WINNER River Island - HR excellence awards


WINNER River Island - HR excellence awards
River Island
he judges were extremely impressed
with the way River Island’s
recruitment strategy “understands its
demographic and really targets recruitment
round that”, praising particularly the
organisation’s use of social media.
The company’s HR Excellence Awardwinning strategy was born in 2012, when the
brand decided its operating model and
organisational structures were no longer in
step with the evolution of the retail market.
So a new approach to entry-level recruitment
was devised, designed in particular to tackle
the 50% uplift in vacancies expected over the
coming three years.
One part of the strategy was to strengthen
and build River Island’s relationship with the
Fashion Retail Academy and other
universities, offering six- to 12-month
placements for students studying buying,
merchandising, design, garment technology
and brand design.
Another was to run an apprenticeship
scheme for its production team – an area it
was struggling to find emerging talent for.
The business collaborated with Fashion
Enter and appointed three apprentices to
take part in a unique combination of
training and career-specific work experience
over a 24-month period. One lucky
apprentice has been recruited as a junior
production assistant.
The company has also partnered with
Retail Trust on a pilot scheme to give real-life
work experience to those struggling to find
employment. Two candidates completed the
programme, with one coming back to work
in the store over Christmas.
As well as improving processes for filling
entry-level jobs, River Island refocused its
mid/senior-level recruitment strategy, with
the intention of lowering overall recruitment
expenditure by reducing agency use. So the
company appointed a recruitment process
outsourcing partner to combine the best of
River Island’s in-house strategy with that of a
specialist firm. The result has been a strong,
multi-channel direct sourcing model that
has produced a £343,928 actual cost saving
and 92% retention of quality hires.
Other results of River Island’s impressive
recruitment strategy overhaul have included:
a 13% uplift in the number of work
experience candidates who went on to
continue a career at the company; a 62%
increase last year in the number of students
employed by River Island after graduation;
and 52% growth in the number of work
experience opportunities offered.
Even more impressively, perhaps, time to
hire has decreased from four weeks to 10
days, retention rates have increased from
81% to 92%, and cost per hire has reduced
from £126 to £94 between 2012 and 2014.
Increased social media activity has also
really paid off, with a dramatic increase in
the number of applications made via a
mobile device.
Our judges were particularly impressed
by the sustainability of the strategy – with
the business’s plans for a dedicated
recruitment campaign for retail tech
roles and additional enhancements to its
Recruitment App, for example.
In the words of one judge, this entry was
quite simply “a class apart”.
Sponsored by
July 2015 HR Excellence Awards 23