Talent Q assessments, delivered through PageUp’s talent management system, are giving Peabody’s candidates a better experience. And its recruitment team is getting better insight.

Peabody is a busy business. The housing association provides homes to 80,000 Londoners at sites all over the capital, and it’s getting busier. In 2014 alone, it acquired three new businesses including Thamesmead Trust, giving Peabody a direct role in one of the UK’s 50 biggest regeneration projects.

The business already knew it needed better recruitment technology. The system it had couldn’t generate management information. Staff had to request data, like time or cost to hire, from the provider on a case-by-case basis, and the system was letting candidates down. They couldn’t apply for roles from mobile devices, and they often ran into technical difficulties. This kind of experience was at odds with Peabody’s desire to be ‘an employer of choice for Londoners’.

Since January 2016, things have changed. Peabody now has a fully automated system from PageUp, with Talent Q psychometric assessments from Korn Ferry Hay Group built in. This lets the business streamline its recruitment process by filtering applications and cutting administration - important for a team of just two recruiters and two admin staff. The PageUp platform communicates with candidates, administers assessments and stores results all in one place, so staff don’t have to log into and out of different systems. Since the system went live, staff say they’ve saved time, while candidates’ feedback on their experience is better.

Bringing systems up to date.

Peabody now employs around 1200 staff, compared to 650 in 2013. That rapid growth means they are constantly recruiting. Roles range from senior management positions and finance specialists to ‘environmental caretakers’, customer services staff and even a swimming instructor.

Acquiring new businesses put more strain on recruitment technology that was already struggling. ‘Our vacancy level doubled in a year. Last year we recruited for 470 jobs,’ says Peabody’s Head of Resourcing and HR Business Partner, Marija Vida. ‘The system we had couldn’t give us the information we needed. So, for instance, we couldn’t use it to give us a view of vacancies across the business and help us understand how to allocate workloads.’

Following a tender process, Peabody chose PageUp and Hay Group. People in the business had already had good experiences with PageUp, and Talent Q assessments scored highly for how well its psychometric assessments integrated with the system.

Saving time and money.

Peabody uses the system to handle its permanent and fixed-term vacancies. Candidates submit CVs, and fill in a form using drop-down menus to answer questions – from basics like their right to work in the UK, to others more tailored to the role. Those answers help the system screen the unsuitable applications. So instead of having 200 CVs to sift, staff will only have 100. ‘That’s already saving someone several hours,’ says Marija.

The system also cuts costs by giving Peabody its own on-demand ‘talent pool’, she adds. To start a search, a recruiter types in keywords, like the skills needed for a role, to get a list of potential candidates. Marija estimates the business will fill up to 25% of vacancies like this, saving time and money on advertising the roles.

Boosting reputation.

Peabody is well known and respected in the housing sector, but the organisation was keen to cast the net wider. Being an attractive employer starts with a good recruitment experience. Marija says: ‘We want to send a message that we’re an employer of choice for Londoners, with fantastic benefits and opportunities. To reinforce that, the candidate experience has to be good.’

With the old system, candidates couldn’t apply from phones or tablets. That fell short of what people increasingly expect now, says PageUp Vice-President for EMEA, Nick Adams: ‘For businesses who use PageUp, over a third of candidates complete their applications on a mobile device. They want it to
be as easy as possible. In fact, if a site isn’t mobile-optimised and candidates hit a bottleneck part of the way through an application process, they often won’t go back to it. The easier everything is, the more you look like a great employer.’

Keeping colleagues happy.

Staff are happy too. Hiring managers and recruiters needed only a 2-3 hour demonstration to get comfortable enough with the system to use it. ‘We laid on PageUp surgeries but we didn’t need them,’ says Marija. ‘We’ve had nothing but good feedback.’ Peabody plans to calculate the return on investment during 2017, when comparable data becomes available.