In our line of business, we’re now in the midst of our busiest period in the run up to Christmas, so this month I’m going look at how we’ve evolved to be able to shift up a gear to deliver for our customers and why I believe in carving out time for business planning even when you’re at your busiest. As well as regular seasonal shopping trends, our customers’ sales can be affected by unpredictable factors like the weather. On top of that, all of our retail clients are experiencing high growth – so even looking at demand for candidates in the same months in previous years can be misleading and the demand is ever-increasing. It’s crucial we have an approach in place to guarantee access to a large (and ever-increasing) pool of good candidates to support in key periods, which we do through proactivity, nurturing people and innovation. This means a continuous and forward-thinking business planning effort to recruit, rather than a seasonal push and we focus on looking after retaining previous candidates as well as attracting new. It’s never easy, and every year we start off feeling like there’s a mountain to climb. We know our competitors are looking for more and more candidates every year too so we’ve had to box clever to attract attention. We have taken the time through business planning to look to innovate the channels and methods we use to attract candidates as well as the traditional jobs boards and adverts. For example, we were quick to adopt all social media – ranking as top social influencer by the Agency Recruitment Power 100 – and have utilised live video through Periscope, showing we’re always looking for inventive ways to support our customers. We also have plans in place to introduce virtual recruitment branches by using touchscreen technology in towns or locations we may not have a presence. Like most businesses, our brand and online presence is a high priority and we’ve recently recruited a digital brand manager to safeguard this and received industry recognition for how visually appealing our website is. That said, our approach is substance over style and we have invested in digital marketing with an emphasis on analytics so are seeing the direct results from traffic and applications from our campaigns come to fruition.
What I have learned over the years is that even though we are currently working at 100 miles an hour to deliver, we need to be thinking about next year already and putting plans in place. Today I held a meeting with an agenda to discuss our client and candidate proposition for 2017. After a year that for a few reasons will be one I am glad to see the back of, the potential of next year is already exciting me. As a sector, all areas of the supply chain will need to place more importance than ever on compliance and the legislative backdrop. We’ve tackled this head through business planning by working in partnership with industry bodies to ensure every aspect of our business is robust and transparent. We’ll also push the boundaries of innovation again but also focus on how we can make our operations more efficient. People and partnerships will sit at the core and all of our decision-making led by what’s best for our team, candidates and customers.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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