Labor Market Trends Impacting Customer Service Hiring 

In today’s tumultuous labor market, where some industries are slowing down, customer service hiring is still challenging across financial services, utilities, hospitality and retail. Organizations in these sectors often find themselves competing on customer experience, which is being impacted by the lack of staff.  

A consumer survey from PwC shows that the four most important factors for an exceptional customer experience are speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service. The key to excelling in these factors is happy, engaged employees. Organizations with highly engaged workforces are 21% more productive, outperform competitors by 147% and have customer loyalty rates 233% higher than companies without engaged employees. 

How can companies achieve this kind of success when they are struggling to fill their customer-facing vacancies? Talent acquisition leaders are getting creative to recruit and retain customer service and call center talent. Here are three trends in how companies are adjusting their approach to hiring and engaging a customer-focused workforce.  

Trend 1: Hiring for Potential 

As customer expectations have changed, so have the skills needed for top customer service talent. We recently conducted a poll in which talent leaders indicated that soft skills related to emotional intelligence are highly sought after. 

The most desired skills for customer service recruiting are communication, empathy and relationship building.

We’ve worked with several of our clients to implement a culture-centric approach for attracting talent. Instead of assessing candidates based on previous work experience, we advise evaluating based on whether they possess the right skills, values and behaviors to be successful in the role. We’re reimagining interviews and assessments to be more focused on soft skills and purpose as we help talent leaders and hiring managers embrace candidates coming from outside of their industry.  

Trend 2: Expanding Talent Pools  

With job openings outnumbering job seekers, organizations across sectors find themselves getting creative as they try to expand their talent pool. For some, this means looking into new talent audiences, like underrepresented group or military veterans, and putting programs in place such as apprenticeships to future-proof their talent pipeline.  

For many companies, the growth of remote work means that they’re looking outside of their physical call center locations to candidates across the country and even expanding to new countries. This requires an adjustment to your talent acquisition strategy to ensure your employer brand and recruitment processes are ready to handle dispersed talent.  

Trend 3: Adapting to Remote Work 

Remote work is impacting more than just where talent comes from, it also affects how organizations onboard and engage their staff. As some countries are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, customer service representatives are fielding queries from vulnerable customers which can be especially draining. Talent leaders are getting creative in how they connect with staff to ensure a sense of belonging and wellness—regardless of where the employee is working.  

Some contact centers have even adjusted their operational structure to work in “pods” which ensures agents—both in the office and remote—get the support they need to solve customer queries efficiently. Before, managers and team leads could walk around the call center floor and see when agents looked stressed. Remote working has made it harder to monitor employee wellbeing. Customer-focused leaders are investing in employee wellbeing, from training managers to catch the signs of burnout to offering wellbeing support programs.  

These are just a few of the labor market trends that are impacting how companies hire and engage talent. Clearly, organizations are finding creative and bold ways to invest in their employees to maintain a resilient and customer-focused workforce.  

9 STRATEGIES FOR SOLVING HIGH-VOLUME HIRING CHALLENGES

Strategies for Overcoming High-Volume Hiring Challenges

Competition for talent is steep, with high demand from contact centers, hospitality, retail, security, travel, logistics, healthcare and even government entities. In fact, 65% of companies have high-volume recruitment needs. Organizations across sectors are struggling to stand out in today’s competitive talent landscape, but for those talent leaders trying to meet their high-volume recruitment goals it feels like an impossible mission with soaring attrition rates, labor shortages and record job vacancies.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the top challenges you’re probably experiencing with high-volume recruitment and offer some ideas to address them.

What is High-Volume Recruitment?

High-volume recruitment involves sourcing, screening, interviewing and hiring large numbers of applicants for similar openings or job types. It requires a tricky balance of keeping substantial quantities of job applicants moving through the recruitment process at speed. Plus, throughout the year it requires talent acquisition teams to scale up quickly to meet seasonal demand, like for holiday shopping periods or during peak travel times.

ebook

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

The High-Volume Hiring Landscape

COVID-19 was a mixed bag for high-volume recruitment. Retail and logistics workers were less severely impacted by furloughs and layoffs due to the “front line” status of grocery stores and the growth in online shopping. However, other industries, including the travel and hospitality sectors, were hit hard as lockdown came into force. 

The following trends are shaping the high-volume recruitment landscape:

  • Increased Competition:
    Job openings have grown by a third since 2019, yet job seekers per opening have fallen by half. Plus, hourly employees who were let go during the pandemic may feel resentful of their former employers and may have moved on to other roles in other sectors.
  • Recruiters are Rare:
    As of April 2021, recruiter job postings on LinkedIn surpassed pre-pandemic levels. There’s a record number of roles to be filled and not enough recruiters to tackle the work, creating a series of knock-on effects for organizations.
  • Attrition is Skyrocketing:
    A massive 41% of the global workforce is considering quitting their jobs and only 20% report feeling engaged at work. In a recent survey, 55% of hiring managers cited retention and turnover as the number-one issue impacting their ability to hire—and their company’s ability to thrive.
  • Candidate Expectations Have Changed:
    Modern candidates have modern expectations which are more aligned with today’s consumer experience. They want digital-first experiences—on their mobile phone—and fast responses. In fact, they expect acknowledgement of their application immediately upon submission, first contact from a recruiter within 24 hours and regular updates on the hiring process in a timely manner.

High-Volume Recruitment Challenges and Solutions

In this challenging landscape, how can employers stand out from the competition and attract a large number of candidates quickly without sacrificing quality?

We’ll tackle three of the top challenges below and offer strategies you can use to get ahead.

Challenge: Ghosting and Candidate Drop Off are Rampant

“Ghosting”—not showing up with no reason given and often no communication from the candidate—is on the rise at the interview, assessment and even onboarding stages. According to an Indeed survey on ghosting in the workplace, 22% of candidates say they have accepted a job offer but didn’t show up for the first day of work.

Many organizations are not prepared to support the current pace of hiring. Candidates are much less tolerant of long recruitment processes and pauses in communication from employers, so organizations who can move the fastest are more likely to have their offers accepted. Plus, those doing high-volume recruitment are seeing an increase in candidates dropping out of the funnel even in the application phase. If applying for a position is too complicated or too long, candidates won’t complete it. Online applications with 45 or more questions have an abandonment rate of nearly 90%.

Solution:

An RPO partner can help you evaluate your recruitment processes and identify opportunities for efficiency. They may suggest steps you could eliminate or combine and introduce tactics to help reduce the time between steps to help you keep pace with candidate expectations and reduce ghosting. They can also take over time-consuming steps like reference verification and background checks, leaving your team to focus on moving candidates through he funnel faster.

RPO providers also have access to the latest talent acquisition technology which can automate parts of your process. Leveraging CRM technology enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), your RPO partner can nurture candidates through automated recruitment emails and even SMS messages. Texting is also a great way to screen candidates and automate interview scheduling, eliminating manual steps and accelerating your hiring timeline. By automating some of your candidate communications, you keep candidate engaged and reduce funnel drop off without increasing the workload for your recruiters and hiring managers.

Challenge: Desperation to Fill Vacancies Results in Reduced Quality-of-Hire

Increased attrition from the Great Resignation is leading to productivity loss. Many businesses have been forced to close stores due to lack of staff or because they don’t have enough staff to assist customers in a timely manner—in-store, in-branch or in the call center. The customer experience suffers which results in decreased sales and revenue loss, leading to some talent acquisition teams and hiring managers making bad hires out of desperation to fill vacancies.

With tight competition, time-to-offer has become a competitive differentiator. Often hiring managers may skip some interview or assessments steps in order to speed up their processes and keep talent in the funnel, leading them to compromise on quality-of-hire. Candidate without the right skills can also impact your customer experience.

Solution:

Challenge your assumptions or your hiring managers’ assumptions about the type of skills and background that are really needed for your roles. This will help you understand what experience is necessary for talent to have coming into the role and what can be learned on the job. We did this for one of our high-volume RPO clients that was struggling to hire for customer service roles. By interviewing their most successful customer-facing employees, we helped the brand realise that past customer service experience was not a predictor of future success, but rather employees stressed the amount of problem solving they had to do in their daily tasks. Not only did this expand their pool of talent, but it also helped to increase the quality of their hires and reduce attrition.

To support this, you should also rethink your candidate assessment so that it evaluates not just hard skills, like the ability to use a point-of-sale system, but also soft skills like empathy, attitude and work ethic, which are increasingly important for high-volume hiring. At PeopleScout, we’ve developed our whole person assessment model specifically for high-volume hiring. Through this we’ve helped many organizations create an assessment process that can identify and excite great candidates without extending their recruitment timeline.

Challenge: Leaning on Hiring Managers to Recruit is Leading to Burnout

With recruiters in short supply, hiring managers are picking up the slack in order to fill their vacancies. Unstructured, ineffective hiring processes and weak employer brands are putting the burden of attracting candidates and creating positive candidate experiences squarely on the hiring manager. The pressure only increases as they miss business targets due to lack of staff. In fact, 84% of hiring managers say they have hit or have come close to burnout because of hiring for their organization.

Solution:

A high-volume RPO solution helps augment your resources by acting as an extension of your in-house team. An RPO provider can handle everything at scale from sourcing and pipelining, screening, interviews, assessments, reference checks, offer management and more—whatever you need to free up your in-house recruiters and hiring managers to focus on more high-value tasks. Plus, RPO partners have particular focus on keeping hiring managers informed—whether it be ensuring they’re prepared for interviews or delivering feedback from candidates afterwards.

One of the biggest value-adds that RPO brings is experience with the latest talent technology innovations. An RPO partner can help you assess talent acquisition software to address all aspects of your recruiting process, from sourcing talent to creating a more efficient candidate experience. Your provider can show you how emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and predictive analytics can boost your speed and hire quality. Your hiring managers will love not having to spend so much time on administrative tasks.

Conclusion

The current talent market can’t be conquered with your old talent acquisition strategies. A high-volume RPO solution offers a range of approaches to help organizations attract, process and hire a large number of candidates. Whether you need to revamp your employer brand or to augment your in-house recruitment team, an RPO partner can help crank up your high-volume recruitment program.

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

Competition for hourly talent is steep, with high demand from call centers, hospitality, retail, security, travel, logistics, healthcare and even government entities. In fact, 65% of companies have high-volume recruitment needs.

Talent acquisition leaders are facing the most tumultuous job market in recent memory with an impossible combination of soaring job openings and a labor shortage.

  • So, how do they compete for hourly talent when the competition is so fierce?
  • And how can they prepare for seasonal peaks?
  • More importantly, how can they increase speed without sacrificing on quality-of-hire?

Download our ebook to learn 9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges. It’s a must-read for any talent acquisition team focused on solving critical problems in their high-volume hiring programs.

Seasonal Hiring: How RPO can Help You Better Source and Hire Seasonal Workers 

Hiring seasonal workers is essential for employers in need of extra talent during the holiday season. If your organization depends on seasonal hiring to augment your workforce, it is vital to efficiently source, recruit, and onboard your seasonal hires to ensure you are staffed during the holidays.

Without a well-designed seasonal hiring program in place, employers risk going understaffed for the holidays, or for other times of the year when a business reaches a peak. In this article, we will walk through how an RPO provider can help you hire talent for the holidays and equip you with tips on building a seasonal hiring pipeline.

What is a Seasonal Worker?

hiring seasonal workers

A seasonal worker or employee is a worker who works for a short period to meet seasonal peaks in demand for an employer. This might coincide with weather seasons or with holiday seasons.

Employers that use seasonal hires typically need assistance at the same time each year, for example as lifeguards or lawn care workers in the summer or ski instructors or snowplow drivers in the winter. When hiring seasonal workers, you can hire them on a part-time or full-time basis depending on your needs.

ebook

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

What are the Benefits of Hiring Seasonal Workers?

If your organization experiences seasonal peaks in demand, hiring seasonal workers can be a good solution for staffing issues. Here are some of the benefits:

Extra Hands When You Need Them: When a business reaches its peak season, seasonal workers provide you that extra help fast when you need it, without the expense and time of hiring full-time staff.

Assist Full-Time Staff: Your seasonal employees can help alleviate the load carried by your full-time employees. This can improve morale for your permanent workforce because they have the support they need during peak times.

Low Risk: When you hire a permanent employee, you don’t always know if they’ll be a good fit for the job. Seasonal employees are only hired for a short period. If they aren’t a good fit, you have only made a minimal investment.

Potential full-time employee: On the other hand, if you hire a seasonal employee who works out well, you might be able to offer them a permanent position when one becomes available. It’s a trial run that works as a recruiting method for permanent positions.

Better Seasonal Hiring Begins with Crafting Better Job Descriptions

seasonal hiring

Writing job descriptions for seasonal positions is different from temporary, full- and part-time roles. It is important that your job descriptions accurately reflect the nature of your open positions, so candidates know ahead of time if they should apply.

For example, many seasonal roles are in a warehouse and logistics setting and may require candidates to work in a more physically demanding environment. Major retailers and logistics companies are in serious need of seasonal logistics workers with Walmart looking to fill 20,000 logistics roles while UPS, Kohl’s and Target are in need of 100,000 seasonal warehouse hires each.

To better understand the nature of the seasonal jobs for which you are writing job descriptions consider spending time shadowing workers in the relevant seasonal positions. What’s more, COVID-19 has made many employers became more familiar with video interviewing, however, the idea of leveraging videos to enhance your employment marketing and employer branding is sometimes overlooked.  

Job descriptions can be bolstered with video. A seasonal job posting could include a short video of a hiring manager describing the job and what they are looking for in a seasonal hire. Your video can even include examples of workers performing the most common tasks required to give candidates an accurate idea of the work involved.

How RPO Can Help

RPO providers can help employers conceive of and create a talent attraction strategy that considers both the needs of employers and seasonal hires through a data-driven approach to talent advisory and recruitment marketing making you a seasonal employer of choice.

Sourcing Seasonal Hires

Recruiting seasonal employees begins with mining a verdant source of seasonal workers. Employers should look for candidates such as students and other demographic looking for short-term employment opportunities. For example, recruiting recent graduates who are taking time to figure out what they want to do long-term is one way of sourcing seasonal talent. Often, these candidates prefer the temporary nature of seasonal work compared to a longer-term commitment.

Moreover, hiring candidates with a seasonal work mindset can help you keep them around for the full season or even retain them for next year.

When sourcing seasonal workers, look to hire people who want seasonal work including

  • Retired workers
  • Workers looking for extra work during the holidays
  • Stay-at-home parents who want to work while their kids are in school
  • Students who are on holiday break

How RPO Can Help

Many RPO providers have talent pools and networks they can tap into to source the right candidates for seasonal positions. RPOs also have experience building talent pipelines from the ground up and can assist employers in creating a sustainable seasonal hiring program that delivers year-in-year-out.

RPO partners also offer technology expertise to help you track, measure and optimize your seasonal hiring campaign by showing which channels and recruitment marketing messages are yielding the best candidates. They can help you with recruitment analytics so you can see your recruitment funnel at all your sites in a centralize dashboard.

Managing High-Volume While Hiring Seasonal Workers

seasonal hires

Many employers in need of seasonal hires require a large volume of talent to keep up with peak demand. High-volume hiring at its heart is a problem of scale which requires optimizing your time and recruiting spend. Recruitment automation can help you reduce the manual workload on your recruiting team and hiring managers while keeping your visibility on all of the candidates progressing through different stages of the interview process. Automating certain steps, such as screening and triggering assessments, allows recruiters to focus their time on higher-value, strategic work.

How RPO Can Help

An HR outsourcing solution such as RPO provides employers the ability to scale up seamlessly as seasonal hiring demands shift. With an internal talent acquisition team, it may be difficult to scale up hiring quickly enough to handle a higher number of hires and then scale back down when hiring volumes shrink.  What’s more, recruitment technology platforms such as PeopleScout’s Affinix can help you automate your recruitment program and create great high-volume hiring efficiency.

Never Neglect Your End of-Season Plans

How you end a relationship with seasonal hires can help with next season’s hiring. Here are a few things to keep in mind at the end of the season:

  • Availability: Ask outgoing seasonal employees if they would be interested in returning next season. Some workers design their needs and lifestyle around managing seasonal and temporary jobs, and they may be looking for another opportunity next year.
  • Exit interviews: To learn from successes and drawbacks, hold exit interviews with seasonal employees, regardless of how long they worked with you. Having informative feedback can help streamline next year’s efforts.
  • Permanent talent: Tempting as it may be, you likely won’t have the means or the resources to bring every seasonal employee on full-time. However, keep an eye on exceptional workers whose mix of soft skills and talent would be excellent fit as vacancies come open during other parts of the year.

How RPO Can Help

An RPO provider can help organize your offboarding efforts at the end of the season by assisting in exit interviews, managing your seasonal worker database as well as hiring top performers to permanent positions. An RPO provider’s ability to scale down engagements quickly means the process can be seamlessly executed so that you can resume business as usual.

Are You in Need of a Seasonal Hiring Partner?

seasonal worker

When it comes to maintaining your seasonal operations and providing excellent customer service during your peak months, hiring seasonal employees can help keep your business moving.

Whether you are in need of seasonal recruiting or a permanent talent solution, employers in our new world of work face rising recruitment challenges. An outsourced recruitment solution like PeopleScout’s high-volume RPO and Total Workforce Solutions can help you stay connected with talent and provide hiring resources that will add immediate value to your talent programs.

Supporting Service Members with Career Counseling for a Major Retail Chain

Supporting Service Members with Career Counseling for a Major Retail Chain

Supporting Service Members with Career Counseling for a Major Retail Chain

A major multinational retail chain partnered with PeopleScout to support its counseling program for transitioning members of the military, veterans, military spouses, and National Guard and Reserves who are looking to take the next step in their career.

Dedicated career coaches for all program participants

Customizable career paths for participants 

Virtual intake meetings and ongoing calls

Situation

This retailer has partnered with PeopleScout since 2013 to support its veteran hiring initiatives. In 2013 when the program launched, veteran unemployment was higher than civilian unemployment. PeopleScout supported the client with direct placement, helping veterans honorably discharged on or after Memorial Day 2013 to find jobs at the retailer. The spouse component was added in 2018.

In 2019, while the veteran unemployment rate had dropped to just under 3%, the retailer was aware of the challenges that military service members were still facing when transitioning to civilian employment. The client wanted to reinvent the program to put an emphasis on career coaching and counseling for all service members to help them apply their leadership skills and teamwork experience to new careers.

Solution

The new program, which officially launched in May 2021, broadens the umbrella of the program to include veterans of any era and actively serving members of all branches of the military, military spouses, and National Guard and Reserves as well. It connects program participants to a plethora of resources from various organizations that have been vetted by the client.

When a new member registers for the program, PeopleScout assigns them a coach who helps facilitate the transition into civilian work. The PeopleScout coach schedules a virtual coaching session with the participant to perform an initial intake. This intake assesses skills, helps identify goals and determines the time commitment they can make to the program.

From there, participants confirm three paths: employment, education, or entrepreneurship.

EMPLOYMENT

PeopleScout career counselors help participants assess their strengths, build their resume and translate their military experience in a way that it applies to the civilian workplace. They also help service members and spouses find opportunities that match their career goals—whether that means employment with the retail client or another organization.

EDUCATION

PeopleScout coaches help participants get the educational foundation they need to reach their overall career goals.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

PeopleScout helps connect participants with the right resources to start their own businesses.

This emphasis on career counseling allows the participant to drive the program at their own pace and use their coach as much or as little as they like. Service members and spouses can take what they want from the program as they build their future.

Results

  • 3,500+ registrants since program launch

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Multinational Retailer
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT THE RETAILER: This U.S.-based retailer operates in 24 countries with 2.3 million employees. The organization has a rich history of supporting and hiring veterans and their spouses.
Download Case Study PDF

Overcoming Retail and Hospitality Recruiting Challenges

Hospitality staffing teams and retail recruiters are finding it more challenging than ever to recruit and retain employees. While recruitment and retention issues have long beleaguered the retail and hospitality industries, the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing difficulties:

The unemployment rate has finally fallen under 6%, the lowest since March 2020, however retail, leisure, and hospitality were hit hard by this pandemic and are still facing a major challenge in attracting talent to their respective industries.

In this article, we’ll look at the hiring challenges that retailers and hospitality organizations are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide talent acquisition strategies to overcome them.

The Retail Recruiting and Hospitality Staffing Landscape

With so many jobs available, why are retail recruiters and hospitality staffing professionals having trouble finding applicants? While there are numerous reasons why employers are finding it harder to fill these vacancies common candidate concerns include:

  • Patrons are not as generous as they once were. According to a Harris Poll conducted for Fast Company, 19% of Americans said they tip less now than before COVID-19. Even amid loosening restrictions, many restaurants still operate on a drive-thru or carry out-only basis – and tipping isn’t as generous or common. With waitstaff making an average of $7.00 per hour, tips are an essential portion of overall compensation. That bleeds through to hotel staff, too, as cleaners, bartenders and servers also rely on tips to supplement their salaries.
  • Loyal long-term employees who were let go may feel let down and underappreciated by their former employers and may be hesitant to reenter the hospitality or retail industry.
  • It’s a candidates’ market, despite unemployment numbers. With lessening restrictions, many businesses are re-opening – and they are all hiring at the same time, creating more competition for the same pool of talent.

To tackle these challenges, talent leaders must think outside the box. This means identifying new and non-traditional ways to incentivize potential candidates to apply for open positions. While improving compensation and benefits is a critical component to recruiting in the current talent market, there are additional strategies you can deploy. Below, we cover key retail and hospitality recruiting challenges and how your organization can overcome them.

Hospitality and Retail Recruiting Challenges and Solutions

Challenge: Hospitality and Retail Recruitment is Highly Decentralized

Large retailers and hospitality chains often have a decentralized recruiting process where managers are solely responsible for making recruitment decisions within their store or geographic location.

Decentralized recruitment processes vary from organization to organization. However, a common theme of this talent acquisition strategy is that it allows for greater autonomy and decision-making freedom for frontline managers. What’s more, a decentralized recruitment strategy is effective for geographically diverse organizations where each location may have specific, localized hiring requirements, labor laws and talent demographics.

Unfortunately, decentralization can lead to obstacles during turbulent labor markets. A lack of consistency, discipline and standardization across various locations can lead to a disorganized hiring process with varying policies, pay grades and a lack of coordination across geographies. This decentralization can make it difficult for talent leaders to ensure hiring practices are unbiased and ethical for every location within their organization.

Moreover, decentralization can run counter to an organization’s wider goals such as increasing compensation, diversity and inclusion initiatives and ensuring that new pandemic-related policies are being closely adhered to.

The Solution: Consider Centralizing Talent Acquisition

Centralized recruitment is a popular strategy among many employers outside of the retail and hospitality industries.

Operating within a more centralized recruitment infrastructure allows internal recruiting teams to develop reliable policies and universal standards for the hiring process across locations.

When hiring processes are standardized across an organization, all employees are hired using the same criteria, making it easier to share team members across locations if there is another store with employees capable of doing the same job.

What’s more, some organizations take a hybrid approach by having both centralized and decentralized recruiting functions, with some decisions and hiring policies deployed across the organization while others are implemented locally.

Whichever recruitment model you decide to pursue, a recruitment process outsourcing provider (RPO) can help retail recruiters and hospitality organizations centralize or hybridize their recruitment function. RPO providers work closely with internal talent teams to build out talent acquisition infrastructure and best practices enterprise-wide. RPO providers also lend support in sourcing, interviewing and hiring talent and can deploy advanced talent analytics technology for deeper insights into workforce trends.   

Challenge: Hospitality and Retail Recruitment is Often Conducted Face-to-Face

Traditionally, most candidates apply for retail and hospitality roles in person. However, as the pandemic persists, some would-be applicants may be hesitant to apply or interview face-to-face.

Solution: Take Hospitality and Retail Recruiting Interviews Virtual

Incorporating video interviewing into your talent acquisition toolbox can save your team hours of candidate sourcing and phone screens.

Virtual interviewing technology allows employers to have live, two-way video or a pre-recorded video interviews that candidates can do on their own time and from the safety of their home at their convenience. Video interviewing technology can be used to support a wide range of recruiting functions from candidate screening to offers and onboarding.

What’s more, the practice of virtually hiring and onboarding has been on the rise in retail and hospitality staffing in recent years as talent technology advances. Gap, for the first time, is allowing hires to apply online for any role in three minutes or less. Macy’s filled positions during a virtual hiring event and provided a convenient virtual process that allows candidates to interview from wherever.

Virtual interviewing, when paired with technologies such as text recruiting tools, offer enormous opportunities to improve recruiter efficiency, time to hire and build stronger relationships with candidates.

Challenges: Sourcing Hospitality and Retail Candidates with the Right Skills and Experience

According to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the question of how to address the skills gap more urgent. Nearly 90% of executives surveyed said current skills gaps are expected to increase in their workforce within the next few years, but less than half have a plan to address the issue.

To find the right employees, you should strongly consider expanding your definition of what qualifies as relevant experience. For example, if you have an applicant with no experience in retail, no experience operating a point-of-sale system and no experience managing other employees, you might be quick to write them off as an under-qualified candidate. However, you may be missing out on an ideal potential employee with the right soft skills to excel in the role, skills in short supply in retail and hospitality.

In fact, according to an SHRM report, talent and HR professionals in accommodation, food services and retail/wholesale were more likely than those in other industries to say that candidates did not have the right workplace soft skills such as problem-solving, interpersonal skills, communication, teamwork and leadership.

The Solution: Expand Your Talent Pool with Non-Traditional Candidates

A candidate who might not have the “right skills” at first glance could potentially become a top performer with a little on-the-job training and instruction. Instead of focusing so much on hard retail or hospitality skills and experience, keep your eyes open for candidates with transferable experience and skills such as customer-facing roles, managing finances, organizational skills 2 0789uiand other skill sets that may translate well. A Harvard Business Review article exploring the challenges employers face in “hiring low-skill, entry-level workers when economic conditions improve” highlighted how forward-thinking retail and hospitality organizations are boosting talent and business outcomes by adopting a recruiting model known as open hiring.

Open hiring looks for reasons to hire a candidate, rather than finding ways to exclude them. Major retail employers, including Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods and The Body Shop, have had success through open hiring strategies, including improvements in turnover, increases in productivity and a more resilient business continuity plan.

Here are a few questions you can ask candidates to better measure soft skills:

  • Has this person shown an ability to learn new skills quickly?
  • Does this person exhibit a positive attitude and the ability to work on a team?
  • Has this person displayed an aptitude for solving problems efficiently?

Hospitality Staffing and Retail Recruiting Is Crucial for Recovery

In retail and hospitality, every unfilled position represents missed opportunities to better serve your customers. While recruiting for retail and hospitality staffing at the moment might seem like a daunting task, implementing the right strategies and technology might just be the key to providing hiring managers and candidates alike with the tools to better navigate the industry’s new normal.

Sainsbury’s: Transforming a Traditional Retail Role with Recruitment Marketing

Sainsbury's: Transforming a Traditional Retail Role with Recruitment Marketing

Sainsbury’s: Transforming a Traditional Retail Role with Recruitment Marketing

As customer experience becomes the battleground for retail differentiation, Sainsbury’s turned to PeopleScout to help them hire the next generation of store managers.

19,000 Applications Received in First 12 Weeks

Beating our Target by 171%

4,500 Hires Made

Exceeding the Target of 2,400

1 M Candidate Engagements

as Part of the Campaign

Shopping habits have changed. And in the highly competitive UK retail sector, customer experience can make or break results for retailers. To capitalize on this, Sainsbury’s, one the UK’s big five supermarkets, decided to transform one of its traditional roles—and reimagine store management in the process.

Their goal? To create a simpler, more rewarding experience for staff and customers alike. Sainsbury’s wanted to replace the traditional role of retail store manager with a new role, Customer & Trading Manager.

This new role gave managers the freedom to get out of the weeds and really lead teams—creating a new era of retail management. This required new skills and a different mindset. Some of their retail professionals would be able to transition into these new roles but some wouldn’t have what it takes. So Sainsbury’s turned to PeopleScout to help them attract new talent from the outside.

Turning Negatives into Positives

From the start, we faced some significant challenges:

  • The role was entirely new to the market, so we had to explain the new, unfamiliar employment proposition clearly to audiences both inside and outside of retail.
  • The role of retail manager had an image problem. It was seen as a transactional role that often saw you stuck on the registers.
  • The media was confusing the issue. We needed to counteract several misleading, negative reports of large-scale retail redundancies.

Sainsbury’s considered this to be one of their biggest recruitment challenges. They asked us to challenge and overturn negative public perceptions of retail management, introduce an entirely new type of role and hire 2,400 managers, from 24,000 applicants—in just six months.

The Core Message

First, we took apart the job profile to challenge the requirements. It was clear that the single most motivating benefit of the role was the potential to be a leader and to get the very best from a team. This suggested that the best candidates for this new type of retail role didn’t necessarily need retail experience.

We wanted to reconnect people with the emotional core of what’s great about management. It meant presenting the role—and Sainsbury’s—in a new light. So, we stripped away the language associated with the day-to-day tasks and instead put the focus back on employees as people.

We developed an overarching campaign message, Leading Starts Here, to clearly state our employment offer.

And to bring it to life, we used the following concept as our organizing thought: We all need someone to inspire us.

This universal, relatable truth was what used to capture the moving stories of individuals who have overcome huge obstacles—everything from low self-esteem to disability—with the help of inspirational leaders.

Making it Authenitic

Video was our chosen vehicle. Our diverse cast reflected Sainsbury’s approach as an inclusive employer and included people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, people with common mental health issues and people with disabilities. While some of the responses were scripted, the strongest were spontaneous reactions to the simple prompt, tell me about someone who inspired you.

The campaign featured a blended approach of active and passive channels on- and offline:

  • Active channels included Indeed and a wide variety of other job boards as well as Google Search and Google Display Network.
  • Passive channels included billboards in key locations near major offices, newspapers, social media and other online destinations.
  • We used geo-location and behavioral targeting on search and social media to put our videos in front of audiences across the hospitality, travel, cabin crew, leisure and care industries.

We created 69 individual pieces of artwork, a campaign landing page with the hero video and an in-store toolkit, which included pull-up banners, poaching cards, posters, leaflets and stickers —everything a store needed to amplify the campaign.

The Results

  • Less than 10:1 application-to-hire ratio of high quality candidates.
  • Over 19,000 applications received in first 12 weeks (beating our target by 171%).
  • 4,500 hires made, exceeding the target of 2,400.
  • 69 content pieces produced.
  • £71 attraction-cost-per-hire achieved.
  • Close to 1 MILLION people engaged with the brand as part of the campaign.
  • After 12 weeks, the campaign had generated 376,986 clicks across online paid media. This has been achieved at an average cost per click of just £0.59.
  • The core film has been played 462,168 times and counting, receiving extremely positive feedback, praising its inclusive message.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Sainsbury’s
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
  • LOCATIONS: 600+ supermarkets across the UK
  • About Sainsbury’s: Sainsbury’s in the second largest supermarket chain in the UK. Their focus is to bring high quality food and household goods to consumers in-store and online, supported by their brands, Argos, Habitat, Tu, Nectar and Sainsbury’s Bank.
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Diageo: Bringing Iconic Characters to Life with a New Global Employer Brand

Diageo: Bringing Iconic Characters to Life with a New Global Employer Brand

Diageo: Bringing Iconic Characters to Life with a New Global Employer Brand

You might have heard of Captain Morgan, but have you heard of the parent brand Diageo? PeopleScout helped Diageo, one of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage manufacturers, with a new global employer brand that helped them both celebrate and transcend their iconic brands to attract world class talent across cultures, companies and languages.

26 One Employer Brand Nuanced to Resonate Across 26 Countries
5 Five In-Market Brand Launch Events Plus One Global Webinar
300,000 + Over 300k Impression on Social Media During Week of Brand Launch

Situation

Diageo has a portfolio of some of the world’s most renowned drinks brands including Guinness, Baileys and Captain Morgan. Even though its drink brands are long established, the Diageo brand itself is less recognizable, particularly in the employment space.

Our challenge was to develop an employer brand that cut through this lack of awareness and inspired people in a wide variety of commercial disciplines all across the world to see themselves at Diageo. The new brand needed to reflect their employer value proposition (EVP) to drive Diageo’s reputation as an employer of choice for world class talent globally and complement the existing corporate brand positioning.

Solution

Our mission was to create and launch a new and compelling employer brand for an employer that was being outshined by its own iconic products.

Delving into the Challenges

We dove into insights gathered from a variety of internal stakeholders—from experienced Diageo colleague to recent hires—across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, India and other parts of APAC. These employees were from several departments like e-commerce, supply chain, marketing, finance, HR, IT and customer management.

We realized that the wide variety of geographies that Diageo covers creates complex challenges for the business, from the differing strengths in consumer brands between markets to talent attraction techniques and cultural nuances relating to alcohol. So, we knew that the new employer brand had to be flexible enough to resonate in different countries and feature local employees as champions to bring it to life.

From an external perspective, a survey revealed that 58% of our target audience had not heard of Diageo. Yet, 78% said they would be interested in working there after we connected the Diageo name to their famous brands. So, we needed to find a way to link the Diageo name to their recognizable products.

A Unique EVP – Character is Everything

We anchored the new employer brand in the history of the organization: character. People of extraordinary character—like Arthur Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Charles Tanqueray—had built the business from the ground up centuries before. And their spirit lives on, driving every aspect of Diageo in the 21st Century.

The EVP we introduced—Character is Everything—was grounded in the history of their individual products as well as influenced by the characters we met at Diageo. We wanted the brand to be a celebration of their personalities, joy and enthusiasm for Diageo’s famous brands.

An example of the creative PeopleScout talent advisory team created to support Diageo employer brand.

We took Diageo through a comprehensive journey, developing pillars, narratives and collateral that fit into their overall corporate brand.

Tailoring the Employer Brand for Global Talent

We created six brand pillars, ensuring the message was compelling and authentic for audiences divided by geography or job area and then tested the proposition globally to gain buy-in business-wide.

In our narratives and designs, we made Diageo employees the brand heroes, telling local and global stories, and showcasing their characters to bring the Diageo story to life on every channel. The brand imagery was genuine and full of depth—from the smiling faces of real employees to the bold headlines.

We fine-tuned and then launched different iterations of the brand for different geographies. For example, in various African countries, recruiters told us that candidates responded well to messages around supporting the community. We also translated our communications into a range of languages.

The brand was designed to provide enough content and materials for immature markets to roll out independently, while still leaving enough scope and space for innovation in advanced markets.

Setting Diageo Up for Success

Our Talent Advisory team supported the brand launch across the globe, promoting and publicizing the new brand. We helped the Talent Engagement Teams to understand the proposition, what tools are available to them and how to use the brand effectively to hire great talent. We also supported internal launch events in which we engaged employees in activities to explain what it means to work for Diageo and the kinds of traits and behaviors they should look for in new hires.

Results

The new EVP and employer brand creative was well received across Diageo.

Launch Events

We hosted five in-market events plus a webinar which had over 500 webinar registrants, over 200 live participants and 30 on-demand views of the recording. These events inspired huge amounts of user-generated content on LinkedIn from employees.

Social Media

Diageo executed a series of posts across their social media channels under a unique branded hashtag, #characteriseverything, generating a huge amount of activity and traffic during the first week.

  • 329,472 overall impressions
  • 6,257 clicks plus 2,936 click-throughs to the Diageo career site
  • 2,986 likes
  • 179 shares
  • 72 comments
  • 3.19% overall engagement rate (well above industry average)

Global Reach

Activations of the brand have now reached 26 markets. So far, we’ve worked on:

  • A film to support recruitment in Budapest
  • Brand activation project for hiring in Korea
  • Communications for Diageo’s global ATS platform
  • A revamped toolkit for employee reward
  • Recruitment event collateral for Venezuela
  • A recruitment marketing campaign for early careers within the supply chain division
  • An internal communication project for the Diageo’s migration to Workday

We’ve gained evidence across a number of campaigns that the new employer brand is altering perceptions and boosting awareness of Diageo. There has been a great response internally too. Not only were we over-subscribed for brand champion volunteers, focus group feedback is showing an upswing in pride around the Character is Everything message.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Diageo
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
  • LOCATIONS: The refreshed Diageo employer brand was flexed to resonate in 26 different countries including Budapest, Korea and Venezuela.
  • ABOUT DIAGEO: Diageo is one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and beers including iconic brands like Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker. With over 27,00 employees, their 200+ brands are sold in 180 countries.
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Leveraging Technology to Improve Recruiting Efficiency and Candidate Experience

This American multinational manufacturing company required full life-cycle recruiting support and a technology-based solution for the hiring of hundreds of retail store and service positions across the U.S. and Canada.  

Solution Highlights 

  • Technology-enhanced candidate experience 
  • Implementation of automation to reduce time-consuming administrative tasks  
  • Robust analytics that turned historical data into actionable insights to identify opportunities for process optimization 

Situation 

The client experienced less than desirable outcomes from their previous RPO provider and chose PeopleScout as a partner because of our exemplary reputation and proven winning record in volume hiring in their industry. In addition, PeopleScout provided what had been lacking in their talent acquisition strategy: technology-based solutions, market intelligence and analytics, talent consultation, and standard reporting and compliance protection precautions.   

Solution 

Even with a stellar recruiting process, it would take the power of an integrated candidate management technology stack to make sure that hiring targets were being met with fewer human administrative tasks. 

PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology, AffinixTM was implemented to accelerate recruiter efficiency and enhance the candidate experience. The recruiting team leveraged Affinix Automation to do much of the repetitive heavy lifting in the process and relied on robust analytics that turned historical data into actionable insights to identify opportunities for process optimization. 

Affinix EndtoEnd Process 

The Affinix experience begins with a requisition feed from the client’s HRIS, where all hiring needs are approved. 

The jobs are integrated into the Affinix Applicant Tracking System which provides: 

  • An interface to edit the job to prepare it for posting/advertising 
  • The platform that posts the job to the client’s Affinix career website and creates a job description and job page to post the job to media 
  • The platform for recruiters to manage all candidates during the hiring journey 

Once posted, jobs are live on the client’s Affinix career website which allows candidates to:  

  • Quickly find the job they are looking for based on keyword, location or job family through intelligent and responsive search technology 
  • Join the talent community by quickly submitting their profile information if they are not ready to complete a job application  
  • Apply for a job through Affinix’s Quick Apply application, which captures all required candidate information and consent on one continuous and seamless page 
  • Automatically create a candidate dashboard to update their information, upload a new resume or change their communication preferences   

The Affinix Quick Apply application sends the candidate data to the Affinix ATS and CRM which creates a candidate record. With knockout questions built into the application, Affinix processes candidates who are qualified and sends a text or email message to the candidate inviting them to complete a pre-screen. 

Affinix Digital Interview then sends pre-screen questions by text and email. With hundreds of requisitions open concurrently, the power of Affinix Automation saves the recruiter the time it takes to pre-screen a candidate before the interview process. Having the option for candidates to answer pre-screen questions by SMS improves submission rate. Additionally, the recruiting team created a sophisticated scoring rubric for the technology to score the candidate based on their response. 

Affinix Digital Interview then automatically advances the candidate to be invited to a phone interview if they meet or exceed the score threshold. The event scheduling functionality in the Affinix Digital Interview platform gives invited candidates the opportunity to choose a time on their own from the recruiter’s calendar availability.   

Candidate information, activity and status automatically flow through to Affinix CRM. Because of the volume of qualified candidates who do not get hired, recruiters can classify candidates as silver or gold medalists, manage them in pipeline folders, and engage them with robust email campaigns. Some markets or jobs are urgent and when candidate traffic does not happen organically, the recruiters leverage Affinix Talent Matching, a sourcing platform built in the CRM.

Sourcing from hundreds of social and lifestyle sites, Affinix Talent Matching unleashes the requisition out on the open web to find relevant candidates whose profiles match the job requirements.

Since this sourcing tool is built into the CRM, sourced candidates can be added directly to pipeline folders. The recruiting team can also quickly build landing pages from Affinix CRM to be used as destination pages for pipeline-building campaigns like diversity and inclusion or new grads. 

Affinix Analytics gives visibility to the historic recruiting performance by job class, requisition, location and hiring manager. Most importantly, it provides predictive analysis so that the recruiting team can take action and make corrections if needed. 

Results 

The PeopleScout recruiting team meets and exceeds the client’s hiring targets because of how they masterfully leverage Affinix and its one mission—to improve candidate experience and recruiter efficiency. With Affinix:  

  • Candidates find jobs and complete job applications faster 
  • Candidates feel they are being given proper attention by getting quick responses with pre-screen questions and interview invitation, all swiftly done with automation 
  • Recruiters do less administrative tasks with Affinix managing the screening and scheduling process 
  • Recruiters can source, pipeline and engage candidates in the CRM to boost requisitions that are getting slow candidate traffic 

Affinix Success with the Client: 

  • 4,400 Annual Hires Across Engagement 
  • 265 Commercial Service Centers 
  • 1,300+ Annual Hires—77% increase from 2019 to 2020 
  • 16,000 Annual Applicants—14% increase from 2019 to 2020 
  • 19 Manufacturing Plants Across North America  
  • 1,300+ Annual Hires—232% increase from 2019 to 2020 
  • 25,000 Annual Applicants—48% increase from 2019 to 2020 
  • Improved Interview to Offer Ratio 
  • The interview to offer improved from 8.8 days to 3.3 days 
  • Improved Time from Interview to Offer  
  • Decreased from 9 days to 3.4 days 

Providing Flexibility and Speed to Meet Accelerated Talent Demands

Situation

A major American retail corporation faced difficulties with the ability of their long-term RPO provider to meet hiring targets for their seasonal, high-volume hiring program. As the client’s RPO provider began missing critical hiring targets without demonstrating any corrective actions, the client turned to PeopleScout to step in and assume ownership of hiring for the vital call center roles. With their busy season fast approaching, and a need for specialized call-center talent to meet surging demand, the client transitioned the project to hire more than 2,000 call center representatives on an accelerated timeline of two months to PeopleScout.

Solution

  • To facilitate the hiring of 2,000+ call center roles across numerous multi-location regions in the United States in a compressed time-frame, PeopleScout utilized its Flex Team to add 30+ recruiters dedicated to meeting the client’s seasonal hiring needs in approximately one week, with plans to add additional resources as needed.
  • PeopleScout’s scaled-up team includes veteran recruiters with direct experience working with our client. The familiarity and deep understanding of our client’s historic hiring needs ensures our team hits the ground running without any disruption to our client’s business.
  • To help navigate the recruiting challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, PeopleScout’s team sources, screens and hires call center talent that are able to work from home to support the client.
  • PeopleScout’s rapid deployment played a key role in our ability to get our client’s seasonal hiring program back on track. We are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to the client by our ability to source specialized call center talent and hire on time and on target.