Famous for 15 minutes

We care about technology-enhanced human systems. So we thought we would share regular thoughts and opinions about why we think they matter so much.

Purpose beyond Profit – a client vision that’s dear to our (Midland) Heart

There are more than 8 million people across the UK living in unsuitable housing. The economic, social, educational and mental impact this is having, is at crisis point. Midland Heart are a profit for purpose provider of social housing across the West Midlands who are playing their part in trying to reduce this number.

Founded in 1925, their mission is to be a leading housing organisation, supporting 33,000 homes and delivering services across the Midlands that enable 70,000 people to live independently.

At HARBOUR, we like to work with businesses whose values and outlook match our philosophy of daring to care. And in the case of Midland Heart, our passion for creating technology that positively impacts client outcomes and candidate experience helped us co-create a platform that brings recruitment, onboarding and induction together in a way that reduces time to hire, increases engagement between hiring managers and new starters before day one and helps every new joiner feel part of Midland Heart in those crucial first four weeks in a new job.

The challenge for Midland Heart was to find the balance between delivering homes and services that enable people to live independently and investing valuable time to identify, recruit and retain the right people needed to deliver this mission. Our recruitment, on-boarding and induction portal has achieved exactly that.

In 2019, Midland Heart reviewed their entire organisational strategy and created their 2019 – 2024 blueprint for success, ‘Making What Matters Brilliant’. Our onboarding and induction portal was designed with this firmly in mind. And they recognise that what we made, is indeed brilliant for every hiring manager, every candidate and ultimately, every customer.

In March 2020, however, the world changed. The impact of the global pandemic on every aspect of life is of course, well known. To a Midland Heart hiring manager, now working from home, lockdown could have led to a meltdown of epic proportions when it comes to hiring the best people.

The induction process prior to our go-live of April 2020 was time-consuming and inconsistent for both hiring managers and candidates. HR were constantly being bombarded with questions which needed immediate answers. This was creating tension between managers and HR. And the user experience for every new joiner was inconsistent. Combine all this together and the damage was easy to identify. Time was being wasted and the experience was poor on all sides. And effectively money was being lost through poor induction by way of turnover of staff in the first six months of joining.

The measures of time, value and experience were the driving force for the new Hiring Manager Portal and induction planner. The system was built to create a fantastic user experience for both hiring managers and candidates – bringing them closer together at a time when we were all pulled apart by circumstances. Launched in April 2020, the interface is simple to update, enjoyable to use and has been received so positively by everyone.

Time to hire has been dramatically reduced. In 2019, time-to-hire was, on average, 45 days. Since the portal was introduced, this figure now sits at 36 days. And in these very difficult times, 135 new people have joined, and stayed, in a business that is actively recruiting when most organisations are cutting back.

“The new portal was a breath of fresh air; it was easy to navigate around and kept me up to date with every stage my candidates were at. It made the process of onboarding successful candidates so much easier, especially on a multi-person vacancy.” Ashley Bullock, Rangers Manager.

Businesses often benchmark new people by looking at their ‘break-even’ point – the moment where they become effective in their new role. We balanced this by also looking at the cost of a poor experience for new joiners. We know that anyone leaving within the first six months of joining can cost up to 50% of their salary in replacing them and training them up to that magic ‘break-even’ point – and TBH that’s pretty conservative when you consider all soft metrics such as negative brand impact and business confidence in the process.

In the six months prior to the new portal, 7 people left within the first 6 months of joining. Since launch, only 2 have left. This might seem a small improvement, but it’s made a massive difference to everyone at Midland Heart.

The impact of the Hiring Manager Portal and induction programme has been instant. New joiners have loved the experience, hiring managers have been given a tool that is quicker and simpler to use. And in the five months since go-live, the value has been enormous. Relationships between hiring managers and HR have been strengthened, new joiners feel culturally aligned – even in these times when they are sometimes not even joining a physical environment. But for everyone concerned, the immediate reduction in people leaving in the first six months has been phenomenal. And it is in this alone that we believe Midland heart deserve every accolade for their determination to invest in a truly user-friendly solution that brings people and technology together.

Every penny they make, they put back into the business. So, every penny they invest has to be spent wisely. The system created is next-generation back-end with cutting edge user experience at the front end. The investment of time, resource and finances was a big step for a business that operates within the strictest of financial controls.

We dare to care for businesses like Midland Heart. And we think that in these very difficult times, when so many businesses are cutting back, we should applaud and reward those businesses who dare to invest in technology that changes lives and impacts society.

“I’ve used our new Hiring Manager portal for a number of new recruitments and found the system to be really smooth and quick. The platform has been particularly useful during lockdown as it has given me and my hiring colleagues involved in the same recruitment the opportunity to progress applications in a remote setting. The system is intuitive, especially around the raising of new vacancies as it auto-populates relevant information. This has saved time and unnecessary queries to HR colleagues. The ability to track new vacancy requests and applications is also really useful and allows us to complete our recruitment in the shortest possible time.” – Chris Luke, Head of Building Safety

“I personally found our Hiring Manager Portal is such an improved way of working, easy to navigate and a smoother transition for recruiting”. – Judyann OSullivan, Sales & Marketing Manager


Blog post by Alex


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