Krispy Kreme Australia has halved turnover among new employees and improved overall retention as a result of a new approach to talent assessment and acquisition, according to its head of HR.

The approach was adopted in response to the biggest recruitment challenges facing the business locally: time, cost, and quality of hire, said Sally Park, head of people for Krispy Kreme Australia.

“With the number of roles that we advertise, we can get hundreds of people applying for a couple of roles, and the store managers need to spend time sifting through those CVs to find the people that they’re really looking for who are going to be the best match,” she said.

“There’s a cost associated with that time and taking them away from being on the floor and managing the team.”

Krispy Kreme Australia recruits across six different areas of its business: doughnut production, doughnut processing, retail, store management and support office – however, store recruitment makes up the bulk of recruitment for the business locally.

Another recruitment issue the business has faced includes quality of candidates, which Park said is “always an ongoing problem”.

“Because we get so many applications, we need to find the quality people within those applicants.

“We don’t have any problem attracting applicants – it’s finding the people that are going to be best suited for our business that’s the issue,” she said.

“The big thing for me is to be clear about what we’re looking for as an employer, what the potential employee is looking for, and trying to find a match between the two”

Krispy Kreme Australia recruits against six values that help guide its culture with a view to improving customer experience, in that it wants team members to be passionate; authentic; sociable; enjoyable; big-hearted; and proud.

“Culture-wise, we’re looking for people who have fun, but know how to get the work done and deliver the best results for our customers,” said Park.

“So we’re looking for people who are great team players, who are excellent communicators, and who are able to convey their love of doughnuts and Krispy Kreme to the customers when they come into store.

“That’s for the retail side.”

For production and processing, tasks tend to be more repetitive so Park said she looks for people who are able to maintain attention to detail and high levels of quality, making sure doughnuts are produced to meet standards for an entire shift.

“But they still need to be able to have fun and enjoy themselves while they’re on shift, because, that makes it much more enjoyable to come to work,” she said.

“The big thing for me is to be clear about what we’re looking for as an employer, what the potential employee is looking for, and trying to find a match between the two.

“As an employer, if you’re not 100 per cent clear on what you’re looking for, this can give a muddled message to the market, and you’re not going to find the right candidate for the role you’re trying to fill.

“However, if you’re clear on your objectives, the type of person you want and their responsibilities, it’s going to be much easier to find a match in the marketplace with somebody who’s also looking for that role – and then not settling until you’ve found the right fit.”

“When it comes to recruitment, a lot of the roles need to be filled quickly, and we’ve got a short timeframe to work to”

Krispy Kreme Australia has reduced turnover significantly as a result of its revamped approach to talent acquisition: for the April to June 2014 period turnover among employees in the 0-3 month tenure period was 48 per cent; and this fell to 13 per cent in the July to September 2016 period.

Furthermore, turnover for the April to June 2014 period among employees with the company for 4-6 months stood at 18 per cent; and this fell to 0 per cent in the July to September 2016 period.

Overall turnover has fallen from 42 per cent in 2013 to 37 per cent in 2016, and Park said this is largely due to finding better quality candidates who are the right fit for the role, and therefore stay for longer.

“If you don’t get that right fit, it’s either people are going to move on of their own accord, because they’ve realised that they weren’t sold the job that they thought they were going to get,” said Park.

“Or as an employer, we’ve realised we’ve made a mistake, so the person may not be working out for any number of reasons – that’s what probation is for.”

“I think the fact that our turnover’s decreased so significantly, especially within the first six months, is really an indication that we’re getting the right people for the right roles,” she said.

Krispy Kreme Australia works to a three-year strategy, and a key part of this plan is to expand its current 20-plus stores nationwide, mostly across Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

“The doughnut category is really expanding and there’s increased competition with other brands coming into the market, which forces us to be more creative and innovative with the products that we deliver to the marketplace because consumers are becoming more discerning and wanting more variety,” said Park.

“Technology has a big role to play in streamlining and automating processes that aren’t going to add a lot of value in recruitment”

Krispy Kreme Australia recruits across six different areas of its business: doughnut production, doughnut processing, retail, store management and support office – however, store recruitment makes up the bulk of recruitment for the business locally.

“When it comes to recruitment, a lot of the roles need to be filled quickly, and we’ve got a short timeframe to work to,” said Park.

“It can be difficult, though, to manage expectations, and also try to find the right person.

“In the past there have been times where we have compromised on people; we haven’t felt that a candidate was right, but we needed to get somebody on board to start in a couple of weeks.

“But it hasn’t worked out, and we would have been better off just taking our time and making sure that we find the right person before making that decision to hire,” according to Park.

In response to these challenges, Krispy Kreme Australia adopted a new platform called Expr3ss! to assist with the assessment and acquisition of talent.

“Technology has a big role to play in streamlining and automating processes that aren’t going to add a lot of value in recruitment,” said Park.

“When you save time in those areas, you can spend time really focusing on the top ten percent of candidates.

“So these tools help me to narrow the field down, so instead of reviewing 200 CVs, I can use the technology to give me the top 10 people, who I can then spend time on the phone with to determine if they’re going to be that match.

“I don’t think technology could ever remove that face-to-face component because I think it’s pretty critical.

“We’re still human, but it can assist with screening and shortlisting to a great degree, so you can focus on the top candidates and spend time interviewing them instead,” she said.

“I don’t think technology could ever remove that face-to-face component, because I think it’s pretty critical”

Culture fit is particularly important in hiring for roles locally, according to Park, who explains that Krispy Kreme Australia tries to hire for the culture and train for skills.

She explained that Expr3ss! employs benchmarking tools to assist in the screening process, which helps store managers quickly identify who’s going to be the best fit for a particular role based on cultural fit compared to superstars in the business.

“So the Krispy Kreme benchmark will compare all applicants against Krispy Kreme team members in retail, who have completed the same survey.

“So we know what makes them excellent in their roles, and we compare this against all the applicants to get a rating, and we have found this to be quite accurate,” she said.

The second part of the application process is based on key screening questions around availability, key skills, hygiene factors and other key points.

Between the benchmark scores and responses to screening questions, managers then receive a shortlist of candidates to get in touch directly with to proceed with an initial phone screen with.

“Retail, production and processing are the three key areas in the business that we recruit for, so the benchmarks for each of those are quite distinct, because we’re obviously looking for different types of people,” said Park.

“A person who works in retail is going to be a very different type of person to somebody who works in processing, who is decorating our doughnuts.

“They’re going to be different, again, to the type of people that we need to work in production, who are responsible for actually making the doughnuts.”

Image source: Hayden Brotchie