WDF is the UK’s leading travel retailer with stores at 21 airports throughout the UK. Delivering exceptional customer experience is at the heart of everything the business does, but increased traffic in summer seasons as well as major events such as the Olympics means that effective candidate resourcing is a logistical challenge. In addition, World Duty Free stores compete for talent with leading department stores such as House of Fraser and John Lewis. However, WDF is at a disadvantage to these brands because their outlets are “airside” and each candidate requires security clearance. This can take up to 3 months – a particular challenge for summer peak seasonal recruitment. The airside nature means that candidates need to be regular international travellers to have a significant experience of the brand – and few retail candidates can afford this travel. Resourcing for WDF thus needs to attract and engage potential candidates as well as managing high volume recruitment campaigns at certain times of the year—putting onus on efficiency and process effectiveness .
In 2013, WDF identified the key individual behaviours and competencies that they wanted from every member of staff throughout the organisation in order to maximise customer service and business growth/profitability targets. We re-wrote assessment and interview procedures to ensure that all recruitment was focussed on identifying and bringing in individuals who demonstrate these values rather than fit for specific jobs. However, as we receive around 35,000 job applications each year, we required a method of screening these candidates as efficiently as possible.
We identified, tailored, trialled and implemented an on-line Talent Screener system which asks behavioural questions of each applicant and scores them for match with the WDF values and their focus on the customer. On volume positions such as Customer Service Assistants, the Talent Screener has been very effective at ranking the most suitable candidates high and enables us to prioritise those and filter out candidates with low matches. It also allows us to identify those who have potential for leadership roles.
Since the implementation of the Talent Screener, the time to process new applicants has been halved – providing significant efficiencies and improving the speed of response to candidates. Prior to the Talent Screener, we relied on subjective views of customer service culture through CV and screening to filter/rank candidates prior to interview but now the Talent Screener is an objective measure of cultural fit, a wider range of candidates are being put forward, increasing diversity and improving the quality of candidates hired.
Despite the changes to processes and the volumes, the embedded recruitment team received the highest ever customer satisfaction scores from hiring managers (100%) and candidates. The quality of candidates hired has improved significantly (in terms of retention and performance) and has had a direct positive impact on the customer service provided by WDF (helping them to the “Airport Retailer of the Year Award” in 2014) and an increase in UK sales by 6.9%.