With over 50 years’ experience, the Wales & West Housing Group provides high quality and affordable housing.
The Group manages more than 12,000 homes across Wales, including 3,000 dedicated properties for older people and supported housing for people with particular needs. With recruitment rates rising rapidly and a legacy Applicant Tracking System that could no longer meet their requirements, the team began the search for a new ATS.
But in a year like no other, how did their selection process pan out?
At a glance
The full story
Key challenges and requirements
The Wales & West Housing Group comprises several companies, each with their own branding and unique recruitment needs.
Jen Tod, HR Officer at Wales & West Housing, explained that this was one of the Group’s key challenges:
“Each of the three brands under the Wales & West Housing Group has its own set of requirements. Our ATS at the time was well suited to our recruitment processes at Wales & West Housing, but not to our other group organisations. Trying to merge all three together just wasn’t feasible as the ATS wasn’t flexible enough.
So, we found ourselves in a position where some Hiring Managers were using the ATS pretty happily, others were using it begrudgingly, and some weren’t at all!”
Alongside the need for a unified experience across all three Group brands, recruitment began to increase rapidly. Over three years, the number of vacancies across the Group had more than tripled.
By 2019, with huge growth and an ATS that could no longer support them, Jen and her colleagues recognised that the time had come to review their technology.
“Our previous ATS was user-heavy, with rigid workflows and no scope for flexibility. It was taking us so much time to even create and upload a job that it was becoming untenable.”
Over three years, the number of vacancies across the group had more than tripled!
The selection process
At the start of 2020, recruitment was continuing to rise across the Group. Jen and her colleagues had begun looking for a new system the previous year, but hadn’t truly had the time to focus on their search.
And then, as we all know, the world stopped for a while in the spring of 2020.
For Jen’s team, this meant a break in recruitment, and the chance to re-focus on their ATS selection process.
Armed with a long list of requirements, Jen started exploring ATS providers again. The team’s previous ATS had poor data and reporting, so they needed a system with a strong reporting suite. They were keen for a new ATS to integrate with job boards and recruitment advertising platforms.
Crucially, the team needed a system to pull all their brands into one place and establish a sustainable structure for recruitment across the group.
Top of Jen’s list, however, was customer care.
“Previously we had experienced pretty appalling customer service, so for us having an in-house support team was really important. We spoke to a number of providers during our search, and service was always a key priority for us.
Implementing Hireserve ATS remotely
In 2020, everything from family birthdays to first dates went online. The implementation of Hireserve ATS for Wales & West Housing was no different. So, how did Jen find it?
“It wasn’t as bad as I’d expected! We had such regular catch-ups with our Implementation Consultant, Caleb, that it felt like we were constantly having our hand held throughout the process.
I was particularly impressed by the attention to detail. We’re quite picky here! But Hireserve were incredibly professional throughout, and we always knew who to contact if we needed to discuss something.”
With recruitment rates still lower than usual as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown, Jen and her team were really able to focus on exploring their new ATS during the implementation process.
They also had the capacity to engage their stakeholders across the Group, ensuring that Hiring Managers across all brands were comfortable with Hireserve ATS and felt fully supported.
“Hireserve were incredibly professional throughout.”
Hireserve ATS: The results
It’s now been three months since Wales & West Housing’s Go Live, and Jen is delighted that all the Hiring Managers are actively involved in recruitment.
“Our Hiring Managers are finding the ATS so easy to navigate. We’re not getting the same level of questions or issues from them that we previously did.”
With only two in the central recruitment team, it is still early days as Jen and her colleagues find their feet. But since implementing Hireserve ATS, they already estimate that they’re saving an hour of administration during the job approval and publishing stage!
They’ve also seen a marked increase in the number of applications they have received.
“Previously we knew how cumbersome our candidate portal was. Since implementing Hireserve ATS, we have halved our candidate drop-off rate.
It is much easier for candidates to apply for a role now, and we can now be confident that they’ll have a consistent experience across all three of our Group brands.”
Hireserve ATS: The results
In fact, a continued focus on candidate experience is next on Jen’s list. She and her team want to review their use of assessments and understand how they can enhance that aspect of the recruitment process. Jen is also keen to explore candidate feedback surveys, to ensure that they are continuing to meet candidate needs and expectations.
“It’s crucial for us to continue meeting candidate expectations – especially after a year where the market has changed so much in the wake of Covid. We need to make sure we keep asking ourselves what’s important to candidates? And how can we deliver that?”
Having a robust ATS in place means that Jen and her colleagues can now focus on these more strategic tasks.
“With the ATS up and running, we have the confidence that the ‘basics’ are being done properly. Our processes and structure are taken care of, giving us the freedom to explore and enhance the wider elements of recruitment and talent acquisition at Wales & West Housing.”