'In this market, fast response rates are crucial – otherwise you're going to miss out on top talent'
In three years, PetDirect.co.nz has grown to a workforce of 70, benefiting from the surge in online shopping and interest in pets during the pandemic.
Leading HR is Brooke Riley, Head of People and Culture: “It’s just me, and I can do that purely because of the technology tools that are available in the HR space now.”
Having joined the company seven months ago, Riley went about moving the company’s outsourced HR function in-house. But instead of people power, she harnessed HR technology to help her with that task – using everything from Slack and Chat GPT for everyday tasks to 15Five for performance management, and JobAdder for recruitment.
"I’m a big believer in harnessing the technology that is available nowadays to do your job more efficiently,” she said.
Recruitment sees positive results with technology
Recruitment is one of the areas that has seen the most positive results since moving HR in-house; the company has seen increased speed of hiring, minimised the cost of using external agencies, and with JobAdder’s applicant tracking system, has built a talent pool of over 2,000 candidates in just six months.
“The biggest reason and positive outcome for bringing recruitment in-house is speed, especially where there’s a talent shortage. I can view an application from someone that has applied 30 minutes ago and if they look like they are a strong candidate, I can organise to meet them tomorrow,” said Riley.
“If you are working with an agency, they could be working with other clients, and there's another layer of communication to go through before you can get back to the candidate. And in this market, fast response rates are crucial — otherwise you’re going to miss out on top talent.”
Another benefit of using technology is efficiency, as contracts for new hires can be out in 10 minutes, while auto-reply emails ensure communication with candidates at every point; and templates mean most tasks can be performed with a few clicks of a button.
“Everything’s just efficient,” she said.
Candidate experience enhanced
But with all that speed and efficiency, can the human touch be lost?
“I think personalising the candidate experience is everything,” said Riley. “If I didn’t have those systems in place, then a candidate might get lost. It gives me the chance to own the candidate experience and own all the communication – I’ve got a template, but I can personalise it to how I want it to be.”
While she has worked with agencies for recruitment solutions in a lot in the past, the future is all about harnessing technology, said Riley.
“It’s all just so much more efficient; with the size of our business, we don't need to use a recruitment agency because of the tech solutions available. For us, it works to keep recruitment in house.”
While other businesses may find using an agency useful due to the nature of their work and the size of their business, “I would advocate for companies to look into some of the recruitment technology solutions that are out there,” she said. “There's a tonne of benefits to be gained by using technology to own the candidate experience from start to finish.”