Case Study: Transport Systems Catapult
The Challenge of Rapid Growth and Niche Recruiting
The family of 10 Catapults were set up as private companies designed to be neutral, catalytic, and drive innovation in their marketplace.
Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) exists to facilitate improvement in the UK’s transport system and grow the UK’s capability to address new methods of delivering mobility solutions. The world is moving towards intelligent mobility; mobility as a service rather than separate timetables, trains, buses and airports, and TSC’s vision is to create seamless journeys where time in transit is enjoyable and worthwhile.
An interview with Mark Ruddy at Transport Systems Catapult
“The UK has great strengths in the transport market but to maintain our world position we needed to push forward with the very best skills, experience, and technology the country has to offer. As a not for profit organisation, we needed to try and attract innovative and technical candidates who had the right skills, in a short timeframe and that created some early challenges.”
TSC experienced a steep growth curve as they worked to demonstrate results to government and industry, building headcount fast to meet funded expectations. They needed intelligent people at different stages of their career that had qualifications and experience under their belt.
Under the pressures of rapid growth, recruiting non-standard people was a greater challenge than expected and as a result, without an established recruitment strategy or structure in place, the company experienced some early wastage which did not contribute to building a strong employment brand.
Building the employment brand
“We knew we needed to recruit appropriately without slowing down the recruitment process. The Catapult is a new type of organisation that is building something unique, and this means that our employees need to have the ability to cope with change and deal with a lot of uncertainty. As a result, we needed to get better at selecting the right candidates who fit our innovative culture and values.”
Provide were brought in to help us put a recruitment framework in place and improve our candidate experience. We have very niche requirements and needed Ph.D. / chartered level people with experience in industry and Applied Research. We wanted to attract people who could connect with our vision, would live our values, who were willing to learn on the job from their colleagues, and help us grow our capabilities. This had proved to be difficult initially and we needed support to improve the outcome moving forward.”
Creating new jobs in a new field meant that TSC found the job pitch difficult, as there was nothing to compare to in the market. That, coupled with juggling multiple agencies, created inconsistencies in how the company and roles were positioned.
“We needed someone who could understand our technical and business needs, and help us get the right people in fast. We were also aware that we needed to become more targeted in the initial selection as we were spending too much time sifting out the wrong potential candidates.”
A structured recruitment process
“Provide have helped us to build a rigorous, but easy-to-follow, process that our hire managers can use for hiring new talent. They rolled out and embedded the Greenhouse Software Applicant Tracking System, which has become the backbone of our recruitment process (replacing the cumbersome, paper-based system we used before). It also provides us with data on how well we are doing in the candidate pipeline. As a result, Provide has helped us improve our internal awareness of how to approach resourcing and create a structured recruitment process.”
Improving the effectiveness of job adverts
Provide worked with TSC to help them tell their story in a new way, providing guidance on how to attract top talent and convince passive candidates and top level talent to join TSC.
“Provide’s Consultant, Stuart, partnered with our hiring managers to fully understand their needs and the role requirements. Stuart rewrote our pitch to market to reflect what we did in a language that connects with our target audience, abolishing the more technically focussed adverts we had historically used. This significantly improved the effectiveness of our adverts.”
The right candidate experience for everyone
“Stuart also educated us on how to improve the candidate experience – particularly how we dealt with unsuccessful applicants, ensuring we left them with a positive feeling about our company and their candidate experience. That was a real light bulb moment.”
Developing successful recruitment campaigns
“As a result of working with Provide, we are now in a better position to recruit the talent that meets the needs of our organisation through a targeted approach. Provide have helped us improve our recruitment methodologies and processes, and our website, where they contributed to our employment brand and careers page. In addition, Provide’s coaching has helped us reduce our time to hire, and provide a positive experience for all our potential candidates.
Ultimately, working in partnership with Provide as resulted in an improved recruitment strategy that has enabled us to recruit people who excel in their roles in shorter timescales.”
Chief Operating Officer
Transport Systems Catapult