Thousands saved in recruitment costs at Cuscal

by 13 Apr 2010

Investing in employment branding has saved financial services firm, Cuscal, hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruitment costs over the last two years, delegates at an HR breakfast heard this morning.

Speaking at the HR Partners/MGSM networking breakfast in Sydney, managing director of Cuscal, Craig Kennedy spoke about the huge savings a small investment in employment branding can make for a company.

With a turnover of about $150 million, Cuscal, which Kennedy describes as a “weird little organisation”, has about 270 employees, runs the second largest ATM network in Australia, is regulated by APRA, and is one of the smallest financial institutions in the world with an AA credit rating. Over the past two years the company has built up its employment brand leading to huge savings in recruitment costs.

“Our direct investment in employment branding in terms of getting the materials, establishing the program and doing the research was about $27, 000,” said Kennedy. “We probably spent about four or five times that in terms of hours spent, executive attention and time given to the project. But even including these indirect costs we would still be sitting under $120, 000 – and we have definitely seen some pretty good returns on that investment.”

One of the main reasons for Cuscal’s decision to revamp their employment branding, was to start attracting quality candidates by raising the profile of the company.

“Most people have never heard of us, and that makes it very difficult to cut through and attract talent,” said Kennedy. “You’re talking about pretty basic stuff; if you’re buying a product you want to be aware of the brand and compare it to the competition before you make a purchase decision. The same goes for attracting employees. It’s that basic premise that we’ve been working on.”

Cuscal, which won the 2009, HR Leadership Award for Best Employment Branding Strategy, was a “warm and fuzzy” type of organisation which was quite conservative and resistant to change prior to rolling out the new strategy. Therefore it was very difficult to compete for talent against the larger financial services firm and Cuscal’s recruitment costs were huge.

“We weren’t a particularly sexy type of model and were perceived as a more of a credit union type of business, where people stay for up to 100 years,” he said.

Changing this perception of the company to align it with business strategies led to a dramatic reduction on dependency on recruitment agencies. And one of the most crucial elements to the success of the strategy was the research done before implementation.

Through focus groups, one-on-one interviews, questionnaires and exit interviews, the company delved into the reasons why people were leaving and how to develop engagement.

- Sarah O’Carroll


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