Flexing Up for Peak with Warehousing, Transport and Delivery Services
“The relationship has been built on trust in our contingent staffing capability. Wherever the client experiences acute staffing challenges, the flexibility and reliability of our service can always be depended upon.”
- Dan Topping, Blue Arrow Account Manager
The client’s biggest staffing challenge comes in the form of meeting the demands of the Christmas peak season with the sheer scale of the increase to the volume of letters and parcels being delivered over the relatively short festive season.
The competitive nature of the employment market at this time of year poses a stiff challenge for both the client and Blue Arrow in recruiting a temporary workforce with the right skills. With the jobs market saturated with opportunities from late-September to early January, having the right recruitment partner to pull on existing jobseeker market conditioning, is vital to a successful peak season.
Supporting the client’s seasonal recruitment drive is an intensive process beginning with sourcing staff in a fiercely competitive jobs market, where speed to hire can be as important as the pay rates on offer. Proactive and diligent management from the start to the end of the peak season to accommodate staff unavailability and ensure staff attrition is minimised to meet the full staffing needs of the client’s service.
Through the Blue Arrow National Account Manager, a close understanding of the client’s business and challenges sits at the heart of how the operational service delivery is coordinated to truly complement the client’s own Flexible Recruitment team efforts. From August, the Blue Arrow Account Manager collaborates with the client’s team to establish a forecast of the staff levels needed to meet the uplift in postal and distribution demand for the upcoming Christmas season.
During this time, the Account Manager coordinates all geographically relevant Blue Arrow Branch teams through Branch Managers to create a view of local workforce insights that build a picture of the value proposition required to compete for best available talent. These same teams start to mobilise their local talent acquisition strategies which are reinforced by an overarching digital marketing campaign devised by the Blue Arrow marketing team.
The result of this collaboration is an 8-week programme of candidate attraction activity geared towards the first staff intakes in mid-October.
Activity is tracked against forecasted numbers and reported to the client’s Flexible Recruitment team on a weekly basis, identifying performance of the talent pipeline and highlighting potential areas of risk to supply.
From mid-October, a hybrid of real-time dashboard reporting and daily updates are used to give a timely view of the new-starter, attendance and attrition levels. The quality of the insights shared support a highly responsive approach to local fluctuations in postal service demand.
The client runs its own recruitment campaign targeting some 18,000 vacancies from September.
Blue Arrow supports this programme through the provision of recruitment staff to attend over 400 recruitment open-day events throughout the UK during the eight-week programme.
This activity is underpinned by a dedicated team of Blue Arrow compliance and vetting specialists who maintain high levels of governance around legal recruitment check standards. At the end of the national roadshow of recruitment events, there can be acute staffing needs that remain in geographical pockets around the country. This is where the national footprint of Blue Arrow’s branches of Recruitment Specialists is ready to supplement with local contingent staff as and when needed.
From January to September, Blue Arrow operates to a baseline supply of 120-150 workers at any one time. During October to December, there is a four-fold increase peaking at circa 650 staff a day, with the biggest increase in Postal Sorters followed by Van Drivers and Postal Delivery workers. Warehouse and Administration staff also increase in volume.
Each year Blue Arrow’s investment in technology helps us find better and faster ways to flex-up as needed by the client’s postal services.
This approach has continued beyond seasonal peaks throughout 2020, with increased temporary staffing demand arising out of COVID-19 related absence and sickness. Again, it was the flexibility and reliability of Blue Arrow’s talent support that was able to support pockets of four times the number of Postal Sorters required during March – May of this year compared with the same period in 2019.