Case Study: Chemical Manufacturing Company's Recruiting Overhaul

Shrewd Talent Acquisition Strategies Saved Client Millions, Slashed Time-to-Fill

In early 2018, a multibillion-dollar chemical manufacturing company brought on a new VP of HR to – among other responsibilities – fix the company’s broken recruitment and hiring practices.

The company had hundreds of roles to fill and no formal talent acquisition department or even one dedicated employee. Metric tracking and reporting were spotty at best and no comprehensive recruiting and hiring process was in place. HR generalists and hiring managers scattered around the country did their own thing to find hundreds of new employees. Open positions weren’t even listed on the corporate website.

In short, the entire recruitment and hiring process needed an overhaul.

With so much at stake, the HR executive knew he needed more than just a vendor to help – he needed a partner.

After vetting several Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) firms, he found BlockForce Talent and was immediately impressed by CEO and founder Christina Olsen. Christina’s deep familiarity with the chemical space gave her instant credibility. Her extensive recruitment knowledge and track record of success combined with her flexibility to start with a pilot project convinced the client that BlockForce was the right partner for the job.

Within their first year of working together, recruiting and hiring became faster and more cost-effective. The partnership:

  • Decreased time-to hire from 90+ days to 40 days (55% faster)
  • Decreased temp spend from $4.5 million to $2.9 million (35% savings)
  • Increased diversity across the board by 15%

But that success didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was the result of countless brainstorming sessions, dedicated planning, flexibility and creativity.

The Problem: Inconsistency & Constrained Resources

Before the client partnered with BlockForce, there was no talent acquisition budget, processes that did exist were inconsistently applied, and open positions sometimes languished for upward of three months.

The client didn’t have a dedicated recruitment department, so the burden of finding and vetting candidates fell almost entirely on hiring managers. Those hiring managers were largely left to their own devices: despite onboarding 200 to 400 U.S.- based workers annually, the company did not have a consistent, unified recruitment and selection process. Hiring managers didn’t have a uniform method for advertising open positions and each conducted their interview process differently.

To make matters worse, the system used to manage applicant tracking was ineffective, so key metrics were not monitored.

The geographic distribution of the client’s plants further compounded these issues. The plants – which are scattered throughout the country – sometimes sit hundreds of miles away from hiring managers’ home offices. So, in addition to having under-defined processes and poor metrics, hiring managers often struggled to tap into local talent pools and capture the attention of qualified candidates.

Beyond company-specific roadblocks, the client also had to contend with macroeconomic trends in the manufacturing industry that make hiring challenging. In recent years, the shrinking talent pool has led to fierce competition within the industry to capture and retain qualified workers.

The Solution: Streamlined Processes & In-Plant Pilot

With so many obstacles to overcome, the HR executive and BlockForce decided to take a limited (but easily scalable) experimental approach.

As a first course of action, Christina and her team developed processes that fully captured the capabilities of the hiring technology the company recently invested in but wasn’t effectively leveraging.

“Christina spent a lot of time on her own envisioning how the processes and systems should work,” said the HR executive.

That dedicated work paid off: the BlockForce team quickly implemented an effective talent acquisition process that was developed and optimized for use with the new iCIMS hiring platform – they even helped the HR team take full advantage of the system through training and customizing the system to their unique requirements. BlockForce also established an employee value proposition and linked open positions to the client’s corporate site.

Once those foundational solutions were established, a six-month, in-plant pilot process commenced.

The talent acquisition program – which placed workers in the company’s plants throughout the country – focused on hourly and non-exempt workers with additional, select services for professional-level roles.

A group of BlockForce recruiters dedicated solely to the client worked closely and collaboratively with hiring managers: they ensured processes were adhered to and were a fixture on calls and in meetings.

To address issues related to the geographic spread of plants, BlockForce placed some recruiters on-site. Together, those recruiters created a country-wide network that made scouting and engaging with local talent more efficient and effective.

After six months, hundreds of positions were filled with qualified candidates.

The pilot was so successful that the manufacturing wing of the company reached out to BlockForce and requested that they replicate the program for their department.

The Results

BlockForce By the Numbers

BlockForce delivered the hiring system overhaul the client was in search of – and they did so within a year.

From 2019 to 2020, the company’s time-to-hire shrunk drastically. With open positions no longer left unfilled for months, existing employees were saved from burnout and overwork.

The upshot? Employee morale received a boost and overtime expenses declined.

Perhaps most importantly, BlockForce initiated a culture shift at the company around hiring. The success of their early work helped establish a new focus on talent acquisition and retention. The processes BlockForce developed and implemented got buy-in from hiring managers, who now all follow uniform hiring practices.

That culture shift proved to be extremely beneficial when, in 2021, the company acquired the global arm of another chemical company. Aware of BlockForce’s stellar reputation, the subsidiary reached out to Christina who ultimately added 30 workers to their team.

Why BlockForce?

BlockForce’s partnership with the client remains to this day. In fact, BlockForce is now the client’s sole staffing provider.

Now, as the client’s dedicated RPO firm, BlockForce can scale up or pare down the recruitment team to suit the client’s hiring needs. That flexibility has given the client greater bandwidth to focus on other critical HR tasks.

“Working with BlockForce allowed me to only wear a few hats instead of all of them,” the HR executive said.

While other RPO firms may theoretically provide some similar benefits, the HR executive attributes the holistic reimagining of the company’s recruitment and hiring system to BlockForce.

Unlike other firms the executive vetted, BlockForce – and Christina in particular – immediately assumed the role of partner and trusted advisor. She listened closely to the company’s hiring concerns and was truly willing to work with them in a way that suited their needs – even though that meant starting small and gradually scaling up.

“Christina was flexible and had great ideas,” the HR executive said. “She helped us save money and achieve our goals.”

Revolutionize Your Recruitment Practices with BlockForce Talent

At BlockForce Talent, we understand how fierce the competition is to attract and retain quality candidates. As an experienced recruiting firm, we know where the barriers are – and how to remove them.

Our team of experts can help you upgrade your recruiting efforts with a proven process for job matching that eliminates bias and promotes inclusion, diversity and growth for both companies and job applicants. We work as an extension of your team to ensure you have the practices in place to grow.

If you are ready to attract and retain talent faster and more effectively, contact our recruiting experts to learn how BlockForce can help.

About BlockForce Talent

If you would like to create a recruiting center of excellence, partnering with BlockForce Talent will reduce your time-to hire by 25-50%, decrease your recruiting expenditures by 20-30%, and help you achieve your diversity hiring goals by reducing hiring bias. Whether you need temps, hourly workers, salaried employees, or executives, BlockForce Talent will co-create a talent acquisition program for you with a digital-first approach so you will become fully staffed while also increasing employee retention and maximizing any hiring software used. BlockForce Talent serves many employers but has special expertise with chemical, commercial and industrial employers.

Contact us to learn more about our digital talent acquisition services