As one of the biggest names in retail in the Asia-Pacific region, Pacific Brands may have began life manufacturing pneumatic tyres as ‘Dunlop' back in the 1890s but they are now the driving force behind iconic brands such as Bonds, Sheridan, Berlei, Tontine, Dunlopillow, Dunlop Flooring and Jockey.
From their headquarters in Melbourne, the company relies on a workforce of over 3,500 people nationally for its ongoing success. With theft and financial misappropriation being a significant threat in retail, satisfactory due diligence is key to successful recruitment, which means Pacific Brands considers stringent police checking of employees to be an integral part of their employment process.
Considering the profile of Pacific Brands, job advertisements by the company attract a massive amount of attention. Seasonal ebbs and flows of such a large customer-facing workforce also mean employee turnover can be high so any police checking procedure at Pacific Brands needs to comfortably handle high volumes while still retaining efficiency.
Prior to partnering with National Crime Check (NCC) in 2015, Pacific Brands completed police checks manually, which placed both labour and time demands on the company's HR resources.
"We had a form that potential employees would complete," explains Claire Kirk, HR Manager at Pacific Brands. "When they came in for their first interview, we'd ask them to bring 100 points of identification and to fill out the police check form. We would then get the interviewer to look through their I.D. and sign-off on the police check application."
Claire believes this largely manual process highlighted a number of inefficiencies that resulting in wasting both the company's time and that of the candidates.
"If they forgot their I.D., they would have to come back in and, quite often, we were getting people to complete their police check forms when we actually didn't end up progressing with them in the recruitment process anyway," concedes Claire. "We couldn't get them to email the information either so we would hold onto that initial paper I.D. form, and we would make every candidate do it on a ‘just-in-case' basis - just in case we wanted to proceed with them to the next round."
Pacific Brands decided there had to be a better way of completing police checks that offers a more efficient - and even enjoyable - experience for all involved. They went about researching the types of service and products available on the Australian market.
"We got in touch with three suppliers and we did testing with those suppliers," admits Claire. "We would get certain candidates and put them through the different processes from the three vendors. At the end of that process, we got in touch with the candidates and we also liaised with our recruiters in the business to determine which vendor was offering the best solution for us."
After extensive trialling, further online research and conversations with HR professionals from other companies, Pacific Brands found a police check service that not only benefitted Pacific Brands but benefitted the candidates too - and that service was National Crime Check.
National Crime Check has enabled Pacific Brands to take a strategically smarter approach to their police checks. The process is simplified and offers greater visibility at every stage of recruitment by seamlessly locking and loading into Pacific Brands' existing HR platform, Springboard.
"It was a remarkably easy transition," says Claire about the integration into Springboard. "It now means we have full visibility over where a candidate is at: have they received the police check information? Have they completed it? Has it been processed by NCC? We can send out an invitation to complete the police check via Springboard at any stage in the recruitment process, and it's all automated."
Given the nature of their business unit, Claire Kirk and her team see their candidates as customers and, from this perspective, the benefits to Pacific Brands' customers has been noteworthy.
"We don't have as much paperwork from our end but the main advantage is NCC has really improved our candidate experience," continues Claire. "Whenever we have someone who goes through our recruitment process, we want them to have a good experience, whether they are successful or not."
"The process now is far more streamlined and easier - and it's actually quite a fun thing to do too," confirms Claire, referring to functions such as candidate's taking photographs of I.D. and then submitting them for verification directly from a desktop computer or smartphone.
"The fact that our recruiters can easily access all the information on candidates - and it's all there in Springboard - is a bonus but probably the main thing for us is that it's easy for our candidates," emphasises Claire. "Retail just moves so quickly. We want our candidates to have an interesting experience and a really quick experience. If we're held up by one or two days, we can easily lose a candidate to another business out there that's moving quicker than us."
"Our people are important, and anything that's making it easier for us to make people happy is very valuable to a company like Pacific Brands."