Food Retailer Iceland reimagines recruitment with incredible results

Recruiting large numbers of colleagues within retail is nothing new, many retailers plan recruitment campaigns over many months for thousands of additional temporary staff over the Christmas period. But the surge in customer demand within food retail in response to the current Covid-19 crisis has led to such a steep increase in recruitment volumes that retailers have had to react at a pace that a few short weeks ago would have seemed unimaginable.

On our recent podcast, Jeff Uden, Head of Talent for Iceland, shared with us just how phenomenal this activity has been. Over a two week period Jeff and his team received 175,000 applications and made 4000 offers to temporary colleagues accounting for 15% of Iceland’s total headcount. They achieved this whilst also reducing time to hire by 90%. And without any negative impact on the diversity of the candidates recruited

Jeff explained that this was possible by doing things the business had never done before:

  • introducing zero hours contracts, previously viewed in a negative light but now providing opportunity to manage a flexible, agile workforce.
  • partnering with other High Street Retailers to offer colleagues opportunities whereas before they would have been in competition for great people
  • stripping the recruitment process back to focusing just on key activities rather than adding in additional stages of the process that were previously thought to be necessary.

Jeff and the team approached every element with a ‘why can’t we’ mindset. This opportunity to step back and review each stage of the recruitment process allowed them to think differently and enabled previously impossible scenarios to become possible.  Jeff now intends to adopt this approach in all future activities and believes that it will open up even more possibilities

This mindset holds true for many Talent Acquisition teams, where what you do over the next few weeks and months will set you up for success. The crisis has forced many organisations to take stock and review ‘how you do what you do’ to ensure you are ready when the hiring process restarts.

The TALiNT Benchmark programme provides a structure for you to do this.

The Benchmark assesses your performance against 11 key areas of resourcing activity, considering your priorities using a maturity matrix.  Your responses are compared with other companies within the same sector and you can see how you rank in comparison. You’ll also see how you rate against the wider TA community. 

A bespoke confidential report highlights your areas of strength and weakness and how you are performing against your priority areas together with suggested actions. This insight will be essential in helping you plan your strategy for future success, identifying key areas of focus on that may not have been apparent previously and support you in pulling together a business plan for financial investment.

Iceland have taken part in the Benchmark programme for the last two years, Jeff  shared, “the first time we did it I think it was very eye opening in terms of the breath of the programme and what it actually asks you to go through and review”

He went on to say, “The programme completely informed our talent strategy for the following two years.  We’ve built on it and looked at it in comparison with other businesses. It has opened our eyes to understand what is important in our business and what isn’t and there have been a number of key decisions that have been made in our business as a result of the benchmarking survey.” 

We don’t know for sure what the talent landscape will look like in the months and years ahead.  Understanding where you sit currently, what your priorities are and how these compare against your peers will give you valuable insight to prepare for the future.

Find out more about the TALiNT Benchmark Programme here

You can listen to the full webinar here – Talent Aquisition whilst feeding the nation

Leave a comment