Retail recruiting is tricky. Between the challenges of seasonal hiring, high turnover rates, and the pressure to identify the right candidates quickly, store managers need a recruitment model that can deliver, and fast: there simply is no time for any back and forth with a centralized HR department who may not be as familiar with the needs on a particular store’s floor. The solution? A decentralized recruiting model that delegates the recruiting responsibilities to different stores, while providing store managers the tools they need to hire quickly and effectively.

With 20 different brands in the UK, Travis Perkins is the UK’s largest supplier of building materials to the home improvement and construction market and has been recognized as a certified Top Employer in the UK for the 8th consecutive year (Top Employer Institute). In Avature’s recent webinar, we spoke with Resourcing Manager Karen Michelson to hear the story of how Travis Perkins has leveraged Avature to transform their hiring structure for more effective recruiting across 4,000 retail stores and 2,000 store managers.

Recruiting Challenges

Prior to using Avature, Travis Perkins struggled to handle the demands that come with a centralized retail recruiting structure, and were snowed under with requests from store managers.

“Our previous recruitment system was very basic and heavy on resources. Store managers had no direct access to the system at all. If they wanted to advertise a vacancy they needed to ring our HR admin who would create an advert and post it to our career site and designated job boards.”

– Karen Michelson, Resourcing Manager

Despite the excessive resources that the process consumed, the HR team maintained very little visibility into the 200,000 applications per year beyond receiving and forwarding CVs to the managers.

“We had no means of tracking and therefore had no idea which candidates were contacted, interviewed, rejected or offered…it’s a constant battle getting managers to think about the candidate experience, and moving them through a recruiting process.”

– Karen Michelson, Resourcing Manager

The Impact of a Poor Candidate Experience

The lack of recruitment process oversight led to an underreported and often poor candidate experience.  Keeping in mind that Travis Perkins candidates are also customers, this poor candidate experience had the potential to negatively impact the company’s bottom line.

“It’s not unusual for our customers to be candidates, and our managers wouldn’t dream of ignoring a customer who came into one of our branches, but they just don’t see recruitment as a priority…”

– Karen Michelson, Resourcing Manager

For example, one store last year had 14,000 candidates that never received an answer to their application. This was a substantial risk — the negative feelings of slighted candidates could very easily translate into a loss of willingness to shop at Travis Perkins stores. Calculating an average spend of 75 pounds per person, the potential financial loss due to poor candidate experience in this case was 1 million pounds lost.

To combat this, Travis Perkins realized they needed an easily customizable, consistent and compliant tool that would enable store managers to run a defined recruiting process, from posting a position all the way to making an offer.

Enabling Self-Sufficient In-Store Hiring with Avature

After learning about the full capabilities and flexibility of Avature, Travis Perkins came with a set of requirements to create a unique tool that would enable a decentralized recruiting process across all of their stores.

“It was about pulling everything together in one place, so that managers could do everything, in a true self-service portal.”

– Karen Michelson, Resourcing Manager

Working together, Avature and Travis Perkins designed a new in-store, self-service portal that allows store managers to manage recruiting from one platform, whether on the go or in the back office.

With the new portal, store managers can:

  • Use standard and branded templates to easily create and post job requisitions to job boards or career sites
  • Review CVs and view the status of each candidate in their talent pool
  • Trigger personalized emails to candidates throughout the process: confirm interview, send offers, request information through forms, and send offers
  • Request feedback from references that candidates provided in their CV
  • Configure mass disposition emails to notify unsuccessful candidates in a positive way
  • Save all feedback so that HR can follow the process and ensure a good candidate experience for future applicants

“We now know how many jobs have been advertised, how many candidates have been applying, how many people have been moved through the process and we can target those managers that are having a hard time.”

– Karen Michelson, Resourcing Manager

Encouraging Adoption & Engaging Managers

For retail store managers, often the last thing they want is to devote the time and energy to adopting a new technology. Engagement is a crucial part of a successful adoption, and Travis Perkins knew that their store managers needed to understand the reasons behind adopting the tool as well as the impact it could have on their business and sales. In a national event for store managers, Travis Perkins announced the new recruitment tool, explaining the benefits and reasons for its implementation.

To further support store managers during implementation, they set up a helpline and created an engagement platform in the form of a user community. Travis Perkins is continually looking to improve their in-store recruitment processes, and this year Karen explains that they will be looking to empower store managers even further while encouraging transparency:

“We want our managers to really utilize their candidate pools – and to be able to link them back into another job. We want to be able to share them with other managers, across the Travis Perkins Group in the region.”

Moving Forwards with In-Store Recruiting

For other retail organizations looking to move towards a decentralized recruiting model, Karen has the following advice:

In the pre-implementation phase, remember that store managers have many responsibilities and are inundated daily with lots of information as they perform their jobs. A new tool to manage recruiting is just another thing they have to deal with, so make the transition as simple and straightforward as possible. Communicate clearly with store managers. Educate them on the benefits of using the new tool and also on the impact it will have on the bottom lines of both their stores and the organization.

Driving engagement and adoption is still underway, but thanks to several different methods and engagement channels Travis Perkins has educated and shared knowledge successfully with store managers around the UK.  And the hard work has really paid off, concludes Karen:

“We were the architects of the idea, and we built the foundation of this project…and now the walls have gone up and we are moving people in – it feels like a really great achievement and we are really proud of what we’ve built.”

When fully implemented, a single easy-to-use platform provides retailers with comprehensive intelligence and an overview of all of the company’s HR activities across a decentralized hiring structure, whether in stores, franchises, or local branches. Learn more about how Avature In-Store can help your store managers hire and retain the best talent.