Nike is one of the world's largest footwear, apparel and sporting accessories brands. Earlier this year, it reported annual revenues of $10.7bn. At the beginning of 2003, the company employed 5,358 people in its Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), which accounted for 30 per cent of global sales. Rolien Hoogers, EMEA staffing manager, is based in the EMEA head office in a suburb in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
About three years ago, Hoogers and her team were over-stretched. "We were getting about 400 applications a month," she says. "We have a firm policy that each applicant is a potential employee and customer and so we must respond appropriately, in an individual letter where possible. With only four people on the team, we were finding it harder and harder to do that. We were losing track of where CVs were in the company. I was concerned about how well we were protecting applicants' personal information, and there were mistakes, such as us calling someone in for an interview who was already due to come in later that day."
Hoogers made several attempts at improving the department's manual processes, but eventually concluded that she needed to automate it. "We tried it ourselves at first," she recalls. "We built databases on Microsoft Excel, but quickly found it wasn't sophisticated enough to allow us to handle an operation of this scale and complexity."
So when people management solutions provider, Job Partners, approached her, Hoogers agreed to see if it had anything to offer. She remembers the first meeting: "It was a Friday afternoon and we weren't really expecting anything, but were immediately impressed. We liked the way it was well thought through and designed specifically for a recruitment team to use."
The meeting prompted her to tender for an automated recruitment administration solution. Hoogers stipulated that it must be able to cover Europe and possibly the world, so that eliminated many contenders. From the five or six who remained, she eventually went with Job Partners's Active Recruiter product. She liked its price, flexibility and the fact that it integrated easily with the company's existing PeopleSoft programmes. It was also simple for line managers to use.
Job Partners offered to install it over three months, but Hoogers asked them to do it more slowly - over six months - and by July 2002, it was in place.