Recruitment procedures: How I made a difference – Claire Balmforth, HR director, Carpetright

When I joined Carpetright just over two years ago, they had very high staff turnover rates – in some positions in our stores, turnover was higher than 100% and although a project group had been looking into it, no progress had been made.

I was able to start collating statistics by region and by job code, so that we could begin to understand where the problem was and how we could do something about it.

As head of a six-person project team, I identified that Carpetright had no formal recruitment process. We had no views on how to recruit, no induction, and no exit interviews.

By introducing these, particularly the exit interviews, we were able to see why people were leaving, and to drill down and do something about the problem.

We introduced a new interview form, and simplified some of our internal processes, and I personally trained all of our regional managers, and some of our store managers.

The new system has been in place now for about 15 months, and the turnover rate has fallen from a company average of 54% to 35%, with this month’s rate on course to fall below 30%. With 3,500 staff in the UK, this high staff turnover has cost us a huge amount – in the first year that I looked at, we employed (and lost) 1,600 people. That represented a real waste of time, energy and money.

The structured recruitment questionnaire we issued our managers with actually gave them a more professional way of approaching recruitment, and when I went through recruitment dos and don’ts with them, it turned out that they had been using a lot of the don’ts, simply through a lack of training and awareness.

There was no rocket science involved – it was just a case of putting the basics in place.

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