussain
Client Partnership Director at ResourceBank

Everyone who had previously expressed an interest in working for World Duty Free received personalized branded emails and SMS messages, while internal teams set up workflow reminders for these touchpoints through their Avature instance.

To complement their attraction efforts, they also:

  • Expanded their referrals scheme.
  • Attended several recruitment fairs locally and in airports.
  • Leveraged job boards and utilized a variety of campaigns, incorporating social media into the mix.

Thousands of candidates applied as a result of this activity. Once the attraction phase of the process was in place, ResourceBank worked to ensure candidates were assessed efficiently as time was of the essence.

High-Volume Screening

With more than 30,000 candidates to process, it could have taken the team weeks to get the job done. But ResourceBank leveraged Avature automation to speed up the process and reduce screening time dramatically. One key tool that contributed to their success was the Avature timeslot portal.

It allowed candidates to book an interview with the ResourceBank team at a convenient time and linked directly to their recruiters’ calendars to avoid double bookings. Those candidates that did not respond had naturally deselected themselves.

During this period, 5,000 candidates were interviewed by ResourceBank’s recruiters. Using Avature to streamline this endeavor helped to improve the team’s efficiency and reduced process time by 50 percent.

Using both group assessments and one-on-one interviews, World Duty Free then assessed 1,600 candidates. To facilitate this and gather feedback, ResourceBank used Avature’s Hiring Manager Portal, via which World Duty Free’s interviewers could:

  • View upcoming assessments.
  • Request new vacancies.
  • Request assessment dates.
  • Securely download interview schedules and candidate CVs.
  • Provide interview feedback for candidates.
  • Upload feedback within 48 hours of the candidates being assessed.

Onboarding Done Right

Working within an airport environment brings many challenges, including security clearance, which can be lengthy. To mitigate this, ResourceBank designed an onboarding portal where candidates could easily provide the information required to onboard them quickly and efficiently. But this portal also acted as an engagement platform where they could glimpse what would await them when joining World Duty Free.

Since its launch, over 4,000 candidates have accessed the onboarding portal. The fully paperless candidate experience eliminated the need to send out paper contracts, speeding up onboarding and reducing the offers processing time by 50 percent.

The Results

For companies in the retail sector, their candidates and employees are also customers, making it essential to provide a top-notch experience throughout the process. If it had fallen flat, they’d have risked losing valuable candidates and precious customers, which could impact their bottom line and reputation.

Luckily, this partnership was highly successful and the results speak for themselves:

  • 32,300 applications were submitted.
  • 5,200 interviews were held by ResourceBank
  • 1,650 interviews were held by World Duty Free managers.

This all led to 1,020 offers, surpassing their hiring target while demonstrating the quality of the candidates that made it to the final round of interviews.

The feedback from the satisfaction surveys was also impactful and a testament to the experience throughout:

  • 98 percent satisfaction after World Duty Free and ResourceBank interviews.
  • Net promoter score of 81 after World Duty Free interview.

“We couldn’t have coped internally handling over 30k applicants. Also the fantastic hit rate of two offers for every three WDF interviews and the engagement, satisfaction and feedback was excellent.”

Geoff Hall
HR Director UK at WDFG

Customer Stories

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