the key group logo for their case study with SRO

Key Group was founded in 1998 as a later life lending expert, specialising in equity release. They currently employ approximately 600 people across the UK.

Smart Recruit Online started working with Key Group in November 2018, and in that time have reduced agency usage, saved hundreds of thousands in costs, and significantly improved efficiency when hiring candidates. We look back at their challenges, objectives, and outcomes in this case study.


What were the recruitment challenges you faced prior to working with Smart Recruit Online?

Before Key Group started working with Smart Recruit Online, 60% of their hires were made through agencies with only 40% employed directly. They did not have a suitable Applicant Tracking System, and their candidate engagement and experience was inconsistent. They were spending too much time on recruitment administration, and advertising spend was being syphoned from the department that was hiring, meaning there weren’t dedicated budgets for recruitment.


What were the main objectives that Key Group set out to achieve?

The objectives were:


What were Key Group’s thoughts on the consultation process with the Smart Recruit Online Team?

Daniel Grinsted, the Recruitment Manager at Key Group commented: “I discovered SRO from conversations with a local employer about how they undertook their recruitment process. We researched the market and narrowed our shortlist down to three suppliers. The ability to video interview and use SMS was an important factor in choosing the platform for candidate communication.

What I really liked was SRO offering us a 3 month trial completely free of charge. This demonstrated to me their complete confidence in their product but also in helping our business achieving our objectives.”


How was the onboarding and training process?

For the onboarding process, SRO’s Support Team had an initial screen share and training with Daniel. We then ran subsequent screen shares and training with members of Daniel’s team. Throughout the year we ran training for any new staff, and have been providing refresher training as and when required.

Daniel commented: “Completely user friendly and seamless. Support excellent from Rob and Karl. Mark, the CEO, is always on hand if required. Very easy.”


What are the outcomes achieved so far and are you happy we’ve met your objectives?

Key Group have experienced a major turnaround in their numbers. They have reduced agency usage and therefore reduced their costs by over £300k against their 2018 spend. Daniel told us: “The numbers and metric indicators don’t lie”.

Their direct hiring has increased 35% YOY to 78% vs 22% hired through agencies, and they have reduced their average cost per hire by well over £1000. Daniel mentioned that they are now “incredibly proud of our time to offer of under 19 days”.

Key Group have significantly reduced the time spent on administration, and improved their processes for shortlisting and screening of candidates. There have also been general improvements to the quantity and quality of applications received, meaning that their overall recruitment process is far more efficient.

Since using the system, better communication internally has resulted in a record number of staff referrals. Their Glassdoor company rating is at a record 4.5*, which they are confident is attributed to their improved candidate experience.


Summarise your thoughts on working with Smart Recruit Online

Daniel summarised his experience of working with Smart Recruit Online:

SRO has enhanced our service to the business and made our customers (Internal Stakeholders, Hiring Managers) and candidates more engaged with internal resourcing. Perhaps for the first time we have become business partners, being more proactive rather than always being behind the curve and reacting to hiring demands. The results and metric indicators have proven to the business it is worth investing further in our internal recruitment team. Value for money is also an important point to make – otherwise we would have never gained the buy-in from Senior Stakeholders for the recruitment budget.”


To find out how Smart Recruit Online can enhance your recruitment process, get in touch with us today. 

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