Case Study – Northern

We fast-tracked the railway.

The Challenge

Initially, Arriva Northern Rail had been our client for nine, smooth-running years. They loved the ownership, the flexibility and the way we could respond to their needs so quickly. There were plans to unify with Arriva’s in-house recruitment system, but when they uncoupled in 2020, Northern Rail knew they could call us to get their own digital infrastructure. With less than four weeks to get a system in place and not waste precious time, we got cracking to set them up as an independent entity. We had to match their mass transit mindset – on time and on track.


The Solution

We went into activation mode. Consulting with Northern’s team, we took stock of the processes that worked well from their original system and used that as our foundation. Their fresh engage|ats build integrated new updates and their new independent brand resulted in a totally aligned platform that made everyone happy – from their marketing teams to their conductors. It was ready to go live by the first of March. But was our job done? Not quite. To match their vision for greater impact and deeper connections, we saw the opportunity to hold training sessions with the recruiter teams. In just one week, we’d organised face-to-face sessions in both Leeds and Manchester, aimed at recruiters who hadn’t used the system before. We gathered their feedback, made some tweaks to the system and had it up and running before the first vacancies went live. Just four short weeks after receiving sign-off.


The Results

The hands-on recruiters were thrilled about the features and functionality that their new, bespoke ATS system offered. But the journey doesn’t end there. We still work closely with the Northern team to discuss and develop the system. We’re always looking for new ways to better meet candidates’ needs. As things shift, our tech helps the application process evolve – always ensuring that the teams can get the most time-saving benefits. And there you have it. On time. On budget. Never off the rails.


“It’s like revealing a big Christmas present. I’m amazed at what we’ve managed to do in less than a week!” – Jo Sweeting, Talent Attraction Manager, Northern 

So we went into activation mode. Consulting with the Northern team, we explored the processes that we knew worked well from their original system, and created a new one. (With fresh new updates, of course.) Northern’s brand had also changed, so we worked with their marketing teams to ensure everything aligned. The new system was live by the 1st March. Job done? 

Not quite. We saw the opportunity to hold training sessions with the recruiter teams. In just one week, we’d organised face-to-face sessions in both Leeds and Manchester, aimed at recruiters who hadn’t used the system before. We also gathered senior recruiter feedback, particularly on the nuances of their own recruitment areas. These sessions led to tweaks and changes to the system, which we implemented and added before the first vacancies went live on the 24th March. Just 4 weeks after receiving sign-off.   

The hands-on recruiters were really excited by the features and functionality that their new bespoke ats system offered. But the story didn’t end there. We still work closely with the team, discussing and developing the system; identifying ways the system can better meet candidates’ needs; using technology to simplify the application process and ensuring the teams see tangible time-saving benefits.  

So there you go. Nos adepto fieri stercore. On time. On budget. And we all enjoyed the journey.  

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