Interview: In conversation with Kate Thomas from WP Recruitment & HR Ltd
This interview was first published in the March 2021 edition of “Tech Talk“, our new regular printed newsletter. If you would like to receive a copy of future editions, send us a message with your address and we’ll get one out to you.
Andrew talks to Kate from WP Recruitment & HR Ltd about how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have continued to service their customers’ needs.
What does IT mean to WP Recruitment & HR Ltd?
Our business is all about people, but IT means that we are able to facilitate communication with those people, both clients and candidates alike.
Our own systems are simple but efficient and it is the efficiency that is key. We use numerous client portals and jobs boards, some of which work well and some that do not. It is useful to be able to look at other systems and identify areas for improvement that we can learn from.
Having a reliable IT Support Provider like Wight Computers is of paramount importance. Whether we are having a bad day and unsure which button we have pressed to cause an issue(!) or if we come up with an idea for a new innovation, they are always patient and provide a solution, quickly.
What impact has the current pandemic had on your business?
Where to start! 2019 was our busiest year to date in 30 years of trading, but on the 23rd March 2020 we furloughed two thirds of our temporary workforce.
We have continued to work on a business-as-usual basis throughout the pandemic as we supply key workers to critical infrastructure industries but also recognised the importance to providing support to all those who were seeking work. Some people we were speaking to during lockdown periods hadn’t had contact with anyone else for weeks, so we knew that maintaining our candidate service and being there to provide support and advice was essential.
Financially, the last twelve months have had a large impact, but I know we are not alone in this regard. Fortunately, we had contingency plans in place which has meant we can be resilient and the team are looking forward to bouncing back once restrictions are lifted and some sense of normality resumes.
What IT changes did you make in your business during 2020?
As we recruited for vacancies throughout, the requirement to conduct candidate interviews was a constant. We were at first able to continue to do so in person, by following social distancing measures, however as cases on the Island increased, for the safety of the team and our candidates, we moved to online registration forms. Thanks to John at Wight Computers, this process was integrated into our existing website seamlessly within 48 working hours. This turned out to be extremely timely as when I received a notice to self-isolate from the NHS App the next day, I could easily work from home!
Have WP Recruitment & HR Ltd embraced any new technology during this time?
Like the rest of the country, we have come to rely heavily on video calls to replace face-to-face meetings. We chose to use Microsoft Teams as it integrated with our Outlook diary, for both client meetings and candidate video registrations. Moving forward, once social distancing restrictions are lifted, I am sure we will return to face-to-face interviews, however we now have the ability to register mainland-based candidates who are wanting to relocate, without the need for them to visit the Island.
What technology has made the biggest difference to the way WP Recruitment & HR Ltd operates?
As WP have been operating since 1989, the obvious answer is the Internet, for advertising our vacancies and reaching a wider candidate pool. However, we are currently working on an exciting project we are hoping will come to fruition so watch this space…
What would be your ‘Top Tech Tip’ for other businesses?
Embrace new technology. I am always wary of change, but if it makes your working life easier (whilst still maintaining your levels of standards and compliance), don’t shy away from it!
We’ll be interviewing another local business owner in the next edition of “Tech Talk” along with exclusive articles on the latest technology (in plain human speak) and ways you can better use technology to build and grow your business. If you would like to receive a copy, send us a message with your address and we’ll add you to our list.