Kerry Crompton-Harris, Director of people and resourcing, Compass Group UK and Ireland interview, as seen in Contract Catering magazine
How do you use recruitment to drive forward your business?
"We are a people-powered business, so attracting the best people and keeping them within our organisation is crucial to our success. As we rebuild our industry after the pandemic, we need to be focused on making every job rewarding and showcasing how hospitality can provide great career opportunities for everyone – regardless of background or education.
We are part of a barrierless industry, which means that you don’t need specific qualifications to join. We can offer skills training, as well as career opportunities and flexibility – and I can think of no greater example of levelling up.
Last year, we launched Our Social Promise, an ambition to positively impact one million lives by 2030, from both within and outside the organisation, through job creation, education, training, community and charitable engagement. Part of this strategy includes the development of our people, but importantly we also focus on communities we operate in, such as outreach to schools. This will help children become business- and employment-ready, and start to close the skills gap alongside demonstrating the kind of opportunities and pathways available. We need to find and utilise the channels to let people know about our exciting industry and what we can offer.
Another focus for us has been strengthening and establishing partnerships with supply-chain partners and charities, who work with people experiencing barriers to employment, such as the long-term unemployed. This helps us offer opportunities to people who might not have considered a place like Compass before, plus these people give us the chance to hire someone with potential who can learn and train on the job. We have some really great examples of people that have succeeded through these routes.
Importantly, we have also looked to make our recruitment processes more streamlined with an innovative tech-led approach. This includes overhauling the application process to transform the hiring experience to be faster, more efficient and intuitive.
We have looked at making our website and tech mobile-friendly, alongside introducing a chat bot feature and even trialling gamification to stand out in a busy space. This also results in a much quicker response times and, as new generations enter the job market, we have found efficiency and speed are integral.
Notably, our approach is driven by data and insights, with a multi-channel candidate attraction strategy using social media, aggregators and job boards to actively engage with candidates throughout the entire recruitment process. This way we can share key messages about why our industry is a great place to be and the opportunities we have available.
As part of Our Social Promise commitment, we’re investing in our talent and their skills for the future, through schemes like apprenticeships and we’ve had great success with Kickstart. Last year, we launched our internal Career Pathways structure that shows people such as cleaning and culinary workers, through to our central functions and support staff, how to ‘Move Up’, ‘Move Across’ or simply ‘Master your Craft’ – offering learning, advice, mentoring and progression guides.
Ultimately, my biggest tip would be to focus on the candidate, via an attractive brand and employee value proposition that stands out from the crowd. We are seeing that more candidates value the holistic offering, such as flexible hours and extended benefits beyond the norm.
Additionally, feedback on the recruitment processes shows that the speed of application and hiring response are key. In many regions there are more role vacancies than applicants; therefore, response times and efficiency is of the essence in order to get the best people."