Snapping up European talent

Canon is a market-leading producer of consumer imaging products, including digital cameras, scanners and printers. It is one of the world’s largest organisations, employing 10,500 people and operating in more than 14 countries in Europe and the Middle East alone.

The aim

Canon wanted to streamline the co-ordination of its recruitment across Europe to create a pan-European talent pool of potential staff at all levels.

Aware that the European workforce was shrinking due to various demographic factors, the HR team needed to make sure it had access to enough good people to help realise the company’s business objectives.

“Canon enjoys excellent brand recognition and reputation all over the world, but we realised we were not making full use of this to attract the most talented people into our workforce,” says John Ryrie, general manager of European HR strategy at the company.


StepStone Solutions provides technology to help organisations recruit and retain talent. It suggested the implementation of a web-based application called Hire Enterprise to co-ordinate Canon’s pan-European recruitment.

The approach

The system was customised to suit the different recruitment processes of various markets, as well as to operate in different languages.

It would allow Canon to build relationships with people who might potentially be interested in working for the company at some point in their future careers, rather than just the smaller pool of people who are actively looking for jobs.

The solution

The system allows visitors to access Canon’s careers pages either through the intranet or the internet, and anonymously state their requirements for potential future employment opportunities with Canon Europe. It then e-mails people when an opportunity arises, giving them the option to follow the e-mail up or not. The system then conducts online screening, ranking and shortlisting, and forwards the results to the recruiting manager for interviews. The system automatically keeps in touch with every applicant at each stage of the recruitment process

“The human element of recruitment is the most important, so you can never completely automate it, and recruiting organisations need to take care not to appear impersonal,” says Ryrie. “But technology can support HR and increase the accuracy of the human element.”

Despite operating in 10 different languages across 14 countries, it took Canon’s project team of two just three months to roll the system out.

The bottom line

The system is now live in Canon’s English, French and German-speaking markets. Other language conversions will follow later this year.

Canon is already seeing results in terms of a reduced administrative workload for its HR staff, and it expects to see a significant return on investment in the first year.

“This approach truly is a quantum leap in terms of recruitment best practice,” says Ryrie. “It is an opportunity for HR to add measurable benefits to our organisation. Improving the quality of the people we employ touches everyone.”

New products & services

Broadband Direct

Broadband Direct is a new data transmission channel available to payroll professionals who want a low cost business-to-business broadband connection for BACSTEL-IP submissions and report collections. The service is provided by secure payments processor Voca, which warns BACS users that they only have until the end of this year to complete their migration to the new BACSTEL-IP platform. The service costs £79.99 per month.

Topaz EMS

Enhancements made to the latest version of Topaz EMS, an integrated HR and payroll software package, include an HR planning diary, upgraded sickness and absence analysis, improved payroll processing and cross payroll reports and better security and database management. The web portal self-service module has also been extended. This can be launched from within an existing corporate website.

Gadget of the month: Logitech Cordless 2.4 Ghz Presenter

This is the ultimate in pointer tools for presenters. A cordless, hand-held presentation controller that has an integrated laser pointer to emphasise key messages. No software is required – it is paired with a mini receiver which simply plugs into a Windows-based PC’s USB port to get you up and running.

What will it let me do?

Focus on the audience rather than fret about the presentation itself. The wireless connection leaves you free to wander 50 feet and a built-in programmable timer vibrates (inaudibly) when there are five and two minutes left on the time you’ve set for your presentation. The 1×1.5-inch LCD timer is big enough to see at a quick glance, and there are also intuitive controls that allow you to move your presentation slides forwards and backwards with ease.

How much does it cost?

About £69.99

Where can I find out more?

Visit, where you can also buy the product.

Research snapshot

Retailers could be saving up to 100 hours a week and enhancing customer service by improving and automating staff scheduling, according to a new report.

Kronos Systems, a provider of attendance and workforce management products, spoke to 50 top retail store managers across the UK, and found that individual stores are spending an average of four hours a week drawing up staff schedules.

Some larger grocery retailers claim they are spending between 25 and 50 hours each week on the task, and others in excess of 100 hours.

Of the retailers questioned, 50% were using manual systems to prepare schedules, with spreadsheets the most widely-used method to draw up rotas. Seventy-three per cent of the sample agreed that more efficient staff scheduling would help customer service, and 52% agreed that it would give employees more flexibility over their working hours and reduce staff turnover.

“Retailers continue to struggle to find the right balance between service levels and labour costs, and retail managers spend countless hours juggling schedules,” said Keith Statham, managing director of Kronos. “However, these processes cost money and take time away from management that could be spent on key store operations,” he said.


The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is to implement e-recruitment technology from Hy-phen Workforce Management Solutions. As part of its five-year strategic e-procurement service, public sector software and services specialist Civica will integrate the Hy-phen application to offer a complete purchase-to-pay procurement process for contingent labour. It will also be used to recruit permanent staff.

Coca-Cola HBC, one of the largest bottlers of non-alcoholic drinks in Europe, will be using OpenPages’ web-based Sarbanes Oxley Express (SOX) software to ensure compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley Act. It will migrate from its existing Internal Controls Workbench software. The Sarbanes Oxley Act affects companies trading in the US, and was introduced to tighten corporate governance and good business practice.

Financial services provider WestLB is making the LifeWorks OneSource employee assistance programme (EAP) available to more than 1,000 permanent staff. Provided by Ceridian Centrefile, it aims to help with work-life balance, family, financial and well-being issues. It is available via telephone, e-mail or the internet, and includes access to a range of publications.

Top resource…

The Andrea Adams Trust

Excellent site for information on workplace bullying from the charity named after the journalist and broadcaster who first recognised its significance. There’s plenty of advice for both employees and employers, and useful links and publication lists. You can also download the trust’s comprehensive factsheet, Bullying in the Workplace, in pdf format.

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