TalentHR Distinction Spotlight: Transforming talent attraction at The AA

HR Distinction Spotlight: Transforming talent attraction at The AA

HRD Connect examines how The AA successfully transformed their talent acquisition strategy.

Many organisations strive to go through a transformational journey and guarantee global success. To succeed in these challenges, businesses must undertake numerous changes over many years. This can heavily impact culture, talent, and strategic focus. Through these monumental changes, HR plays a key role in maintaining and aligning a consistent experience for their workforce in times of uncertainty.

This week, we look at The AA’s talent attraction journey. They planned to completely overhaul their talent acquisition strategy, to ensure that they were raising the quality of hires and improving the overall candidate hiring process.


Recruitment at The AA is challenging due to the sheer number of complex roles required for the business to succeed. Every year, 3,000 hires are made. In the past, their recruitment structure was fragmented, old-fashioned, and was managed with little specialised experience.

Consequently, this initiated a significant transformation, which was taken on by Simon Breakwell, CEO, The AA. Their key objective was to strengthen their frontline Customer Operations and Roadside functions, ensuring that there was the right level of staff available. This would reduce customers’ dependence on garage networks.

To accomplish this strategy, The AA had to undertake a major overhaul of their current employment process. To start with, they succeeded in hiring a Head of Talent Acquisition, and a brand-new executive talent team. This was exactly what they needed to create the foundations for a focused and effective talent attraction plan.

“Nothing less than a huge change in thinking was needed, involving a re-assessment of business needs. This resulted in big alterations to the team structure,” said a spokesperson from The AA.

“The Talent Acquisition team had relied heavily on agency support, unable to service the demands of the business themselves. Our strategy was to establish TA members with deep expert support for local manpower plans and location strategies.”

The AA also introduced a direct sourcing strategy, which was focused on longer-term employee value, and inclusive hiring. Introducing this drove stronger candidate growth.

Feedback and learning played a key part in their strategy. The AA consistently sought feedback from their workforce to respond to their short and long-term demands.

“We didn’t wait to be asked. We continued to improve processes and relationships. We pushed to innovate. And we had fun!”

Throughout this challenging process, the team were committed to developing current employees at The AA. Furthermore, they offered more entry-level roles. Nearly a third of the team are now apprentices. Additionally, two of these apprentices secured promotions in the last year.

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Externally, The AA also renovated their candidate brand experience. They executed this by developing a new employee brand proposition called ‘Ready for ANYTHING’. This demonstrated The AA’s ability to handle any unexpected scenario they may encounter. This was also an effective way to showcase the range of roles they had available.

“We’ve completely redesigned the AA careers site by incorporating rich video, creating a chatbot that transformed site navigation, and encouraging visitors to explore wider roles,”

Through game-changing improvements, they experienced endless benefits. Over 18 months, the AA drastically reduced their staff turnover by 20%, increased site traffic by 60%, increased their applications by 266%, and significantly improved their onboarding process, which resulted in saving the business two million pounds a year.

“Exceptional. Craig and team have had some heroic recruitment targets to hit and achieved them,” said Simon Breakwell, CEO, The AA.

During a busy period of managing change through recruitment and retention, The AA successfully managed to deliver transformational results and achieve their set goals.

Pushing boundaries, remodelling their philosophy, and stepping into the void of the unknown was a huge step in the right direction for The AA. Through these monumental changes, they now have a brand-new streamlined team, who are focused on developing their workforce and equipping them with the right tools to be effective in the future. The AA also managed to improve efficiency and increase employee commitment.

“As well as fantastic hiring results, the team has developed innovative new approaches to attraction, including a chatbot, and ambitious, brand-led film and experiential activities. Supported by an aspirational, perception-shifting Employer Brand Proposition. These have established a brand foundation that will help the AA focus on long-term recruitment, as well as short-term gains.”

Because these big changes performed by The AA resulted in a resounding success, it could encourage them to further prioritise the needs of their workforce in the coming years.

 

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