Retail Redeployment
Case Study

Supermarkets saw a dramatic shift from in-store to online shopping during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. When it became clear the consumer trend was here to stay one major supermarket needed to radically restructure their business, which meant redeploying some 6,000 people.

They turned to HARBOUR to create a truly agile technical solution to ensure their impacted colleagues were at the heart of this large-scale, fast-paced project.

Over 12,000 new roles in wave 1 reduced to 600 roles advertised by wave 3

The background

Due to the pandemic and the migration to online shopping the client were closing their in-store meat, fish and deli counters along with 120 subsidiary retail stores – which would affect over 6,000 of their colleagues. Their mission? To redeploy as many of those colleagues as possible into newly created online retail-related roles as quickly, efficiently and fairly as they could.

The challenge

The client needed an ATS that could process a huge number of applicants with consideration of the resourcing team and store managers who would be central in the processing of the activity. The system had to be fluid, fast, user-friendly and uncompromising in its automated candidate-matching capabilities. Oh, and it had to seamlessly integrate with their internal jobs board platform and be built within a tight time frame.

In short, our client needed the kind of flexibility, powerful computing and speed of turnaround their existing platforms just couldn’t give them.

All about the algorithms

Here at HARBOUR we love an algorithm to take away the admin burden and drive efficiency. Using our ATS platform we created a customised recruitment solution with algorithmic complexity that totally nailed the client’s criteria. And it worked – beautifully. Our bespoke MatchMe solution saw candidates move seamlessly from application to job offer – taking in the client’s requirements for equity and a clear audit path along the way.

As soon as thousands of new roles went live on their job board our system went to work matching applicants to vacancies based on their desired location, hours and shift patterns. Crucially, the match-making system captured and flagged up applicants at risk of redundancy to ensure they were given priority.

Flex ’n’ go

Applicants could apply for multiple roles in multiple locations with different shift patterns and hours – and each one had to be processed in a way that was dependent on a number of variables, including whether they were At Risk or Non-Impacted. Complicated? Yes. That’s why we designed a highly-flexible system to do the job.

The MatchMe system sorted and segmented applicants through more than 20 different phases based on the client’s clearly defined selection principles. In super-fast time MatchMe deciphered which applicants could be fast-tracked straight to a job offer, which applicants were in competition, which ones needed to be invited to interview and which of those would be offered the job after interview outcomes had been collated in the system and scores moderated for additional fairness. Plus a whole host of permutations in between!

If that wasn’t flexible enough, the system rode three separate waves – completing the recruitment cycle before running the whole process twice more. With each new wave the system had to flex for an influx of re-applications and again ensure priority processing for At Risk applicants. Through it all, applicants were only required to interview once, at most – and the system made sure of that!

The human touch

We’re ace at creating ATS solutions that optimise processes but we also know the value a real-life person brings. In keeping with our client’s mantra that “colleagues are at the heart of all we do” we designed an automated system with touch points for human interaction. Whenever an outcome wasn’t absolute and a judgement call or sense check was needed we made sure it was a person, not a computer, who made the ultimate decision.

Over 25,000 wave 1 applications processed in less than 2 days

So what are you waiting for?