Case Study

Arriva Northern Rail had been a client for nine, smooth-running years. They loved the ownership, the flexibility, the way we could respond to their needs so quickly. One day, in 2017, they made an announcement. They were being re-directed to join Arriva’s in-house recruitment system. However, as soon as Northern Rail uncoupled from Arriva in early 2020, they called us. Smiles all round. Smiles which crumpled into fixed grins when we got wind of the timescales.   

This was the deal. Once the team moved away from the Arriva system, they had less than four weeks to get up and running on our system. As tight as a puffer jacket in a turnstile. Northern, as they were now called, were in a state of flux; they were still trying to set up as an independent entity. Things were going to be challenging.  

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.  

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