Blue Arrow has provided Capita with temporary workers and permanent staff for over 17 years. We operate as an extension of their business and mirror their vision and values. In early 2020, this was put to the test like never before. We delivered a remarkable campaign that was amongst the most challenging and rewarding of our tenure.
Capita approached us in May 2020 with a requirement for 2,156 temporary workers. Most of the requirement was for Call Handlers to work on a government contract as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. Capita needed to be fully operational before the end of the month which meant a large-scale recruitment drive was needed immediately.
The national lockdown created further complications. All parties – including the new temporary workforce – would be working from home throughout the campaign. Capita infrastructure such as place of work, desks and ICT was not available for the new workforce who instead would be using their own home-office capability. This created an entirely new work environment for all involved.
It was clear from the outset that our existing Capita management team needed additional support. We drafted in Customer Contact Centre experts from elsewhere in our business.The dedicated team launched an attraction campaign supported by 31 of our UK branches.
Technical requirements were advertised in addition to the traditional job/person specification i.e. minimum laptop/PC specification, internet connectivity and the latest anti-virus software. Applicants were supported to help demonstrate that they had the required tools available before undergoing an online competency assessment and vetting.
Our use of technology was critical to our success, rules-based scheduling along with a candidate management portal all helped us quickly and accurately match candidates and confirm them as placed in assignment.
As an applicant tracking system, it helped us provide updates twice a day on how many candidates were in the pipeline and what stage of the process they were at. Our client therefore had full confidence in us as their sole supplier to meet their demand.
A benefit we hadn’t truly considered before this project was how it empowered us to work remotely– circa 50 recruiters working as one virtual team from their own homes. Our project lead could track UK-wide activity in a live environment and effectively coordinate our response.
We received over 10,000 applications. Our detailed job/technical specifications and candidate briefing meant many of these were of the required quality. We quickly screened and supplied 1,549 qualified temporary workers between the 18th May and 1st June 2020. We implemented staged onboarding for an average 154 workers per day – peaking at 192. The total headcount represented a 25% reduction in the original requirement – Capita had allowed for an attrition rate that was not necessary based on the high quality of the assigned workers. This therefore delivered a soft cost saving in relation to reduced training needs and management load. The contract remains live and we will continue to support until the proposed project end in September 2020.