The 2019 Agenda for our Retail and Hospitality Network

At the first 2019 retail and hospitality network meeting our discussion touched on topics that frequently cause headaches for in-house recruiters! The ATS, working with hiring managers, and keeping talent pools warm.

Here we share insights from our roundtable where we focused on recruitment strategy - and the systems and training needed to support it.

Getting the most from your ATS

Hospitality and retail companies really put their ATS’s to the test. One of our hospitality delegates receives 600,000 applications a year for jobs in its 13,000 restaurants, so the ATS needs to run like clockwork.

Since one delegate is about to start the process of looking for a new ATS, we invited the group to share their thoughts on what to look for – and shortcomings they’ve learned from. Frustrations include:

  • too many manual processes,
  • a lack of communication with candidates and,
  • the facility for hiring managers to circumvent central procedures and advertise roles independently.

It’s clear that retail and hospitality companies are looking for more than just ‘applicant tracking’ from their ATS. Candidate attraction, creating a better candidate experience, and better decision making are top of the agenda.

The issue with some ATS’ is you have to “compromise on decisions”, and in many cases “overlay the same process as you had before with no opportunity to change”. Technology should be an opportunity to make the process better – not only digitise and automate a pretty average experience.

There is also appetite for more automation to improve fairness, consistency and objectivity: “without automation you cannot say your data is clean” said one participant.

Upskilling hiring managers

In retail and hospitality, hiring managers are usually store managers or restaurant managers too. This means they’re best placed to be involved in local hiring, however many of them don’t have the skills and experience to create a positive and consistent candidate journey.

Our community has a variety of models that include centralised and decentralised elements, some with the added complexity of franchised outlets. The main concern is “whether our hiring managers can deliver what we advertise to candidates?”

  • One major restaurant chain expressed surprise “at how poor interviewers are at asking questions.”
  • Another had concerns about “the lack of recognition that you can have great people without the right experience.”

Hence upskilling of hiring managers, especially in relation to culture and behaviours, is a priority. The consensus of the group is that organisations need systems in place that allow for distributed decision-making but as part of a controlled process.

Talent pools don’t live up to their promises

Talent pools in this industry are just not able to keep up with the pace of hiring. It’s a “big pain point” said one participant, “a mess of data” said another, “it’s only relevant for 3 months”. One delegate that until recently was part of a conglomerate had one talent pool for all brands which made it difficult to nurture and approach talent when hiring needs arose.

“Why use a talent pool when people can just apply for the role they want?” was a question from the group. In the candidate-centric world of retail and hospitality, the feedback amongst the group is that talent pools have too short a lifetime to make it worth the investment.

Instead, organisations need to be responsive and engaging when candidates do show an interest. This might include careers pages, initial screening and assessment, company videos and the facility to chat. Tools that move candidates quickly into the funnel pay dividends over talent pooling.

A change in systems and a change in culture

“It’s more of a culture change than a platform change” said one of our delegates about changing their ATS.

To develop a fast, engaging and consistent candidate experience, organisations need to have the right systems in place. But, the technologies will only have an impact when used in tandem with cultural change. This will enable store or restaurant managers to deliver on the employee value proposition.

At LaunchPad we believe technology has the power to support organisations in making that cultural shift. By adopting the right recruitment technology, in-house recruitment teams have the opportunity to bring the business together to deliver on strategic goals.

If you’re an in-house recruiter working in the retail or hospitality sector and would like to join our community, please get in touch.