Personnel Today Awards 2015 winners: Virgin Money victorious in Innovation in Recruitment prize

Virgin Money collect their trophy for Innovation in Recruitment trophy in 2015
Virgin Money collect their 2015 trophy for Innovation in Recruitment

MonsterVirgin Money returned from the Personnel Today Awards 2015 having won the Innovation in Recruitment category, sponsored by Monster. We take a look at their winning entry and those of our runners-up.


WINNER

Virgin Money

About the organisation

Virgin Money is a financial services brand used by three independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Money currently has operations in the UK with four million customers. The company was initially established as a personal finance company under the name of Virgin Direct in 1995, and the Virgin Money brand was introduced in 2000.

The challenge

Although it already had talented teams and prided itself on being a great place to work, and treating its staff fairly, Virgin wanted “someone different”; someone not from banking who has different experiences and views. It had no idea job title, no role profile, and no idea about package or seniority.

What the organisation did

  • Established a low-key online advertising campaign, combined with a pro-active search – this identified a different group of candidates, who were invited to “tell [Virgin] how they would change banking” in a three-minute selfie.
  • Invited 10 successful candidates to “The Worlds Most Creative Interview” – an immersive theatre experience developed collaboratively by creative experts and occupational psychologists from TMP Worldwide, together with immersive theatre directors from Punch Drunk and Secret Cinema.
  • Candidates were interviewed Dragons Den-style, with experiences including pitching an idea to a panel, having to tackle a brain teaser in a mysterious cellar, and having to deliver a motivational team talk in the England dressing room when the team were 3-0 down at half time.
  • Invited the final two candidates to complete further strengths-based assessments and had a final interview with the CEO. They were both hired.

Benefits and achievements

  • Candidates felt challenged, frightened, exhilarated and had to simply throw themselves into each experience and react – rather than think about responses.
  • Made two successful hires – Dhiraj Mukherjee is now our Head of Innovation. Dhiraj was one of the original founders of the music app Shazam. Neill Watson is now our Head of Content – pushing our thinking around new product concept.
  • Press response was positive – coverage in HR, marketing and national press reached a circulation of around 30 million.
  • The cost of the events was £40,000 – well worth the hires and positive press it created.
  • The experience changed Virgin Money’s perspective on recruitment. The company now aims to make every recruitment experience exciting and different.

Judges’ comments

“Very brave thing to do given cost and ‘out-there-ness’. A lovely idea.”


RUNNERS-UP

Association of Colleges Create

About the organisation

The Association of Colleges (AoC) is a representative body for 324 further education (FE) colleges in England. AoC’s commercial arm, AoC Create, delivers products and services to support colleges beyond what they are able to receive through their membership with AoC.

The challenge

Following AoC’s 2013 Recruiter Survey of its members and clients, respondents reported struggling in the recruitment of staff, especially making savings efficiencies alongside cuts to adult education funding. The sector spends more than £25 to £30 million annually and still finds it difficult to fill certain roles, such as those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. It needed a solution to enable colleges to lower their overall cost per hire and reduce annual recruitment advertising spend.

What the organisation did

Innovation in recruitment – the judges

Darren Hayman, Macmillan Davies Hodes

Mark Horley, Tonic Agency

  • Launched aocjobs.com, the specialist job board for the college sector, in September 2014.
  • Formed an expert reference group (comprising 40 college HR professionals) to provide requirements and end user testing feedback throughout the product development cycles.
  • Created partnerships with membership associations and private businesses to provide a mechanism to showcase FE to diverse audiences and raise awareness of the skills shortages and opportunities within the sector.
  • Formed a close relationship with the STEM Alliance and developed a specific landing page on AoC Jobs tailored to their needs.
  • Created a marketing campaign across a number of online and offline channels to targeted locations and demographics to raise awareness and attract new professionals in further education STEM subjects.
  • Rolled out a successful campaign across the London Underground network, where it advertised on stairs, corridors, lift and escalator panels.
  • Developed AoC jobs to: attract quality candidates to positions within FE colleges; promote the FE sector to a wider audience outside of our membership reach; profile and support recruitment campaigns for jobs roles that member colleges typically find hard to appoint; inspire and attract external expertise into the sector; and reduce the cost per hire for member colleges.

Benefits and achievements

  • AoC Jobs is the first FE job board to introduce fully responsive and mobile accessible technology into the marketplace, which has been well received throughout the sector.
  • London Underground marketing campaign covered more than 86% of the network; it generated an increase of 38% for new users visiting the site throughout the period of the campaign and increased traffic to the site by more than 100%.
  • Managed to achieve the lowest cost per hire per advert for our members – £50. This provides greater buying power and members have reported being able to renegotiate with other providers on the back of the aocjobs.com pricing model.
  • There are now more than 2,600 registered users to the site and a new communications channel for promoting association events and generating additional revenue for the business has been created.
  • Has recently been approached by the BBC to partner with them in an upcoming analysis of FE teaching and lecturing staff.
  • Average savings for members when using AoC Jobs is £3,000 p/a, when compared to competitor sites.

Judges’ comments

“Lots of uptake and well-executed ideas.”


Coventry City Council and TMP Worldwide

About the organisation

Coventry City Council is the local government body responsible for governing Coventry. TMP Worldwide delivers branding, attraction, sourcing and candidate-management solutions for both commercial-sector and public-sector recruitment.

The challenge

With 3,600 social worker vacancies across the UK and councils spending a total of £300 million on agency workers annually, hiring permanent staff is a tough enough challenge for any local authority. But following the much-publicised death of Daniel Pelka in 2012, Coventry City Council was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, with its reputation tarnished, and an inadequate Ofsted rating.

What the organisation did

  • Came up with an emotive (and controversial) campaign, “Do it for Daniel”, telling the honest story of his death and how it led to a complete overhaul of systems and processes.
  • Launched an attraction campaign including: advertising and editorial options; listings; banners; Job of the Week; videos; advertorials; “page peel”; and interviews with senior council directors.
  • Maximised editorial and PR coverage, including infiltrating social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • The campaign management team monitored the media performance on a weekly basis, increasing inventory where it proved successful and redirecting underperforming media to alternative channels.
  • Guided all candidate traffic to its dedicated mobile enabled website www.doitfordaniel.co.uk, where applicants could get more information about Coventry City Council and the reforms it had made.
  • Simplify the application process – by clicking the “register” button on the website, all interested candidates had to do was answer six clarification questions; and uploading a CV was optional.
  • Ensured that within two hours of any interest registered, candidates were contacted by telephone and informally interviewed. If they passed this stage, they were offered interviews within 48 hours, if they wished.
  • Made the role of social worker more balanced by reducing administration and focusing on innovation.

Benefits and achievements

  • Cost of per hire currently stands at £5,000 (it drops with every additional hire), with a generated click count of 10,849, and overall cost per click is £0.72.
  • Having recruited to 45 posts, the campaign has been a huge success. Over a 12-month period this campaign will have reduced agency spend by at least £600k.
  • The advertising equivalent value of the PR coverage generated is estimated at £350,000.
  • Coventry has offered an alternative blueprint for the recruitment of social workers.
  • Capped agency costs across the West Midlands, guaranteeing cost efficiencies for the Council, and ensuring that all social workers start their role on an equal footing.
  • Applauded for “Do it for Daniel” by the British Association of Social Workers.

Judges’ comments

“A very brave approach to social care recruitment. A very well put together campaign.”


oneSource

About the organisation

oneSource provides shared back office support services for local government and other public services. It was originally built on a successful partnership between the two London boroughs of Havering and Newham who worked together through sharing 22 different services and 1,350 staff.

The challenge

In 2012/2013, 65% of all councils experienced issues with social worker recruitment and recently there has been a staggering 74% increase in social worker vacancies. There was also the issue of Havering being a relatively unknown borough, therefore candidate attraction was difficult.

What the organisation did

  • Commissioned a recruitment and retention plan, which aimed to recruit newly qualified social workers and fill key vacancies in children services.
  • Introduced a new career progression scheme.
  • Developed innovative advertising campaigns, with a joined-up approach across all children’s services teams.
  • Developed a microsite using expertise from external partners including a campaign Applicant Tracking System.
  • Used evaluation results and insights to develop a targeted recruitment campaign and improve upon the previous underperforming content.
  • Revamped job adverts – partnered with Jobsgopublic, which rewrote them all for free, expanding on the role, the Council as a whole and the benefits that workers would receive.
  • Promoted all roles on social media channels after testing the copy to find out which ads were the most engaging and gave out the best message.
  • For the more senior positions, Jobsgopublic conducted in-depth online searches and directly contacted the passive jobseekers with a blend of the right skills and highly relevant experience.
  • Planned a structured timetable for candidates to appear on every advert and contacted all candidates that applied by telephone.

Benefits and achievements

  • Campaign led to the recruitment of: 15 social work roles; four social worker/senior social worker roles in the fostering and adoption service; two deputy team managers; and one adoption and permanence manager.
  • Four “Step Up to Social Work” trainees with Havering Council secured frontline social worker roles on the The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment programme in early 2015.
  • In July 2014, 22 of the 24 posts identified in May 2014 were filled, including the team with the most significant vacancy factor.
  • Council is now saving £250k per year: the difference between the pay rate for an agency social worker and a full-time employee (reduction of eight agency workers and recruiting eight permanent social workers instead).
  • Campaign sparked a wider piece of work with chief executives and HR directors across all 33 London boroughs agreeing to work collaboratively to address the children’s social worker recruitment challenge.

Judges’ comments

“A pretty standard approach for most, but differentiating for this team and had some massive savings and benefits.”


PwC I&P

About the organisation

Forming part of the Internal Firms Services (IFS), Infrastructure and Procurement (I&P) are responsible for delivering a full range of support services to clients and internal staff on a daily basis.

The challenge

Securing local talent for supplier roles within PwC’s I&P division was a challenge. Using traditional recruitment methods through agencies was expensive and not sustainable, and “word of mouth” referrals were not always effective. The cost of this process, coupled with the negative impact on the teams, meant that a new, innovative way for both new employees and employers to get the right fit was needed.

What the organisation did

  • Hired Jane James Consultancy to devise a solution to address these issues for three supply chain companies with four roles between them.
  • Negotiated with JobCentre Plus to enable participants to keep their benefits.
  • Rolled out a pilot programme, “Growing Talent”, which comprised one week of orientation during which confidence and team-building workshops would be carried out, followed by 11 weeks learning the vacant role and working all shifts.
  • Allowed employees to keep Fridays free for signing-on at the job centre and continue with job searching, and arranged for the job centre to pay their travel.
  • Mentored all four candidates and their line managers throughout, ensuring appraisals were completed and any issues were resolved quickly.
  • The second and third stage of the programme saw allow automatic signing and suspend job searching. This enabled full-time operational placement. An additional two weeks travel was also paid, rising to a full month.
  • Subsequently negotiated the removal of the age ceiling of 24.
  • An employers’ selection day is now followed by a one-minute presentation by applicants before “speed interviewing” with the employers who then made their selections.

Benefits and achievements

  • All four secured their roles and are still employed over a year later.
  • The success of this pilot saw “Growing Talent” embedded into I&P’s recruitment for supplier staff. It is now offered, free of charge, to other employers looking to recruit sustainable staff.
  • Growing Talent has seen 49 unemployed people from the age of 18 though to their late-50s start the programme, with 29 of these already securing permanent roles.
  • Compared with traditional recruitment methods, retention has increase from a few weeks in some cases to over one year.
  • For PwC, the cost of running Growing Talent is offset by the service it receives from a sustainable supply chain.

Judges’ comments

“A really neat idea to identify new talent and get them into work. I liked the tie up with the local job centre, which made the workshops appealing.”


Shell International

About the organisation

Shell International is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies employing roughly 94,000 people across the world. It has operated in the UK since 1897, providing around 11% of its total oil and gas production.

The challenge

Shell Ideas360 is a global competition that engages and inspires students to develop innovative ideas that tackle the pressures on the world’s energy, water and food resources. The challenge was to promote the competition in a new and exciting way, such that it increased participation in the Shell Ideas360 global competition.

What the organisation did

  • Developed a showcase for “game-changing innovation and the power of human ingenuity”, a roadshow event that ran at 10 key university campus locations in the UK and the US.
  • Arranged for event visitors to be able to move objects using the power of their mind, to create their own upbeat music using the sound of solar panels, light switches and gas burners as their instruments, and to generate renewable energy from the power of their footsteps.
  • Teamed up with Mediacom to produce a range of geo-targeted and re-targeting banners, as well as a full suite of digital promotional collateral.
  • Every visitor to the events was greeted by a Shell Ideas360 ambassador and given an wristband, which let people interact with elements of the event and gain “energy points” that could be converted into prizes at the end of their journey.
  • Students were invited to come up with their own innovative ideas to tackle food, water and energy issues in different world locations.
  • Another area was centred on a “Like” wall, a showcase of six student ideas previously submitted to the competition. If you liked an idea you just tapped your tab on the reader next to it to show your support.
  • Integrated a custom roadshow website, which also allowed it to continue engagement – anyone who had come to an event was able to access premium content using a unique code that could be found on each wristband.

Benefits and achievements

  • Event attracted 2,041 visitors.
  • There were around 617 ideas created.
  • The “Like” wall had 7,380 likes.
  • Generated 86,410 energy points.
  • Roadshow microsite had 5,503 unique views.
  • Saw a 50% increase in Shell Ideas360 submissions.
  • More than eight in 10 (81%) of students subsequently associated Shell with innovation.

Tesco

About the organisation

Tesco is one of the world’s largest retailers with more than 480,000 colleagues, serving millions of customers a week in stores and online.

The challenge

Tesco’s early careers programmes for graduates, undergraduates and school leavers provides the company with a critical pipeline of talent. However, assessment centres were not as simple as they could have been; preparing for assessment was time consuming; and assessors did not always have the information they wanted before or during the day. For candidates, the quality of feedback they received was not as robust as Tesco would have liked.

What the organisation did

  • Partnered with Burnham’s Business Psychology to evolve the assessment and selection process, and refined scoring criteria to make sure that Tesco was consistently aligned across its exercises.
  • Launched a paperless assessment centre, using iPads for candidates and assessors throughout the day.
  • Developed an eValuate system, allowing it to score candidates against the assessment criteria that automatically pulls through overall scores for the day.
  • Provided personalised feedback reports that are automatically generated for candidates that are also available within 24 hours of the assessment day.
  • Launched a new telephone interview, reviewing all of the questions and ensuring that they were integrated with the leadership skills for the business.
  • Introduced the “3D CV” at the assessment days, providing candidates a chance to bring their personality to the day, and for the business to get to know more about what really matters to candidates and their values.
  • Introduced a business simulation, which takes candidates through a real-life business scenario.
  • Launched multichannel assessor training that is optimised for tablet and mobile – allowing colleagues to complete training at their convenience.

Benefits and achievements

  • Resulted in a more engaging recruitment process, and has subsequently seen an increase in offer acceptance conversion rates.
  • A more engaging and relevant assessment centre was established. Candidates particularly enjoyed the opportunity to bring their personality and values to the assessment through the 3D CV exercise.
  • Analytics show that candidates have really responded to the technology, feel more engaged and tell the business that they have a fantastic experience.
  • Better training for assessors has been delivered through a multichannel approach, making it simple and engaging for senior managers.
  • More consistent and robust process and scoring, ensuring a fair and inclusive approach.
  • Achieved a higher average pass rate at assessment centre for candidates who are offered a position on one of the early careers programmes.
  • Saw applications double from 10,000 to 20,000 this year.
  • Demonstrated considerable cost saving across printing and administration expenses, related to paper-based assessments the year before.

Judges’ comments

“A nice approach to assessment, which has had positive benefits to both the business and candidates.”


Unilever and Accenture

About the organisation

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods. Sixteen of its 40 brands are market leaders including Persil, Dove, Magnum, Flora, Marmite, Lynx – and its products are found in nine out of every 10 UK homes.

The challenge

In 2012, Unilever CEO Paul Polman set out an ambitious vision to double Unilever’s size, while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. It wanted to: build upon the already strong Unilever brand to become the employer of choice; focus on continuous improvement and innovation by progressively introducing enhancements year on year; introduce a new proactive model while refining reactive processes; reduce cost to source, agency spend and time-to-fill; and increase candidate and hiring managers satisfaction.

What the organisation did

  • Worked with Accenture to implement a model of recruitment that focused on four key pillars: brand awareness; talent pipelining, active recruitment; and talent communities.
  • Designed the “made by you” message to bring the Unilever experience alive for candidates using stories drawn from across the Unilever business including real employees.
  • Developed a social media strategy, executed on a global level via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube and Instagram.
  • Leveraged both online “virtual” events and offline face to face careers fairs to attract candidates and share the employer brand message.
  • Introduced a new digital candidate experience utilising the existing Avature Platform for the Unilever’s Future Leaders Program.
  • Created a locally relevant sourcing matrix to ensure recruiters are targeting the most effective sourcing channels.
  • Used self-scheduling tools for telephone interviews, and online interviews for high-volume recruitment. Skype is also used to reduce cost, time and expense.
  • Created a recruiter dashboard to give the recruitment teams the tools to track requisition status, SLA status and source of candidate status.

Benefits and achievements

  • In 2015’s “LinkedIn Most in Demand Employer index” Unilever ranked at number three, after Google and Apple.
  • In the FMCG space Unilever were ranked number one, with its nearest competitor P&G at number seven.
  • In 2014, Unilever became the first FMCG organisation to reach over a million followers on LinkedIn.
  • Unilever Turkey was awarded as the Number 1 Employer of Choice 2015 across all industries by Businessweek Magazine and Realta Consultancy, a follow up win from 2014.
  • Reduction of 51% in average cost to source from 2012 to 2014; reduction in overall recruitment spend by 39% from 2012 to 2014; 47% reduction in agency spend of €5.9 million in 2014; and 84% of external roles are now filled through direct sourcing (in-house).
  • Reduced time to recruit process to between 30 and 68 days (down from between 51 and 116 days).
  • Hiring manager scores year to date 4 out of 5; candidate satisfactions scores year to date 4.2 out of 5.

Judges’ comments

“Lots of good thinking in this one.”


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