02 December, 2021

Central England Co-op has made steps to revitalise its recruitment experience as part of a large-scale transformation programme bringing a wide range of benefits to colleagues, candidates and the Society as a whole.

The Society is one of the UK’s largest and most successful independent co-operative societies and co-operative colleagues are the key to its success, which is why they want the very best people to join their team of over 8,000 employees.

It has been making progress for the future through a large-scale transformation programme encompassing:

  • A new Central England Co-op purpose, ‘Creating a sustainable Society for all’ and consistency of brand messaging
  • Enhanced Employee Value Proposition (EVP) with aligned behaviours, vision and purpose
  • A proactive approach to recruitment and candidate experience with the implementation of a complete Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that supports the full recruitment journey and agility to respond to the market
  • A new careers site to demonstrate the culture across the organisation and to support bringing candidates into the society quicker
  • Connected technology, systems and processes

A full review was undertaken by the HR and Project Team to look at every process and experience and how this could be improved as part of the transformation.

Eploy was fundamental in providing a complete ATS and CRM that supports the full recruitment journey and worked in partnership to deliver improvements for a revised recruitment strategy in how Central England Co-op attract, engage and nurture talent.

With the Eploy recruitment platform as the hub of the recruitment journey, the hiring manager experience was a key consideration throughout the transformation and selection process of Eploy.

Hiring managers are now very much part of the process with the right tools they need to work collaboratively. Central England Co-op uses the Eploy Hiring Manager portal to help hiring managers locally deliver a consistent and open recruitment process.

The flexibility to configure Eploy has enabled custom application journeys and candidate screening to make sure candidates are selected on merit.

Central England Co-op’s purpose and brand is at the core of the new careers site and this is reflected in the career site design and development to attract the right prospective talent and to reflect the culture and values of the organisation.

Eploy built the careers site using their implementation methodology – Discover, Define, Design, Develop and Deploy incorporating the new Central England Co-op purpose.

The integration of Eploy with iTRENT, the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and payroll solution in place, uses Eploy’s Application Programming Interface (API) to move new starters into iTRENT and update Company Structure in Eploy, removing the need for manual data entry.

Jen Chance, Head of Talent at Central England Co-op and Project Sponsor, outlined what the benefits of the recruitment transformation project are to colleagues, external candidates and the business.

She said: “For colleagues, vacancies will not be advertised externally for one week, giving internal talent the opportunity to apply first for roles which is quicker and easier than ever before with a more relevant way of applying through a QR code and dedicated area of the careers site.

“For those external candidates looking to join the Central England Co-op team, through the new careers site, they will have a greater and better understanding of who we are (as an independent co-operative Society). The candidate journey is also quick and simple, and the onboarding and contracting is automated making the time from interview to hire much quicker.

“For the business as a whole, major benefits are that automating the candidate and authorisation journey, will reduce the time to hire so we can recruit at pace. The system (unlike now) offers better,

quality data and reporting allowing us to have better insight into the candidate journey allowing us to flex to market demands and benefit from selecting the best talent in the marketplace.

“Automated scoring allows hiring managers to review the top scoring candidate first, speeding up the process of getting talent to interview saving hours of time screening each applicant. Automated processing of the onboarding and passing to payroll elements of the journey also reduces time for HR Shared Services too.

“Overall, it moves us from a traditional slow recruitment process to a relevant, digital, automated, fast candidate experience which promotes our employer brand and our purpose and our co-operative values and principles.”

Commenting on the achievements of the recruitment transformation project, Helen Stone, Recruitment Transformation Project Lead, added: “We have received positive feedback from stakeholders on the transformation for being well managed, well delivered and making Central England Co-op more connected, progressive and inclusive.

“We are excited to make a difference with a customised recruitment approach and the award-winning Eploy dashboards we now have access to for reporting on attraction and retention, sourcing channels, recruitment activity and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) data.

“Automating our onboarding process using Eploy’s Onboarding module has freed up a colleague who looked after the manual process of this onto value-add work that is making a positive difference. What we have delivered reduces admin, improves our data capture, instils our behaviour and values across the business and improves our agility and candidate experience.” To look at the new Central England Co-op Careers website visit www.careers.coop

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