British Gas: Energy Efficient Recruitment
British Gas recruits around 1,500 people per year. With so many openings, attracting the right volume of applicants is the first major obstacle. In 2006 British Gas was certainly attracting the right number of applicants to fill the positions, but pre-selection was producing variable results, meaning only 25% of candidates make the grade at assessment centre, something had to be done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.
Our innovative, value-driven approach to recruitment helped British Gas more than halve the cost of filling their vacancies, while simultaneously improving candidate quality by more than 50%.
50% reduction in number of Assessment Centres needed
20% increase in number of female applicants
Call centre attrition reduced from 43% to 9%
Double the amount of successful applicants in the second round of interviews
Injecting ‘Values’ into ‘e-Recruitment’
In the past a combination of inconsistent candidate quality and operational urgency led to recruitment decisions being made under pressure, leading to some performance and retention issues. Rolling out a generic, off-the-shelf approach to e-recruitment would therefore not necessarily fix this issue.
In October 2006 all internal recruiters were called on to answer the all important question: “What do you want e-recruitment to do for you?”
By simply asking this question it became clear that the success of e-recruitment could be summed up in one word: “values”. The rationale was beautifully simple – Focusing on values rather than just conventional competencies would identify and inspire candidates who shared similar values. This improved ‘cultural fit’ would not only mean that they were more likely to make the grade, it would also mean they were more likely to accept a job offer, fit in, perform, deliver a better customer experience and remain within BGS. In other words, this approach would improve offer rates and acceptance rates in the short term; and improved productivity, retention and customer experience in the long term.
Following the successful roll-out of an internal ‘refer a friend’ campaign, backed up with ingenious database-driven ‘job alerts’, British Gas were not short of applicants for vacancies the moment they became available, but the volume of candidates was further stretching the resourcing department and this added to the urgency of rolling out online assessment and selection.
We provided the psychometrics and web-design expertise to take the output of the scoping discussions and develop a new values-based online assessment system.
Candidates now experience a customer-focused online problem-solving challenge that communicates the British Gas values and assesses reasoning and decision making, using bespoke content based on real job demands. The assessment therefore implicitly communicates the values of the business in the context of the demands of the roles.
The online personality questionnaire, measures the degree of fit between the candidate’s values and motivations vs the company culture and values. The results of the personality questionnaire feed directly into subsequent second-round assessments by providing interview questions tailored for each candidate and a full values-based profile.
Throughout the development process the British Gas recruiters sent regular updates to ensure that the buzz and excitement was maintained within the business.
When the new values-based approach went live in February 2007, the first noticeable change was a dramatic reduction in the time associated with managing the increased application volumes.
Before the change all assessment centres had a ratio of four candidates per vacancy as a matter of policy. However it quickly became clear that this number was no longer needed – only two candidates per vacancy were required, which meant half the number of assessment centres.
- Double the number of successful candidates at second round
- A 50% reduction in the number of assessment centres needed to fill positions.
- A 20% increase in number of female applicants recruited.
- Attrition in call centre roles reduced from 43% – 9% in 2007