Founded in the mid 60’s, The London Borough of Merton employs around 1,500 people and geographically encompasses Wimbledon, Mitcham and Morden. With an annual number of hires of 300, the recruitment team is small but highly experienced in their field.
Since implementing Hireserve ATS, Merton Borough Council has seen their Hiring Manager engagement skyrocket with the use of newly developed technology designed with them in mind. Merton also saw huge streamlining in their day to day processes, saving them much needed time and people resource.
On their previous ATS, Recruitment Manager Caroline Ramsey said “Many Hiring Managers across Merton had grown disillusioned with a system that had not been successfully embedded across the organisation and had gained a poor reputation internally”.
Some of the challenges faced by users included ineffective reporting and infrequent users struggling to get to grips with the system, and whilst candidates had an effective application process, in many circumstances the hiring managers were not engaged.
This in turn led to a hiring process that had unnecessary delays and offered a diminished experience to candidates in terms of response times and vacancy nurturing.
How to choose…
For Merton Council, one of the biggest challenges it faces is its position as a public sector organisation. As such, budgets are tight and investments in technology must deliver value for money and return on investment.
In addition to this, the sheer breadth of roles a local authority recruits for can be vast. These range from apprenticeships and high-volume applications for casual workers, to highly vetted staff such as social workers.
The challenge was finding a system able to provide a great experience for these varied roles. Adaptable and user-friendly, without the overly demanding processes of the past that had deterred some applicants from completion.
Also key for Merton was to be able to embed a high degree of accessibility into its recruitment portal, in line with new regulations around accessibility optimised websites. Caroline felt that it was imperative they exhibit an exemplary commitment to this in their capacity as a public sector organisation.
Gaining hiring manager buy-in
From the outset, the aim for Merton Council was to involve Hiring Managers at every stage of the ATS selection process. It was paramount that for the system to be effective, Hiring Managers must play a part in the decision making.
Caroline added, “What we didn’t want to do was implement another system that they weren’t involved in and to then say ‘Right! There’s the system you need to use’. Their preferences were key for us”.
Following a rigorous tender process, Hireserve was selected as its Hiring Manager Edition provided the most user friendly and easy to use interface.
With Hireserve selected as the chosen supplier, the time came to get to work on implementing the ATS. Caroline worked alongside the Hireserve Implementation project team, including the lead Consultant on the project, Caleb Chatfield. On working with Caleb, Caroline said he was “Fabulous and always responsive to what we needed – he always got back to me with solutions and explanations.”
Merton Council also benefitted from hiring additional project management resource to support the implementation phase, ensuring the configuration of the ATS met the council’s needs exactly.
Caroline added: “I would suggest to any similar organisations to really look at their own internal resource before embarking on a project like this and suggest increasing staffing temporarily to ease the workload on the remaining departmental staff.”
One of Merton’s primary objectives was always on Hiring Manager satisfaction. Once the Hiring Managers were able to have their input in the ATS selection process, the next phase after implementation was to plan the training approach.
Merton proceeded with a ‘belt and braces’ approach to training. Offering face-to-face sessions in groups of 12, they trained 140 hiring managers on the new system. In addition to this, the recruitment team produced a series of ‘How to’ guides and videos to support the hiring managers with many of their routine tasks.
As a result, on ‘Go Live’ day, the phone lines were quiet. Everyone had been so well briefed in advance of the system roll out that everything went smoothly!
Hireserve’s Hiring Manager Portal (HMP)
As one of Hireserve’s first customers to implement the ATS using the new Hiring Manager Portal (HMP), Merton has seen great success.
Designed specifically with casual users in mind, the Hireserve team created the HMP to make recruitment processes as easy and as fast as possible for hiring managers, providing a better experience for candidates and managers alike.
The Hiring Manager Portal has proved ‘exceptionally popular’ with Merton’s hiring managers, who have particularly benefited from the single sign-on functionality and the user-friendly, interactive dashboard.
Today, Merton is working more efficiently than ever, not only with time saved by the recruitment team in the reduction of manual processes, but also in the engagement of hiring managers and more collaborative working. The system has empowered Hiring Managers to take ownership of their roles within the recruitment process in a way that previously had been difficult.
The reduction in administration time has also enabled the recruitment team to focus their efforts on those ‘hard to hire’ roles that are prone to sitting on the back-burner unfilled.
On the changes to their day to day recruitment, Caroline added:
“It’s streamlined the process massively. A big plus for me is the referencing that can be done through the system. My team used to have to prepare each reference letter and attach it to an email individually to send out just one request for one candidate. We used to spend an awful lot of time doing that! Now with Hireserve ATS it’s much, much easier. Once a candidate has given us their reference details, it’s literally just ticking a box and the email automatically goes”.
“Hiring managers have found the system much more intuitive and user friendly.”
Advice for other organisations
After the successful implementation of Hireserve ATS, we asked Caroline if she had any advice she would give to similar organisations looking to change ATS providers.
“Always give enough resource to the project” was Caroline’s recommendation.
Merton Council started the process of choosing a new ATS with a clear vision of what they wanted from a recruitment system – a user friendly interface to encourage engagement from hiring managers, a comprehensive reporting suite and a system flexible enough to cater for a wide variety of vacancies.
Ensuring they selected the right system and the right provider, collaborating with the Hireserve team throughout implementation and gaining buy-in from users by training them early on, Merton Council is now reaping the benefits of an ATS that meets all of its recruitment needs.