A Sweet RPO Package

Case Study: Hershey foods find success with RES.

by HROT Staff

After a thorough review of their Human Resources Strategic Plan for 2000, it was determined that in order for Hershey Foods Corporation to continue to attract and retain a talented, diverse workforce, it would need to implement new methodologies and state-of- the-art technology. Hershey has long been a household name when it comes to candy, but we needed to work on becoming an employer of choice, said Kerrie Wolfe, Manager, Strategic Staffing and Employee Integration, Hershey Foods Corporation. Not certain that their goals could be accomplished by only utilizing their internal resources, Hershey began researching available outsourcing capabilities, and by August 2001, they narrowed the list of vendors down to four and began the request for proposal process. Then in September of 2001, Hershey announced an Early Retirement Program that left their HR department sparse outsourcing the recruiting function couldnt have come at a better time with the selection of RES in February of 2002.

A month later, RES and Hershey began a complete assessment and analysis of the existing staffing processes and programs. Meanwhile, a team of three diverse RES recruiters was assigned to the Hershey program. Their task was to contact all hiring managers who had current job requisitions and determine where they were in the hiring process. The recruiters received approximately 75 requisitions within the first two weeks. Some of these jobs were in the final stage of the hiring process and required only administrative support, not RES recruiting expertisebut many did. A variety of recruiting strategies were developed to fill these requisitions with qualified applicants, including Internet postings, networking, the Hershey career site, and radio advertising.

Hershey also needed a fully-capable applicant tracking system (ATS). Such a system captures and tracks necessary data that allows reporting on a variety of performance initiatives such as time to fill, cost per hire, applicant source, etc. Understanding and reviewing these metrics is critical to evaluating the continuous design of a program and recognizing its overall success. The RES technology is amazing. It allows for a much more efficient flow of data as well as a quick glance at our performance initiatives, says Wolfe. I always know where we are excelling and where we have opportunities. Utilizing the information being gathered from the ongoing procedural assessment, the technology team began collaboration with Hershey to launch the development of a fully-customized ATS system.

Within five months, the system had been tested and was ready for launch. With the new system, hiring and HR managers would have the ability to input their open requisitions into the system, candidates and applicants would be managed, and RES dedicated recruiters would then review and interview qualified applicants to filter down to the top three to five, best fit applicants for hiring managers. With the entire recruiting process now online, all applicants (internal and external) could be reviewed in a single system. Managers were now able to review completed job applications, online questionnaires, and recruiter interview notes all in the new ATS. Applicants are fully processed through to the hire, and then all data is transferred to the Hershey HR database. Once a requisition is closed, the process does not end. The hiring manager would receive an e-mail alerting him or her to complete a customer survey on their experience with the system as well as the recruiter. Because retention is key, a survey is also sent to the new hire at three- and six-month intervals to track their performance and experience in the job.

During the first year of the relationship, the RES Hershey Talent Team assisted Hershey in managing and filling more than 400 positions. RES and Hershey agreed that the first year would be used to gather the data necessary to set a benchmark for future measurement and process improvement. With reductions in cost per hire of more than 30 percent and a reduction in time to fill of more than 19 percent, the new Hershey/RES recruitment solution was successful in its first year of implementation. Having one centralized process for all salaried hiring online, has moved Hershey into the forefront of the competition for talent, notes Wolfe. We have one central database so the hiring decision can be made more effectively, and we have full tracking and reporting capability as well.

Today, RES and Hershey continue to adjust the program as lessons are learned and improvement opportunities are recognized. Implementation of this system at Hersheys Chocolate World Visitor Center is planned for the future, as well as a planned migration to a new HRIS system, which is currently in development.

Posted July 10, 2005 in Talent Acquisition

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