Shortlisted team for Innovation in Recruitment and Retention
While enjoying great success in the field of recruitment and retention, Pfizer Global Research and Development found that changes in both the jobs market and within its own organisation meant there were constant new challenges to be met and issues that needed to be addressed by the HR group.
Inspiration for the “Candidate as Priority” initiative was the realisation that extra value could be gained for the company through a qualitative approach to recruitment rather than simply an efficient process. While the tendency was to gain efficiency through minimising the processes required to accept or reject candidates, Pfizer’s HR group realised there were benefits to be gained from building on this relationship.
On the one hand, increased quality would mean the company was more able to place the right person in the right job at the right time and in the right way; on the other, quality relations between candidates and organisation would increase Pfizer’s reputation as an employer of choice.
The HR group began by addressing the highly competitive area of scientific graduate recruitment. With a limited talent pool it was clear that improvements in this area would bring great benefits to the overall value of the company’s human resources. Recruitment literature was redesigned giving it a more candidate centred, case-study led approach.
University visits and “milk rounds” brought current Pfizer scientists face-to-face with future candidates, ensuring such contact always met the prospective applicant’s needs rather than simply those of the organisation. Efficiency within paper processes – replying to letters for example – was also addressed so that real relationships could be established with candidates throughout the application process.
A small sourcing and selection team was created within the HR department and was challenged to build on the company’s record in the graduate recruitment arena. The team worked within the personnel function to ensure recruitment met the needs of each supported business area. This multi-faceted teamworking approach meant that the effort of people working in line positions, sourcing and selection and the wider personnel group could be combined effectively.
The work and rewards of the initiative have not only been isolated to the sourcing and selection team or indeed, the HR group. Indeed Candidate as Priority cannot be seen as one big initiative, but a combination of many small innovations with the same focus.
By working with line management, it has been possible to raise the quality of recruitment planning, making it possible to create the right job for the organisation and find the right person to fill that post.
Increased quality within the candidate-employer relationship ensures the candidate is employed in the right way and, through a structured integration programme, they take their new position at the right time for both them and the company. This recruitment will then have a beneficial effect for the whole organisation, driving it towards greater performance within the sector.
Company fact file
Team Pfizer Global Research and Development
Team Leader Vincent Tuckwood
Number in HR team 30 including 12 specific to the sourcing and selection team
Number of employees responsible for 2,700
Main achievements Of 923 job offers made (permanent and temporary) 91 per cent take up first offer. Pfizer now has less than 5 per cent annual turnover including maternity and retirements. Permanent headcount has grown – more than 50 per cent of staff have less than five years service. A cost saving of 31 per cent was made in terms of recruitment advertising spend in 1999.
Priorities for next 12 months To pursue the principles of Candidate as Priority throughout the forthcoming merger – ensuring all candidates are fully informed of their position in the new organisation at all stages of the process. Additionally, the team will ensure all personnel engage fully with the new merged company
Judge’s Comment “This company was already at the top of its market before they introduced this initiative. Here was a company who didn’t have big problems, but wanted to ensure it was ahead of the game in a limited market. The statistics show the initiative has been a resounding success”