TMP Worldwide Award for innovation in recruitment and retention

This award recognises effective approaches to selection, recruitment and
retention of employees. The judge has looked for successful approaches to
developing and motivating staff and for innovative ways of  attracting the right applicants to the
organisation. New methods of recruitment, measuring and assessing capability
and performance, career management, succession planning and competency testing
have all been relevant to this category. The judge has also looked for evidence
of competitive advantage gained.

Category Judge

Peter Reilly is an associate director of the Institute of Employment
Studies, responsible for HR research and consultancy. He leads the Institute’s
reward and performance management work programme, and is a major contributor to
its HR planning and resourcing work. Prior to joining IES, Reilly had a 16-year
career with Shell Oil, where he held various HR posts in the UK and abroad

Recruitment and training team

About the company

Gap Inc is an international retailer offering clothing, accessories and
personal care products for men, women, children and babies. It has 165,000
staff working in 4,200 stores in the UK, US, Canada, France, Japan and Germany

The challenge

To develop and execute a recruitment tool that reflects the Gap brand and
store requirements, and links the customer brand to the employee brand

What the company did

– Replaced competency-based interviews with shop-floor assessments

– Introduced awareness exercises to test candidates’ appreciation of the
retail environment

– Self-motivation exercise to assess personal drive and passion for retail

– Communication test to find the best role for the staff member

– Tests to find natural ability and passion for selling

Benefits and achievements

– Retention increased from 32 per cent to 80 per cent

– Productivity increased to between 25 and 180 per cent above the store

– 60 per cent of managers recruited from sales associates in 2001

Peter Reilly says: "The company has developed an innovative approach to
sales associate recruitment. It is striking in the way that it uses its own
experienced sales associates to assess candidates’ aptitude for retail work and
suitability for the GAP environment. It has led to better retention and
productivity among the recruiters and the recruited."

The team

No. in team 23 in HR team, 6 in recruitment and training team

Staff responsible for 5,600

Steve Finlan Vice-president HR Europe
Vanessa Evans Recruitment and training manager
Sarah Larner Recruitment officer
Yvette Winteringham Recruitment officer
Tina Earnshaw Training officer
Karen Moseley Training officer

Merseyside Fire Service
HR department

About the company

Merseyside Fire Service has 26 fire stations in a geographical area that
stretches from the boundaries of Cheshire to Southport and St Helens. More than
1.4 million people live within this area

The challenge

To meet Home Office targets for the recruitment of ethnic minority and
female firefighters into the UK Fire Service

What the company did

– Analysed other recruitment campaigns to devise appropriate strategy

– Appointed community firefighters to build contacts in local ethnic

– Created a working party of firefighters, ethnic minorities and female

– Held awareness days to give people an idea of the entry standards required

– Advertised through agency who specialise in attracting women and ethnic

Benefits and achievements

– A course of 20 new trainees started in April 2002, of which there were
three females and six from minority groups. This represents a 100 per cent
increase in workforce representation of both groups

– Four further females and one ethnic minority male were due to take their
place on the second trainee course in August

Peter Reilly says: "This is an imaginative attempt to improve the
diversity of the Fire Service’s workforce. Especially noteworthy, has been the
links it has made with the community and the pre-recruitment training programme
offered to academically disadvantaged groups. Its targeted advertising brought
in a sub-stantial number of applicants and led to their best ever recruitment

The team

No. in team 39 in HR team, 7 in recruitment team

Staff responsible for 1,700

Paul Gallagher Head of People Services
Nick Mernock Personnel manager
Colin Murphy Recruit course manager
Karen Holmes Clerical officer
Tony Williams Equal opportunities officer
Richard Farrall Personnel officer
Carl Jones Clerk

HR recruitment

About the company

Ventura provides outsourced customer contact centre solutions for firms like
O2, Woolwich Building Society, Amerada, Kingfisher Group, Northern Rock and
Freeserve. It has more than 30 years’ experience and is based in Leeds and

The challenge

To raise awareness of Ventura and create a positive image of the contact
centre industry in the region, and widen the catchment area. Also, to break
down the transport barrier to recruitment and improve staff retention

What the company did

– Formed cross-functional team with PR, operations, marketing and the print
and fulfilment team

– Established links with local community action group and employment

– Direct mail campaign to 60,000 households

– Sponsored local transport initiatives

– Introduced transport service for staff, mirroring key shift patterns

Benefits and achievements

– 464 employees recruited within two months

– Average recruitment costs of £178 per head

– 40 per cent increase in replies from people covered by the transport initiative

– Filled 3,500 jobs regionally

Peter Reilly says: "Recruitment and retention is always difficult in
the contact centre business. Ventura approached its problems in a very focused
way. Through community links, direct mailing and a promotional video, the
company accessed a wide population in a successful recruitment campaign.
Addressing transport problems has helped both recruitment and retention."

The team

No. in team 42 in HR team, 3 in recruitment and training team

Staff responsible for 3,510

Jo Sweeting Recruitment manager
Yvonne Murphy Recruitment team leader
Emma Audsley Recruitment administrator
Bob Johnson Recruitment administrator
Anne Logden Recruitment administrator
Claire Medlam Recruitment administrator

The sponsors

offices in 25 countries, TMP Worldwide recruits a very wide range of people and
has an in-depth understanding of global companies. With more than 7,000
employees, TMP Worldwide understands local markets. The organisation offers a
comprehensive package of services and products for the HR professional. All
under one roof.  Learn more at

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