Hannah Monaghan, from Serco’s Restart Scheme Employer Engagement Team in Wales, and Campbell Hutchison, People Partner for One Stop, a retail convenience store chain and subsidiary of Tesco, with over 900 shops in the UK, have been working together to solve One Stop’s recruitment challenges since the late summer of 2022.

Campbell Hutchison and Hannah Monaghan (Pic: Serco UK)

One Stop were facing a number of challenges, especially in South Wales, where there were a significant number of vacancies in the market, but they were unable to attract and retain good job candidates. One Stop were also struggling with staff engagement and a higher than usual turnover of staff due to the on-going recruitment struggles taking up resources.

Hannah stepped in to support on behalf of Serco’s Restart Scheme and has successfully placed 10 people into Customer Assistant roles for One Stop in Wales, with the individuals settling in well to the business.

Serco are in a unique position with the Restart Scheme as the programme’s purpose is to help those in long-term unemployment to develop their skills and confidence to find long-term, meaningful employment. Serco has been chosen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver the fully funded Restart Scheme in Wales, meaning local businesses can benefit too by having access to a pool of fully supported candidates at no cost.

Campbell Hutchinson said:

“People that we recruited via the Restart Scheme have been better engaged as they have built a relationship with the restart Scheme team and are more likely to stay. We have more faith in the process than direct applications.

Working with Serco and the Restart Scheme has been brilliant. Before I contacted them, I had a Store Manager who was taken out of his current role to focus on recruitment. The process wasn’t working and had become disjointed. The Store Managers had become stuck on a hamster wheel of recruiting and recruiting and then they weren’t engaging with the new starters. There was no candidate care, and they were taking on anyone and these individuals weren’t committed to the roles. We started having to close stores due to a lack of staff as we don’t allow lone working in shops.

What Hannah and the Restart Scheme brought is stability and structure to the recruitment process. And the financial gain was that we managed to keep more people in stores, more of the time. When we look at our absences, we reduced absences from 6.5% in South Wales to 3.5%, even as low as 2% at one point. We both learned by working together as the candidate might tell Hannah one story and tell us another, so having the good relationship between us, helps us to get the whole story!”

Hannah Monaghan said:

“Campbell and I have built a good working relationship where we catch up weekly. We talk about the applicants that have applied that week and the progress they are making. We also use the opportunity to talk about the candidates that are in work and if there are any problems to tackle, we discuss it and agree a course of action if required. We both know the people who are in the roles and by having regular catch ups, we continue a streamlined process with One Stop.

Attending a managers’ meeting where I met 28 members of staff was really useful as it was good for them to know more about the Restart Scheme and that we are here to help. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that employers don’t necessarily know what we do. So, it was informative for them to get an insight into how we promote their vacancies, pre-screen their candidates, how we make sure the qualifying criteria is ticked off before candidates even get to the application stage. What we have achieved so far is just a sign of the good things to come with One Stop over years to come.”

When asked what Campbell would say to any business thinking about using the Restart Scheme, he said:

“Go to the Restart Scheme as early as possible. Invite their staff to your company team meetings so they can put a face to a name and your team can understand what the Restart Scheme is and what the process will be.

Candidates don’t grow on trees, and we are continuously recruiting and have new stores opening in South Wales. Hannah highlighted to us that the biggest challenges for recruitment for one of the new stores is accessibility as it’s not served by public transport very well. There’s no parking which we hadn’t thought of so we are currently working through how we can resolve this. This was invaluable advice. I would recommend using the Restart Scheme. We feel like we are working with experts, and they can bring a different skillset to the recruitment process. Let’s keep working the way we do and thank you for all of your help”.

To know more about the employers and businesses that have benefitted from fully funded support from the Serco Restart Scheme, and to find out what recruitment support is available to you, email EEWales@serco.com or visit https://www.serco-ese.com/restart-scheme/employers

Serco Restart Scheme