Our recent series of interviews with leading recruitment professionals sees Sorcha speak to Janet Burr, HR Director at Thames Water
Shortlisted for Embedded Recruitment Team of the year at the Recruiter Awards this year, Janet Burr, HR Director says that Thames Water turned a corner in 2013. Having worked under an RPO model since 2008, they were in need of a revamped dedicated service to cater to their growing needs and enlisted the help of RPO, Pertemps Managed Solutions to help what has been an incredibly successful overhaul.
The move was due to the HR function being unable to fully satisfy the recruitment needs of the growing company. The small internal team is currently kept busy with the demands that come with serving 5500 employees internal employees with a 15 million strong customer base.
A team of twenty Pertemps employees now work in the HR offices at Thames Water in Reading, with hiring managers going directly to them for their speciality sourcing needs. Pertemps are committed to providing the best possible service to hiring managers by enlisting top talent to join the organisation, alongside continually improving their practices.
Janet has witnessed a significant improvement in the execution of the RPO model in that the Pertemps employees have made a conscious effort to better understand the different business areas of the company, such as the variances in recruiting for Water versus Waste Water and then for the Retail business. They have also made headway on reducing crucial time to hire, not letting this drop even during the time of business transformation when the employee headcount increased.
Whilst the embedded team have done an excellent job of recruiting for the needs of Thames Water, Janet has recognised there are still challenges to overcome. The Pertemps team along with the rest of HR and the wider Thames workforce are working hard to attract the right people and address skill shortages. An area of concern has been East London where filling positions has become particularly testing, however, Janet is confident that different strategies including partnering with the new University Technical College of East London will make this easier year on year.
Focusing on the future, Janet is committed to finding creative and innovative ways of doing things. HR are now consulting with hiring teams to hear their views on communication themes and channels to ensure they are exploring all avenues to find the best people for the available vacancies. Janet undertakes quarterly reviews with the Pertemps team, focusing on the requirements for both permanent and temporary staff so they have a better understanding of the future demands of the business. HR is aware that an ageing workforce could be detrimental to certain business functions so is taking steps to ensure the Pertemps team is in sync with the wider people strategy of Thames Water.