SKYCITY – “Xref supports our automation evolution”

Posted on 17 July 2017 by Xref in Case Studies, Human Resources

SKYCITY is a world-class entertainment complex, offering both domestic and international visitors a premium experience in the heart of Auckland. With bars, restaurants, hotels, a casino, a theatre, and 360 degree views of the city from the iconic Sky Tower, we have a huge employee base providing the best possible service every day. 

Ensuring we maintain this level of service and encourage visitors to return requires a constantly motivated and dedicated team. 

Given the nature of our business, SKYCITY has a varied workforce of casual, part time and full time employees, with more than 200 job categories. This means the volume of vacancies is often high and the recruitment team is continuously seeking and screening potential talent – an arduous job if references for all candidates must be taken by phone. 

Improving efficiency to increase value 

Prior to using Xref, that was exactly the situation we were faced with. Our recruitment team was undertaking at least two verbal reference checks for every position, which was a time-consuming task. While we were seeking information about the candidate, our reference checking process was more an administrative exercise to reduce risk than a genuine business value-add.

Xref was introduced in October 2015 and is currently used for reference checks for our waged and entry level specialist salaried roles. This provides our recruitment team with a quick, secure, insightful and effective reference checking platform, whilst enabling them to focus on other, more valuable areas of the recruitment process such as search and sourcing, interviews and selection. Using Xref gives us more time back for other critical stages of the recruitment process, allowing us to be more innovative and creative in the way we look for and select our talent, whilst ensuring that meets our business needs.

As the SKYCITY business grows, our HR leadership team is increasingly looking for solutions to streamline business processes and introduce new ways of working. The move to introduce Xref forms part of a bigger evolution for our business, to automate as many processes as possible and improve employee engagement, ensuring HR roles are enriching and not heavily admin focused. It has allowed the team to move away from a very transactional element of the recruitment role and into a more value-added position, something we previously did not have capacity to do but our hiring managers have been asking for.

Reducing frustration and improving outcomes 

Like many other businesses, SKYCITY conducts reference checking as one of the final stages in the recruitment process. Given the variety and size of our workforce, our recruitment team’s productivity has undoubtedly been hindered by the amount of time taken to connect and liaise with referees in the past.  This is not only frustrating but can be detrimental in securing great talent in the final stages of a recruitment process, particularly in a highly competitive hospitality market. 

Traditionally, the frustration associated with reference checking has centred on the requirement to follow up with both the candidate and with the nominated referee several times to complete the process. With Xref we find that we can now enter a reference request in the afternoon and it’s often completed overnight. 

Typically, more than 50 percent of our references are returned outside of business hours – in hospitality, that’s when most of our referees are more readily available. The fact that we can have the job done overnight when the team are away from the office, is a huge benefit and time saver for all. 

Making reference checking easy for all 

Reference checking fundamentally backs up what we hope we already know. However, it can flag opportunities for us to delve deeper if there are any areas we think need further probing. We have a pre-screening technology validated for SKYCITY that works alongside human element for selection.  Reference checking with Xref is one of the final stages of the process and this saves us a lot of valuable time.

Aside from the efficiency the Xref platform offers, the recruitment team also takes great pleasure in the ease with which it can be introduced to new staff members, candidates and referees, and the convenience it offers all users. This ease of use was an essential factor in SKYCITY using the platform on a regular basis, as we have several technologies to work with and must be careful not to add something that is complex or clunky. 

It’s been a welcome addition to the suite of new tools SKYCITY is adopting, and is a step in the right direction for us as an innovative and technologically-advanced organisation.

Amanda is the Group Talent & OD Manager with SKYCITY Entertainment Group, responsible for all activity relating to the recruitment and talent development for SKYCITY Auckland and strategic management of talent and associated capability programmes for the Group.

A self-confessed ‘recruiter’ at heart, Amanda has been in the industry for 15 years, experienced in both external agency and internal recruitment and is passionate about growing a high performing talent function that contributes strategically to an organisation’s success. 

Amanda Tolley, Group Manager, Talent Acquisition & Development, SKYCITY

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