How Peloton Adapted for this New Hiring Age

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Ty Abernethy:

All right, we're gonna go ahead and get started. I have a wonderful guest with me here, Andrew Delabar.

Andrew is on the recruiting team at Peloton. Peloton has rolled out Grayscale recently, and so we've been digging in pretty deep on process.

I thought some of the stuff that Andrew's working on at Peloton would be very interesting, for those of you trying to create a succinct candidate experience to help address some of your hiring challenges.

Andrew, thank you for taking a few minutes with me today.


Andrew Delabar:

Hey, happy to be here, Ty. I appreciate the invite.


Ty Abernethy:

Awesome, I wanna orient you to some of the challenges and things that Peloton is working on at the moment. Andrew is running point on field ops recruiting at Peloton. So Andrew, orient everyone to your world.


Andrew Delabar:

For sure. I think it's probably not a secret that Peloton saw an increase in demand. A lot of people looking for an at-home fitness solution while gyms were closed throughout covid.

Our field operations teams support all of the delivery. They also encompass our assembly lines, our US manufacturing, all kinds of different 'boots on the ground' types of roles.

It has been a very interesting year for a lot of us who work in volume hiring. It's our delivery teams that really have supported the demand, really focusing on decreasing the windows of delivery that we saw that increased over the time of the pandemic, because of supply chain constraints.

Our job is now to take a lot of what we've seen, and use that analysis to predict what our headcount will look like in the future. And of course, utilizing Grayscale as a part of that growth.


Ty Abernethy:

So talking hourly workforce, Andrew, I know you've told me like thousands of people applying for your jobs.

Break it down for me, I'd love to dig into some of the challenges that have been on your radar. What were the real challenges that you were looking to address?


Andrew Delabar:

Anytime we talk about volume hiring, we don't wanna lose that personal touch, right? The idea that we can actually connect with candidates, and not just put them through some sort of automated process.

Greenhouse is of course our ATS, and sometimes Greenhouse emails get filtered out. They get sent to a spam inbox or they get sent to Gmail filters.

We had a lot of breaks in the process, a lot of candidates who were not seeing the email, or they didn't realize that they were even sent the email.

That connection, which we thought was extremely important to continue building, trying to find a way that we could be cohesive with the process all the way to the end, and circumvent those challenges we saw with emails being missed.

Like a lot of recruiters, I did not have a traditional recruiting path to get to where I was today. I do come from a hospitality background, and so a part of me was a little empathetic. I didn't even really check my email frequently, until I moved into management.

When you're in the hourly workforce, you're maybe a server or a bartender, your email is not typically the first thing that you would check. We realized that we needed a more direct connection with these candidates.

But of course we think about sharing personal phone numbers with candidates, and that was obviously something that we wanted to avoid as well. I think the big challenge was some of those breaks in the process, and connecting with candidates about, 'Hey we sent you this information and we have not heard back. We sent you an interview request and we have seen that you've not sent in any availability.'

To avoid having that in the future, we advocated for a texting tool for quite some time.

Luckily for Grayscale, we've seen a lot of the improvements in that connection, which was the biggest challenge I think that we were seeing.


Ty Abernethy:

Thanks for walking us through that, Andrew. You mentioned emails going to spam right now, I'll defend greenhouse here, that's a universal problem that we see across the board with different systems right now.

This is just a universal problem, emails are going to spam. Spam filters, especially Google, are really beefing up their algorithms, and it's causing a lot of challenges.

Thinking in terms of how the organization is going to evolve year over year, and laying the groundwork of, how do we create a succinct process?

I want to maybe drill in on that a little bit more. You've rolled out SMS to your candidates now, how are you thinking about starting to scale some of this?


Andrew Delabar:

It's definitely a conversation that I would say is still happening. As we look into the future, there's a lot of ambiguity that I think we still have to solve for.

Although we were already on a growth trajectory before the pandemic, the pandemic was definitely an accelerant for us. Now as we look into the future, I think we have a lot of data that we didn't have before, stuff that we can lean on in terms of scaling up a lot of this process.

There seems to be this conversation that's happening, a move towards automation for volume roles. Amazon hired 350,000 employees in the last a year and a half. They've consistently hired an incredible amount of people, but they also see a high turnover.

What is that reason? What's the reason for candidates going through a process, and then not wanting to stick with the company after going through an interview process like that? I think it's really that you can never really remove 'human' outta human resources.

The idea of a connection with a candidate, and being able to feel like you're actually a person who's valued as an employee, and not just a number that gets thrown into a warehouse.

Grayscale really helps support that connection, that cohesion of 'Hey, I'm a person. I work at Peloton. You're a person who wants to work here. Let's connect.' You're not just talking to a chat bot, you're not just going through this automated process that we put together.

As we scale, It's the same as any product in any kind of demand. When your demand goes up and you have a high quality product, you can't sacrifice your quality to hit your demand. It's something that you can never do as an organization.

The same stands for recruiting. You can't move away from a quality recruiting process because you have to hit higher numbers. I think that really is where grayscale is gonna come into play for us the most, which is utilizing that direct connection, having some sort of relationship-build in the initial stages of interviews.

So you feel like you're actually going through an interview process, and you're not just entering into an hourly role that you think you'll be at for a couple of months before you decide to move on.

And Peloton, beyond that, wants to support internal trajectory. We want you to have an opportunity to collaborate with other teams and work cross-functionally in situations that maybe you haven't been in before.

All of that really starts with building a connection with somebody. When you remove that direct connection, you suffer on the quality side which is something that we can't do no matter how big the scale goes.

So I think as we look into the future, we're gonna lean on some of that historical data. You have to predict for things that you've never seen.

As Peloton's product suite continues to expand, how do you prepare for headcount on a product that you've never sold before? How do you start predicting headcount down to granular details per location, per warehouse, per fulfillment center.

That's part of what I hear from other large companies, it does seem that once you're there, you're just left there to do what you can do within your role, and a lot of people feel that disconnect.

The other side is that a lot of companies over-hire, which cuts into other people's hours. That's not what somebody who's looking for a livable role is looking for.

How do we fill in those gaps of the disconnect? I think building that connection early is gonna be extremely important to scaling.


Ty Abernethy:

I think you nailed it. You can't sacrifice quality to hit demand. That really resonates with me. When companies are looking at a pretty lofty hiring goal, usually the first thing that gets sacrificed is quality.

That's why everyone gives a lot of lip service to candidate experience, it really does matter. When you are sacrificing quality, it really has a negative impact on the other side.

It's all about building connections. You do that well, and everything downstream of that improves. It turns out, if you treat people like humans, they will show up more frequently to interviews, they'll get back to you more frequently.

You treat people with respect, they will reciprocate. It's a basic, obvious thing, but when you're dealing with growth and high volume, that's one area that really breaks down.

You mentioned leveraging a chat bot. That's one way that you can go about it, there's a lot of buzz right now with AI and chatbots. Why did you not go in that direction, instead landing on a solution more like Grayscale?


Andrew Delabar:

I think overall, anytime that you think of building a process, a lot of it is trial and error. A lot of it is testing, and trying to figure out what really does work for your organization. Does it align with your values, and your moral compass as an organization?

I think the first thing that people think, especially recruiters, we are overshadowed by the number, right? We have 4,000 hires we've gotta make in the next 12 months. How are we gonna do that? People are already fearing the end of the process.

We talked about how it's important in the beginning of that process that you build that human connection. Yeah, there is opportunities to utilize bots and different technology in terms of connection. But again, what works for us today might not work for us tomorrow. What does work for us today?

Maybe that's why we haven't taken that route. Maybe we haven't chosen to take in the path of automation because right now that's not really the direction that we'd like to take.

What got us here is not gonna get us there. No matter what we build today, it's a consistent work in progress. It doesn't mean that we won't reevaluate the process in six months. I'm a huge analytics advocate, I like to lean on data.

Most of us disconnect from what it's like to be in a blue collar, physical labor position. It's a detriment to the entire experience to treat it too differently than if you were applying to a white collar position.

You should interview with a human being. You should meet with members of the team. We identify a lot of that quality in that early part of the conversation with that candidate directly, and you lose a lot of that when you start to automate.


Ty Abernethy:

Great insight. Let's get tactical, talk about some ways that you are leveraging SMS today. Have you seen any immediate impacts with texting your candidates from greenhouse?


Andrew Delabar:

Yeah, a hundred percent. We talked about challenges, one of those challenges being that emails get lost, or that the demographic we target for these roles - not frequent email checkers.

But setting up an automation within Grayscale that whenever we sent out an interview request, a text would automatically be sent that just says, 'Hey Ty, thank you for applying to the position of field specialist. We sent your interview request link. It should be in your inbox. If you don't see it, please feel free to check your spam or respond to this text.'

We saw an immediate spike in people who were able to complete the interview availability request.

But even beyond field operations, we've utilized Grayscale with another very large workforce that we have at Peloton, which is our member support team. Part of that interview process is going through an eSkills test. We would send that eSkills test out, and people wouldn't complete it.

We dove into a couple of different theories, but then realizing that it's probably just a disconnect. We weren't seeing the responses cause the candidates weren't receiving it.

Sending a quick follow up was just another way that we saw a huge spike in eSkills completion. You really wanna make sure that you draw attention to those requests, and Grayscale has allowed us to do that exponentially greater than we did before.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, that's great. You mentioned setting up some automation, I know that's one thing you guys have been working on.


Andrew Delabar:

A thousand percent, and nudges have also been huge. All of us understand that we miss texts, we miss calls, we miss emails.

Having the nudge, maybe 24 hours after this initial template is sent, just to say 'Hey, me again. Just wanted to flag that there is an email for you that's requesting your interview availability.' But definitely, those automations and nudges have been huge.

The automated process is Grayscale sending out that initial text, but that initial text is an invitation to connect with the human. The idea that you can marry those two ideas together and have the hybrid, I think is gonna be incredibly important as we scale.

In general, most companies that are gonna look into scaling by utilizing Grayscale are gonna find that those automations and those nudges are a huge part of the experience that is better for the candidate overall.


Ty Abernethy:

That's a great point. You mentioned blending the human element and automation. The right message is getting to the right person, at the right time.


Andrew Delabar:

Automation should be a tool, it shouldn't be the entire process. You could probably replace a lot of rules with robots or of automation.

In my opinion, recruiting is just not one of those that you can replace. I think that the combination of that automation and the human interaction is really where the future of it all lies.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, these simple automation rules that you can set up that then run for you in the background.

You mentioned Amazon earlier and the growth that they've been seeing. We work with their pharmacy division, and a single recruiter could typically only handle a couple hundred candidates at a time.

They were able to scale up to north of a thousand candidates per recruiter at any given time. Coming in and setting up about a dozen of these automations was a real key component to that.


Andrew Delabar:

When we think about the overall candidate experience, from the external workforce, we're not always in the best light. I think that there's a lot of fair call-outs for some recruiters.

If you're leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth about how recruiting works, and how hiring works, and how onboarding works and how the experience is overall, you've also now poisoned the well for any other candidate in that location who works in a similar capacity.

That's also an important part of this Grayscale automation and some of the SMS strategy, developing that experience so that you're not leaving candidates with a sour taste in their mouth. That's really where our team is focusing on filling those cracks.


Ty Abernethy:

I wanna ask one more question of you, for those that are thinking about rolling out SMS or starting to automate touchpoints in their process.

Talk to me about what the experience has been implementing a tool like Grayscale. How big of a lift was this, and how quickly were you able to start seeing an impact?


Andrew Delabar:

The implementation was pretty seamless. It's easy to use, the interface is very easy to see and visualize what you need. The automation setup is very easy.

When you're the first team at a company like Peloton who wants to implement a direct SMS texting tool, you need to give yourself the elbow room to find out where it works, and where it doesn't.

Part of the implementation is the trial and error, the idea that you can give yourself some room to figure out what works and figure out what doesn't.

We're still early in the Grayscale relationship. What we've seen so far is that it's very easy to use, it's very easy to implement, it's very easy to teach others once you have your own understanding. You can really teach others how to set up their own automations and nudges.

It can get very granular, which I love. I think that a lot of tools that we use can be very broad, so that the idea that Grayscale does get really intricate into reach-outs, and nudges, and automations, and when to send them, why to send them - extremely important for us.

Overall, Grayscale as a partner, definitely an easy implementation for us. Training was definitely more seamless than some of the other processes that we've had to train on.

Overall I think we're just excited to see where this partnership will take us.


Ty Abernethy:

Andrew, thanks for sharing some insight. I think it's always helpful for those that are dealing in volume. I really appreciate you taking a few minutes with us.


Andrew Delabar:

Hey, thanks again for the invite. This was a lot of fun.


Ty Abernethy:

Awesome, take care, have a good one!

Texting in SuccessFactors with Chobani

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Ty Abernethy:

I'm very excited to introduce you all to Colleen. Colleen was kind enough to join us today, she's at Chobani.

I'll briefly introduce myself, I'm the Co-Founder and CEO here at Grayscale. Grayscale is a texting platform designed for high volume hiring. We integrate into SuccessFactors to help drive a lot of efficiency in the process for enterprise organizations.

Colleen, I would love to give you the mic. Introduce everyone to you and what you do there at Chobani.


Colleen Campbell:

Sure, hi everyone! Ty says I was nice to do this, he earned the ability for me to have this conversation. We have high expectations here.

My role at Chobani is really our People Systems. So, we are an SAP shop. We have all modules of SuccessFactors.

We did not have the capabilities to text with our candidates, and really found that as a need. We talked with SAP in order to find a partner that was SAP SuccessFactors integration compatible, and we talked to three other organizations that didn't even come close to meeting the requirements, including being able to have a conversation.

Then we were introduced to Grayscale. We've been on Grayscale for six weeks, and can't say enough great things. So we'll talk about why we think that, and we've got some numbers and some things like that.


Ty Abernethy:

I have to give a quick fun fact about Colleen. The first time I jumped on a call with Colleen, she casually mentioned her dairy farm that she was working from.

Colleen actually lives on a dairy farm and happens to work at Chobani. You can't have a much of a better fit than that.


Colleen Campbell:

Third generation, we're very lucky.


Ty Abernethy:

That's awesome. With that in mind, we'll dive in here and get started. Colleen, I know it's early days for you implementing SMS, but I'd love to get your perspective here.

We see across our customer base, early on in adopting SMS, a huge uptick in open rate.

You see a huge lift in the number of messages that are being opened. Reply rates a nice jump as well, over 50% across our customer base. And then our average response time is about six minutes.

Colleen, I know you're early on in the journey. What have you been feeling on your end, starting to adopt SMS in the process?


Colleen Campbell:

So ours are higher than this, we're about 62% to the first reply, and they're within 10 minutes. Our numbers, they've been completely consistent across the board.

And we're a competitive group, so now they're starting to compete to see whose numbers can be better than the next ones. So that's been fun to watch too.


Ty Abernethy:

Colleen, I'd love to start getting in to the workflow there at Chobani, and some ways you're leveraging SMS.

How are you starting to weave in SMS, what are you using SMS for, versus email, versus phone?


Colleen Campbell:

As an organization that's focused on innovation, many of you are familiar with our food innovation, we were way behind on our talent acquisition innovation. We did a bunch of things internally to attract and retain, but we still weren't seeing the metrics to support that application to hire timeline.

Had some conversations, realized that being able to text with candidates would be the next phase, started talking. Our implementation from start to finish technically was just three days.

We have a very robust Chobani quality IT compliance, so we had to go through a whole lot of testing, et cetera, which it sailed through of course.

We were really able to start texting candidates within four weeks, which compared to any other implementation seems way, way too easy, but we've had zero snags.

We were able to quickly upload our templates. When you apply, you get an automatic template of, 'Thanks for applying, Therese is gonna be in touch soon.'

All of our recruiters can do this, so it doesn't take an admin to do that work. Once they got those going, it was truly incredible how quickly people were responding, and we were able to get them in the door.

We went from hiring 4-5 people, to 30 in two weeks.

Now we're thinking through next steps on increasing even more of the employee experience. What's a better experience for us? We're a very brand-driven company, and just to be able to send a video from your hiring manager that says, 'Can't wait to see you in person!' Those kinds of things.

So the team is very energized, is probably the way I would put it. I don't know what recruiters are like in your other companies, but man, they have pretty hard jobs right now. And for them to be smiling, and high fiving, and sending snippets of stories, and giving feedback is just incredible.

This new energy around what else can we do to represent the company, and keep the candidate engaged through the whole process is pretty incredible to watch.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah it's definitely worth calling out that anyone dealing with volume hiring or hourly hiring is definitely doing the hard work.

Colleen, if I recall correctly, you had told your IT contact that you were just waiting for something to go catastrophically wrong, which I thought was funny and very honest.


Colleen Campbell:

Our CIO had a very strong stance that this needed to be a standard SAP integration, because SuccessFactors can be a little finicky. He was pretty clear, and Grayscale knocked it outta the park, and it continues to work.


Ty Abernethy:

Thank goodness for both of us, it'd be an awkward call if that wasn't the case.

I wanna get into what the day-to-day is looking like on the ground for your team right now.

Talk to me about how you're thinking about SMS as a channel, and some examples of how it's being used on the ground there.


Colleen Campbell:

It's still early, a lot of it is still the one-on-one. There's some templates going out as soon as you apply, then the recruiters are individually getting to the candidates, et cetera.

The nudge seems to be a bit of a magic sauce. If a candidate is coming in for an interview, you can set up a nudge to just send 'em a quick text to say 'Looking forward to seeing you at the interview tomorrow!'

The other thing that was an unintended positive, we do a lot of internal movement, and I would say 80% of them, we had to torture to get them to sign their internal offer letter.

Now we can nudge them to say, 'Please go to your Chobani email, cause that's where your offer letter is at this time.'

It's changed the game, that nudge internally was an unexpected big plus.

We're actually just starting next week to have our onboarding team use the text capabilities for the onboarding piece.

So we're really excited about the ability to work with people via text on the onboarding part of the process as well.


Ty Abernethy:

Awesome. You touched on a few different things what are the most common use cases for nudges you're using today? And how are you thinking about using this moving forward?


Colleen Campbell:

Here in the us there's some competition, and we knew we were losing people in between applying and us getting in contact.

So we have it set up that there's an immediate first contact, and then there's a personal piece in there. If they don't hear from them within 24 hours, then you know, 'Hey, did just making sure you got my text. I'm ready to chat whenever you are.' So it's a conversation, and feels very personal.


Ty Abernethy:

That makes total sense. Yeah, sounds like a good bit of one-to-one communication is happening.

You also have bulk messaging capabilities as well, which will allow you to come in and message groups of candidates at a time, either from pools or lists of candidates. I can come in and message everyone that's assigned to my underwater basket weaver position here.

I want to better understand how you're thinking about using campaign functionality, and your team's day-to-day.


Colleen Campbell:

A certain population is going to react better to getting a text than seeing an email. We think this is gonna be a bit of a deal changer.

We have a couple strategic college intern roles that we are going to be targeting in particular areas. We're actually working with the colleges to upload some phone numbers, with all the right associations of approvals, and be able to text out 'Come see Danielle, she's gonna be in the student union at one o'clock. We know you're in engineering and we can't wait to hear what your thoughts might be about coming to work for Chobani.'

So things of that nature. So again, nothing we could have ever done before and we're happy to have the partnership with the colleges, but trying to really think innovative about getting to people we wouldn't normally be able to get.


Ty Abernethy:

That makes total sense. I wanna spend a few moments on some automated touch points. I'm curious what you've implemented as it pertains to automated touch points.


Colleen Campbell:

Again, we're early days. Your team's been great about making sure we're thinking about using all the functionality. One of the automations that we have in place is post-interview. At that point, we are able to send them a 'Thanks for coming in!'

They're working on a video, we like videos here of the leadership of our organization appreciating you coming in, whether you get the job or not.

Because we do not hire everyone, and so making sure that as they go out the door, they're open to coming back in for something else.

So that's one automation. Going back to contact our previous applicants. And encourage them via Grayscale to apply for newly open positions.


Ty Abernethy:

Interesting, do you have emails going out to candidates at any stage in the process?


Colleen Campbell:

Currently, through SAP, we still have to use email. Offer letters and drug screenings and things of that nature, background screenings. But we're using the opportunity to nudge, to say, 'Please look at your email.'


Ty Abernethy:

I get this feedback from certain individuals thinking about communication strategy, and what's the right way to level-up as far as engaging with candidates.

Obviously SMS comes up in the discussion, but there's oftentimes some challenges as far as reconciling 'Well, we have an email that goes out for these things. We don't wanna bug the candidate too much with sending a text as well.'

I think the best approach to recruiting is an omnichannel approach, and yeah, get those emails going out through SAP, but also get a text going out. Get a conversation going, because you wanna surface things like 'Oh, I didn't get the offer letter', or questions that come up. Even just a reminder can work magic even if they did see the email.

It sounds like you're of a similar persuasion that hitting them on multiple channels is a good thing. How do we reconcile these different channels? Any thoughts you'd add there?


Colleen Campbell:

We haven't had any complaints. Hundreds and hundreds of messages have gone out. If we can move away from the bulk of email, especially for hourly, it does feel like we're hitting people in a different manner than we were able to before.

And it's giving us these positive results. So we'll continue to monitor that. The world is moving, and so we're gonna try to keep moving along with it.


Ty Abernethy:

You look at the world of marketing technology today, and it's all about leveraging different channels to engage. That is the direction the world's moving.

It's taking an omni-channel approach, you're not doing away with email, you're not doing away with phone, you're using them all appropriately.

In many cases, if you're dealing with an hourly population, you're using SMS to drive the process forward, and then supplementing with these other things. It's interesting hearing how you've navigated that.

But what Colleen was referring to is just the ability to come in and and set up automated messages that go out based on certain events that happen inside of SuccessFactors.

Things like that also help build rapport. It turns out building a relationship with candidates actually pays off. It improves the candidate experience, and people wanna work for brands that they have a good experience with during the hiring process.

Colleen, what interesting insights have jumped out to you early on, and how have you been thinking about leveraging reporting?


Colleen Campbell:

If you use SuccessFactors, reporting is not easy in that system. So we've actually been able to use some of this in conjunction with the recruiting reporting to understand where the engagement of the particular user is not where it needs to be.

Then we can start asking questions, is there something different we need to do? Is it training? Is there actually not a use case for the particular group that they're working with?

We've only been on it for a short time, but the people that are using it have hundreds of texts going out every day, and we can see the results.

We think that there's also some interesting data in that we will be doing in two weeks. We're actually gonna do a survey to our candidates.

We're gonna ask their impression of getting a text, versus not, and did that influence them in any way to engage quicker, faster, or at all with Chobani, versus another organization?

I just appreciate simple data that's important for decision making.


Ty Abernethy:

I imagine coming in and saying, all right, let's look over the last month of data and drill down by team performance. Let's look at response rates. Who's having trouble from a response rate standpoint?

What are response times looking like? And filtering that to see who's doing the best, and who's trailing. Who's been sending messages, who hasn't?

What are the insights? What can we be gleaning from the best recruiters? We always see this, you're gonna have some that just stand out.

What can we learn to apply to our broader team to start see these metrics, especially from the bottom, start to uptick over time?


Colleen Campbell:

I think it's important, we have a best practice call every couple weeks. Compliments and concerns, things that are working great, things that aren't working the way we hoped. And usually it's just that we didn't know how to use it. That's what it's turned out to be, I think, in all the cases.


Ty Abernethy:

That's great. While we're talking data, I'm curious, are you seeing early signs as far as how time to fill is being impacted by leveraging SMS as a channel?


Colleen Campbell:

It's creating a problem because now we need to shorten up our first day orientation, timing, our training assignments. We have people ready, and so how do we do that every week?

So a great problem, we'll take it all day long, but one that frankly hit us in the face.


Ty Abernethy:

You've gotta have those classes ready to go a week early, which creates a new problem. That two week cadence that we had is no longer tight enough to be able to accommodate.


Colleen Campbell:

It's a little embarrassing, but we are lucky that we can really attribute them to Grayscale. We had an archaic 17 page application up until last week. So there's five weeks where we were still using this long application that had a 40% dropout rate.

We changed it to 12 questions now. We're already seeing a better pipeline, and a quicker timeline as people apply.

So it's an interesting combination. It's a multi-prong approach, as many companies are doing to get people in the door, and then to get them hired faster.


Ty Abernethy:

Alright, we've got a question from from Justin here. How have you tackled avoiding duplicate communication when using Grayscale?


Colleen Campbell:

Justin, I saw a really interesting car late at night and clicked 'I'm interested' The next day I had four emails from four different people from the dealership, and one text.

It was interesting cause it was similar to what you're talking about here. Don't ever do that is my advice. Knowing that the hourly population are not looking at their emails as often, we have turned off some of our regular interactions and are doing that via text.

There are certain things that are crucial, and we would do both. Your offer letter goes out via email. You're gonna get a notification that you've got the email, and you're gonna get a text that says your offer letter is waiting in your email.

Then there'll be a nudge set up. If you haven't signed your offer letter in 24 hours, you're gonna get the nudge via text. So there's a bit of a combination and that's working for us, but we'll have to continually keep looking at it.

There's a lot of flexibility within Grayscale things that we struggle with from an email perspective. We wanna show videos, we wanna give an update on some of our community events.

There's some really cool things that we can do very easily via Grayscale that is not quite as easy on the recruiting side in SuccessFactors.


Ty Abernethy:

We've got a couple of questions rolling in. One was from Julie, the question was about pros and cons of using Grayscale for texting inside of SuccessFactors, versus other platforms.


Colleen Campbell:

We wanted everything to be inside of SuccessFactors. Other pieces that we looked at, you would be coming back and forth. We were looking at that standard integration from employee and candidate data, which is critical in our IT architecture.

And then the everything being in one place. How simple can we make this? Cause we make everything else complicated, so let's at least try to do this. And that's where we landed.


Ty Abernethy:

Every solution you mentioned have their place. One of the problems of using a platform like Sinch was just around the one-way nature.

Versus Grayscale, everything we're talking about is through the lens of a conversational approach to recruiting.

Yes, you can use grayscale for notifications, but it's that conversation that you want to facilitate throughout the process, even when in some cases it's automated.

You still wanna have that conversational approach. That's just kinda how we see the world, it's more about creating a human experience for your candidates.

Colleen, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. It's been great learning from you.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to us either in the marketplace in SAP or via our website,

Bringing Respect to the Frontline with GardaWorld

Bringing Respect to the Frontline with GardaWorld

Listen to it Podcast Style:



Ty Abernethy:

Hello everyone, thanks for joining us. My name is Ty Abernethy, I'm the Co-Founder and CEO of Grayscale. Grayscale is a texting and automation platform designed for high volume hiring. We work with brands like GardaWorld to help them create a really high touch, human experience that scales.

We're sitting down with Scott Foster, Director of TA at GardaWorld, to talk about how they're leveraging data and automation to drive high volume hiring. Scott, tell the world a little about yourself.


Scott Foster:

Hey everybody, I'm Scott Foster. Actually, I just became the Vice President of Talent Acquisition for all of GardaWorld in the United States.


Ty Abernethy:

The slide is already outdated!


Scott Foster:

I know, I'm a mover and a shaker.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, we appreciate it. I know we've had a few conversations recently, Scott, just explaining the journey that you all have been on, and the level of growth you've seen, it's a bit bananas.


Scott Foster:

We're in the middle of our single largest transition in company history, which is about 3,000 - 4,000 people in under 60 days.

The volume with which we have to hire, just to keep up with an explosion of growth, we're going a little bonkers every day.


Ty Abernethy:

Never a dull moment over there at GardaWorld. Y'all are certainly in the middle of a pretty amazing story.

Why don't we drill in for a minute, I wanna give the audience the perspective on the highest volume areas that you're recruiting for. What type of roles make up the most of those vacancies?


Scott Foster:

Yeah, over 99% of all of our roles are your security officer or security guard, and you're talking between $15 and $18 an hour.

We like to offer a different perspective for the hourly worker than food services and retail. That's a lot of my competition on any given day, just the hourly space.

I've got some pretty unique perspectives on the hourly worker. I'd like to think of myself as an advocate for the hourly worker, which today makes up a little over 38 million Americans.


Ty Abernethy:

When we were chatting before we hit record, you had mentioned how oftentimes that dignity and respect is lost in what is oftentimes an extremely transactional process.

How do you think about maintaining that dignity and respect for the hourly worker, knowing that you have so many of these roles to fill?

What are you doing to combat that?


Scott Foster:

I think first and foremost, our DNA is focused on the unique individual. The hourly worker oftentimes is still treated like a commodity, not just when they're a candidate, but in a lot of cases when they're the employee.

I believe wholeheartedly that our DNA is focused on the unique individual of worth, rather than the hourly worker being treated like a number. There's a lot of recruitment processes out there that don't take the time to add a red carpet, white glove process to the hourly worker.

I do firmly believe that the organization that adds that level of dignity and respect in their recruiting process is the one that's gonna win.

That's what we do here, the experience where a candidate does not feel like a number. And we have stumbled, but we have stumbled forward.

In the last couple years, we've allowed candidates that don't get hired to review us. We want to know what their experience was like.

If we're gonna add that level of dignity and respect, one of the best ways to do that is sitting across the table eye to eye.
But how do I utilize technology to make sure that my recruiters have time with everyone that we end up talking to?

I hired 22,452 people last year, I had over 400,000 applicants last year alone.

How do I create bandwidth, so that we're listening to the candidate, we're finding out what did they not have in their last role that they're looking for now? Taking the time to be able to explain what a career path looks like in security. Cause there's not just security professionals coming to us, but a large number of people that don't want to work in their current profession and are looking for something new.
People are looking for new skills. They want to know, 'What do the next three to five years look like?'

We need to take the time to do that. Rather than taking three or five minutes just asking 'What shift do you wanna work?' and 'What hourly rate?' We wanna know about the individual. And that takes a person, but that also takes technology to create that time to make that connection.

That's the most important thing for us, how does this team replicate doing this 50,000 times? We have to do that consistently to add that personal touch every single time.

So, that's what we look at.


Ty Abernethy:

Let's drill into that a little bit, cause I think you're touching on some really interesting topics. I imagine you probably have a philosophical opinion on some of this, and I wanna tease it out a little bit.

You mentioned the importance of the team, you mentioned the importance of technology and automation.

For you, how do you reconcile those two things - what's the right level of human to automation? Talk to me about your philosophy around the right blend of those things.


Scott Foster:

I'll be honest, right now we try things, and we see what sticks.

Data also drives a lot of that decision making. You gotta let data tell you what you need to do, and I need my recruiters to tell me what they need, good, more, better, different.

Probably no shock to anyone, five years ago the primary communication method to anyone was via email, and then it was maybe a phone call.

And what we know today is that by utilizing texting or SMS, we're better able to meet candidates where they're at. We know that with the amount of individuals completing applications in a mobile environment, that people want to be communicated in two-way fashion via their mobile device. They get to messages quicker. They see that a text message is coming from Scott Foster about their recent application.

We utilize that type of technology to not only notify someone once they've applied for a position, but also reminders.

Also, we use it to cheer on our candidates. Imagine you're a candidate, and you get a text message from a recruiter on the day that you're going for your in-person interview, or you're going to go actually meet the hiring manager, and you get a text message that doesn't say anything else other than ' Good luck today!'

It's the ability to do that, that is incredibly helpful for us. We utilize a very large enterprise ATS, and when an individual moves to the next step, how do I automate that communication to that candidate, so that a recruiter isn't having to go to a separate system, or go to Outlook, and then go here and here. So that's something about committing to the recruiters, one-stop shopping within our current ATS, or within a certain space.

We're still on that journey to be honest, but we're a heck of a lot better than where we were.

Massive hiring events and boomerang programs, what a great way to just take individuals that stopped in the process. And utilizing mass communication via text and saying, 'Hey, look, we've got an open hiring event tomorrow.' or 'We're doing a resume writing workshop, come on in and talk to us.'

It's a great way to meet people where they're at. And so that's some of the ways that we've utilized that form of technology.

I take a look at my dashboards, where every day I can see where am I struggling for candidate volume? What do I need to do good, more, better, different?

That type of technology and data information that I have at my fingertips every day makes me a better leader.

We have to have a long-range plan. I gotta look now, cause what I need today is gonna change in two to three days, especially in the hourly space.

How do I utilize those tools, and have those tools in my toolkit for my recruiters every single day, so that they can best meet the needs of the business, and best meet the needs for our candidates.


Ty Abernethy:

It sounds like you're approaching technology as a wrapper around your team to really help them be more effective at creating a great candidate experience throughout the process.


Scott Foster:

It's an enhancement, not a replacement. Getting back to personal philosophy, again, the hourly worker oftentimes is treated like a commodity. How many times are we shaking the hands or giving an elbow bump to the hourly worker? How many times are we getting a chance to sit down?

There's an old school terminology called the realistic job preview. How does a candidate know what it means to work third shift at a truck gate, at a very large distribution facility? How do I give them that?

When I first started my career, we used to invite candidates to go to the site. We still do that now, but how do I automate that for recruiters? How do I make sure that there's maybe a video clip of what it looks like to be at that specific job - what does it mean to be a security officer every day?

What does it mean to be successful in the position that they have applied to? Not just where I want them to go to, but where does the candidate want to go to?

What is the hourly expectation, salary expectation that they're looking for? What shift are they looking for? Some individuals may be applying for a third shift, but we actually believe that based on their ability to engage with people, maybe they're much better working in a concierge-type security position in a residential or a commercial high-rise.

That conversation is something that has to happen in some in-person way. We utilize technology to create that time for us to do that. And what does that impact?

That impacts your hiring ratios, your time-to-fill, that impacts your regrettable loss of individuals in the first 90 days that sign, and then they resign.

What about overall attrition? The security space is known for high turnover. Historically, we are significantly lower than industry average. I believe that's about the time that we spend with our candidates as we're transitioning them from candidate to employee. So that journey of the guard is incredibly important for us.


Ty Abernethy:

Fascinating - you touched on a lot of things. I was gonna ask you about video. Sounds like video is something that helps make this a little bit more scalable.

Your team is leveraging SMS throughout the process, that's the primary way you're engaging. You're automating touch points throughout the process to create a consistent candidate journey, then leaving a video to scale up the transparency for the candidate, and really make the whole thing hum.

You started touching on data there toward the end, I wanna drill in on data with you, cause I know this doesn't work unless you're able to start tracking the results.

There's almost like a direct correlation where the larger the organization, the harder it is to really nail down your data and have meaningful insights.

What kind of role does data play in fine-tuning the process? What are you tracking, how are you tracking it? What are what are you thinking about tracking?

Just get us in that world for a second.


Scott Foster:

Fortunately enough for me, I had some wonderful coaches throughout my career that taught me that data is one of those things that takes the emotion out of decision. Data don't lie.

Now, it's gotta be relatively good data. There's no such thing as perfect, but it's gotta be in the right ballpark to be able to make the decisions.

I'm a work backwards kinda guy. What's our growth trajectory? What's our growth targets for each of our markets?

We do this individually by branch, because every one of our branches has their own uniqueness. The strategy that I need in Oklahoma City and Tulsa is drastically different than what I need in Houston and Dallas. It's drastically different than what I need in Washington, DC and in Maryland.

I let strategy wait till after I know what it is that I need. If I know what my growth trajectory is, I know what my current turnover rate is for that market, without improvement, what am I going to need to be able to get that done?

If a certain branch needs, let's say a hundred people, and our average application to hire ratio is 12:1, I know I need 1200 applications. If I need 1,200 applications, then what are my sourcing techniques that I'm gonna need to generate 1,200?

From that perspective, that allows me to figure out cost per application, so that's one way that I look at that type of data.

The other information that I look at is conversion rate. Just because I get an applicant, doesn't mean that they're gonna make it all the way through. So what is my candidate loss through the process?

I can then plan for the entire year based on that information. I know exactly how many candidates I'm gonna need to be able to schedule, then my recruiters know how many phone screens they're going to need to do. And if I know how many phone screens I'm gonna need, how many candidates do we need to review?

And then back into the number of applications that I need.

When it comes down to onboarding, again, what is my conversion rate of individuals that we say yes to that also says yes to us, that make it all the way through our onboarding process.

We have a lot of licensure requirements that differ by state. My Canadian counterparts, they have a single unified license for all of Canada. In the United States, every state could be different as far as their licensing requirements.

Today, with the number of individuals that are entering into the security industry, the conversion rate can be lower in this space.

How do we look at the number of individuals that make it to onboarding? How many individuals that make it all the way through onboarding and then get their license make it to post?

It allows us to be more predictive, and predictive workforce analytics is the world that I live in every day.

Then it's all about hard wiring. We can forecast, but also can pivot when we have a rapid growth framework.

When a manager says, 'We just took on a brand new client' and I know historically I need to make 100 hires this year, but we took on a new client, I actually need to do 200. I can then go back to 'em and say, 'Look, this is what it's gonna cost us to be able to get it. This is what your average cost per hire is gonna look like. Do we have the approved budget to be able to make this happen?'

What do I need to beef up in my organic space? What do we need to do to help impact the conversion rate? One of the pieces that Grayscale has helped us out with is utilizing text message to help individuals as they're going through the onboarding process.

Congratulating someone when they've gotten through the first part of onboarding, 'These are the steps that you still need to complete. If you complete this by the end of the afternoon, you're 90% there, and you're one day closer to being able to start earning.' and those kinds of things.

Those are the things that we do to impact those conversion rates. That's why data is so important, cause every branch has their bottlenecks. Every branch has their own nuances. I have smaller branches that maybe only have two or three people.

How do we think differently and work differently for them? And that data helps us pull back that information for us.


Ty Abernethy:

I'm curious, what are you trying to move the needle on the most? Which metrics are most important for you now? And then what are you doing to influence those?


Scott Foster:

I'll give you my true north. My true north is improving speed to post. Speed to post for us is different than most individual's concept of time to fill. Usually the clock stops when someone accepts the offer.

For us, we measure speed to post or, and as one of my HR counterparts called it speed to paycheck.

We look at speed to post from the moment someone applies, to the time that they're actually standing a post for one of our clients, protecting people, assets and property.

Two years ago, we were at about 22 days on average. When we put a focus on speed to post, we went from 22 days down to 17, just this last year. Our goal this year is to get that down to 14. And how do we do that? Communicating to candidates ahead of time.

If we're scheduling you for an interview, we wanna capitalize on the time that you're there. Act as if you're gonna get a same day offer.

If we say yes, we're gonna wanna sit down with you for an extra 30 to 45 minutes, launch your background check and get you through onboarding. We wanna get your uniform sizing while you're here.

Again, adding dignity and respect to that hourly individual and not make them come back, go here, go there, go do this and go do that.

We wanna be that one-stop shop when we've got that captive audience while they're physically here. So that's true North number one.

True North number two is reducing the amount of individuals that we lose in the first 90 days. Regrettable loss for us has been relatively flat over the course of the last three to four years.

In the hourly space, especially in the security industry, we lose roughly 40% in the first 90 days. How do we change that and get it down to 30%? I believe that it is all about the time and red carpet we roll out to every candidate.

If they say, 'That's not for me. I don't wanna walk five miles a day' because it's a walking patrol shift, let's talk about what we do have that meets your needs. So regrettable loss reduction is absolutely true north number two.

True north number three for me is reduction of overall attrition. Better engagement with frontline supervisors, making sure that we are following up with candidates in the first 90 days, making a phone call to individuals on their very first day, doing a site visit at the end of their first week.

Follow up on 30-day calls, 60-day and 90-day talent touchpoint to make sure that everyone has what they need to be successful, and they feel like they're a part of the team.

Over 50% of our officers have been with us for longer than a year, over 33,000 - 34,000 years of experience in the security space, that are a part of GardaWorld Security Services in the United States.

For a candidate and for a new employee, what is the path to being a site supervisor? What's the path to being an account manager or a project manager? What's my earning potential look like? What does it mean to be a director, or a general manager?

That's what we're focusing on, and those are my three areas of true North this year.


Ty Abernethy:

To the last piece, are you seeing part of TA's role needs to be about, not just filling this role, but also painting a picture of what's possible at GardaWorld?

Here are career paths, here's where your career could evolve. Oftentimes the hourly worker is a cog that's meant to fill a hole, right? Getting outta that mindset, 'No, this is a career. This is the vocation, and you can start here. These are the skills you can develop, and this is where you can end up.'

Scott Foster: If I can find a way to reduce the amount of times that I have to go outside the organization to look for a key leadership role, and I'm able to build that from within, the buy-in to the organization, our mission, our values, our culture is already there.

Every one of our security officers gets this little tri-fold card and it's got our mission and our values right at the forefront. If people know what to expect, this can then become a destination employer for anyone in the security industry, and that's a true goal for me, so people don't feel that they have to go outside the organization to find something good, more, better, different.


Ty Abernethy:

Scott, what you're doing, what you've built at GardaWorld is extremely impressive. I love how you're maintaining that human element. You're putting your team first, your team's putting the candidate first.

You're taking out the transactional element of hourly hiring, and really putting the human at the forefront.

Scott, as always, thank you so much. It's been an education, and everyone enjoy the rest of your day.


Scott Foster:

Have a good day, everybody!

Honing a Talent Experience with Dick's Sporting Goods

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Ty Abernethy:

Hello, and welcome! Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm excited to present our guest, Rick Jordan, from Dick's Sporting Goods. Rick, say hello.


Rick Jordan:

Hey Ty, thanks for having me. Thanks everyone, pleasure to be here.


Ty Abernethy:

Rick is the Senior Director of TA at Dick's Sporting Goods. We have a lot to dig in on. I'm really excited about spending some time with you, Rick.

Real quick, I'm Ty Abernethy, Co-Founder & CEO of Grayscale. Grayscale is a texting and automation platform designed for high volume hiring.

But today we are here to talk all things Dick's Sporting Goods. There's a lot to dig in on, so I'm excited to jump right in here. Rick, why don't we start off with talking through your process. I know you're no stranger to the problem of candidate ghosting.

I think ghosting is sort of impacting all of us universally right now, dealing in low volume and high volume and retail and healthcare. It's a universal problem that we are all grappling with and trying to solve in unique and creative ways.

I'd love to hear what candidate ghosting looks like there at Dick's, and things you're thinking about, things you're implementing. Talk to me about candidate ghosting for a sec.


Rick Jordan:

When you think about candidate ghosting, it's the market versus how engaging your process is, or how engaging your experience is.

And right now we are all competing for talent. When I think about someone ghosting us, I have to imagine they've found it easier to do business, and when I say do business, meaning opt in to be selected at another organization.

And I think the more engaging, the more streamlined your selection process is, I think that's when you're gonna see less ghosting. I think about when I drive down the street and the amount of signs that say 'now hiring'. And if I am someone looking for an opportunity, what's gonna be the easiest one for me to say, 'Hey, I'd like to work for you.'

And then I think they follow through. And if you're gonna start putting candidates through a really extensive process right now, I think your ghosting definitely goes up.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah. I read a report recently that highlighted three causes of ghosting and the first was speed, right?

You're not moving fast enough to get candidates through your process. The second was experience. So they're not having a good experience in your process, or there's too much friction in your process that is creating a bad experience to the candidate. And the third was compensation.

Those three things all play a component of it. But I think the two that you have the biggest influence on oftentimes are the experience, right? Back to that candidate engagement - just creating a great candidate journey.

And then two, just making sure you're moving as fast as you can possibly move to get candidates through your process. Because typically it's the first offer that wins, especially in retail. If you're not first, forget about it. Thinking about for you, those first two pillars of speed and candidate experience, talk to me. I'd love to unpack some things you're thinking about or implemented in either of those categories.


Rick Jordan:

Yeah, around speed, we actually did some work. We benchmarked how long it takes someone, and the complexity of it, to put their name in the hat - to go through the application process.

We went through over 25 companies and we went and applied to see what it's like for them. We timed it, we talked about the complexity of how much information I have to share, and then we said, 'how do we rank against that'? We thought about it as when you're online shopping and you get to the checkout and I can pay with Apple Pay, my shipping address is already populated, my information is there, it's really easy for me to buy.

But when I get to that shopping cart, and I gotta type in my credit card, and my information wasn't pulled, I don't have time for this. And you abort the sale.

I think the same thing about an employee application. That's been our first focus. How many folks do these people really need to meet with as they go through our process?

What's absolutely necessary? And then the mechanics behind that, how can we automate so that it's done efficiently and fast? Let's automate and just continue the momentum that we created from a fast application process.


Ty Abernethy:

That's so interesting. You identified 25 companies worth emulating, you audited their candidate experience, what that journey looked like, you timed it, and then you scored your process against theirs to see how you stacked up.


Rick Jordan:

Yeah, and we're not perfect by any means, but we already have pulled two pieces out of our application process.

We've got feelings that they weren't adding a lot of value, and we saw at every step, what is our drop off looking like? And we were able to already eliminate two pieces of that process, and we're just continuing to refine. What do you need to know upfront, versus what can I learn when I meet you in person? What can I fill in when I've been given the offer? So really looking at it all throughout that candidate journey.

And so it used to be where you could really demand a lot upfront and you could demand to spend, goodness, 45 minutes to an hour on an application. So it makes it easier for us, the talent acquisition people. That is flipped, it has to be what is easiest for the candidate. If you're not approaching it that way, you're gonna lose talent, and you're for sure gonna see more people ghosting you.


Ty Abernethy:

How do you think about automation and its role in helping underpin candidate experience and speed in the process?


Rick Jordan:

I keep tying a lot of this back to consumer experience, and the work we're doing around athlete centricity in our stores.

So even when people shop with dick's, we want it to be really simple and easy. But when there's moments where I want to talk to someone about the technical aspect of this product, or I want to try on a garment and run on a treadmill in your store to see how it fits and moves, I wanna have as much time as I want during those experiences.

If it's scheduling that golf fitting, I want that to be super simple. So think about that in the application and the candidate selection process. We believe people are the core of our business, between the athletes in our stores, the folks in our community, and our teammates. That's core, and our goal is to build really solid relationships with all of these different groups.

You can't build relationships through an automated piece of technology. However, I can automate how we find time to connect. I can automate how I remind you when we're connecting. I can automate when it's time for you to sign on the dotted line. But we're gonna protect the time that we use between us and the candidate to start to build and cultivate that relationship.

We don't ever want it to become this transactional experience.


Ty Abernethy:

So finding that blend where the human element is really woven throughout, and then you're leveraging automation to really help enhance what your recruiting team is capable of doing.

It's those things like scheduling and the touch points throughout the process that need to happen that are always gonna be the same.


Rick Jordan:

A hundred percent. I was thinking about this a little bit recently because through our benchmarking, we're seeing some organizations go to where you actually never talk to a human live until someone is calling you and saying, 'Okay, when can you start? We want to make you an offer'. I think there could be a place for that, I'm just not there yet. I think that's far.

I just think that's a place that we're not ready to go to because of the lack of the relationship component there. If you've met a hiring manager, you've come in, you've had a good experience, you've connected, I think it's gonna be harder for you to take a counter offer.

I think it's gonna be harder for you to decide, 'Ah, maybe I'll go somewhere else'. But if it's been completely transactional, it's really easy to abort the transaction and not show up on day one. Because you have no connection to these people behind this business. You've just been put through a robot experience.

That's not somewhere we're willing to go. We wanna build those relationships and make those connections because we hope that this is a long-term relationship with us.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, Totally. That's a great way of thinking about it. It's almost like the secret sauce is having that human element in the process. Even though you could move a little bit faster if everything was soup-to-nuts automated, keeping that human element throughout is critical to foster a relationship.

And you're less likely to ghost if you've built good rapport with the recruiter or had a good experience with the brand. All these little things really add up. And in the world that we're in I think there's been a lot of hype with AI, and maybe there's a place for that.

But are you automating out the human element? And if you're faking the human element, that almost can be worse sometimes. People crave meaningful connections, and it sounds silly to think about that in the context of an interview process, especially for volume hiring, but it's so true.

I think it's more important now than it's ever been, right?


Rick Jordan:

Yeah, it's all about this balance, right? I 100% am gonna lean into automation. That allows more time for our team to focus and plan on those in-person conversations. It allows it to happen a lot faster.

Then when we get to you, we have a meaningful time. Then perhaps there's an automated thank you with some next steps. Perhaps once I send you to a step it triggers and tells you, 'Hey, some good news is coming, can't wait to talk to you'.

There are gaps where that automation will help, but it will still feel somewhat personalized, and it'll still feel like I'm not just connecting with a robot on the other end of this.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, that makes total sense. You mentioned SMS as a channel, I wanna drill in on that. How do you think about leveraging SMS vs Email? What does the role of SMS have, and how are you thinking about scaling it across the team?


Rick Jordan:

We're definitely leaning into it. It's not something that we've done a ton with. And then I started hearing from my recruiters that they're all texting via their corporate cell phones, and they're hearing responses back faster and it's driving more engagement. And that's fantastic, but that's not a great use of your time in the way that we're doing that.

A hundred percent leaning into texting someone to get them scheduled, or texting them to say, 'Hey I've got good news'. Text them saying, 'I got your application, I'd love to talk to you'. Or even, 'Hey I see you've applied to this, but I have something else'. And we're seeing the faster response, we are seeing less candidates drop out of the process.

I do think we're moving in a space where calling someone is maybe a little too much for some people right off the bat. But they feel much more comfortable responding on their time, and be able to backspace, edit, whatever they want to do in that text message, versus that live conversation.

The audacity to call me first, or even the audacity to try to FaceTime me. Are you kidding - no way.


Ty Abernethy:

You're probably gonna have a few different camps. I remember a decade ago doing recruiting myself and you pick up the phone and call, that's like what you do. And then to think about how things have come so full circle that now the phone is seen as more invasive.


Rick Jordan:

If I get a call and I don't have the number in my phone, I normally don't answer it. And then I feel like so many of my team members are spending time calling, leaving voicemails, it's like this back and forth.

Now having said all of that, It's multi-pronged. We will still email, we will text, and we'll still pick up the phone and call. Use all your tools, and know when to use them.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, totally. I think an omnichannel approach right now is what is going to win. But yeah I wanna keep moving.

I know a big stakeholder at Dick's is your many hiring managers, and I wanna spend a few minutes there, just what you're thinking about, what you're working towards, and just the importance of supporting that manager in this total equation.


Rick Jordan:

So we think about our hiring managers as, we bring 50% of this equation and you bring the other 50%, true partnership. I can't hire without you, you can't hire without me. So I think the first thing for us as TA professionals, we have to make it really easy for our hiring managers.

And then when it is easy, we expect them to show up. But you are a partner, you're side by side with us. And then we strategize. I think our brand gets the candidate's interest. You love sports. You played sports, your kids play sports. So the brand gets us in the door, but then we join and stay with a company because of the people we work with and work for.

That all starts with that hiring manager. We are in this together and one of the things we look for, and then what we expect is building really dynamic teams.

It's part of your job as a leader. And we've got hiring managers here that really get it, and we look at them like, 'You are an asset to us as we're trying to recruit talent'.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, making clear the importance of hiring, and their role in that. And so making sure that experience. Isn't just great from the TA team and then stops once they get to the store. So that continuity-


Rick Jordan:

Ty, specifically for our stores, we've been working on this journey where we're changing that mindset. Your role as the head coach of our store is always thinking about your team, and recruitment has to be a priority.

Now, we have phenomenal support at our most senior space at the organization that talks about talent all the time, and building inclusive, diverse, engaged, inspired teams. That's one of their top priorities. So it takes a shift that recruiting might not be your day job, but it's gonna be a solid piece of your day job.


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, that makes total sense. And when you're thinking about supporting those store managers effectively, I imagine you probably have a whole other set of challenges to implement technology to help support those stores from a recruiting standpoint, because all the stores maybe do things a little bit different.

Is that then a factor here, or is it more about just meeting the store manager where they are or, more about standardizing everything and making sure they just are brought up into the fold?


Rick Jordan:

We do understand all the dynamic pieces of running these massive Dick's Sporting Good stores. We never take that for granted that there's so much going on in that store, that we can't just push technology. We can't just say, 'Hey guys, tomorrow start doing this'. So it does make you really empathetic, really in their shoes.

So when we go out and spend time in stores and realize, wow, there are a lot of competing priorities, so we think about that quite a bit. And anything that we do out in our field organization, we're gonna test, we're gonna pilot, we're gonna get feedback from people that are doing it in that space, before we would take something out to our entire chain. It's not as simple as rolling something out to a recruiting team of 50 people.

We're talking 850+ stores that we wanna change the process. And it does go back to 'just make it really easy for the hiring managers'. Help them build their teams, don't overcomplicate processes. Don't overcomplicate systems you have to click 13 times just to get the candidate's resume.

How easy is it for them to bring their 50% to the table?


Ty Abernethy:

Yeah, it's almost like you're doing the same type of work for the candidate journey as you are for the store manager journey, right? Ease of use, eliminate friction, keep it simple, it's just like a mantra over and over.


Rick Jordan:

It's the story of life in recruiting, and people that have done it know it, you've got so many stakeholders. You want a great candidate experience, but you need a great hiring manager experience.


Ty Abernethy:

You gotta have 'em both. They're the two pillars of-


Rick Jordan:

It's so true. And neither one is more important, everyone has to feel the love from the TA folks.


Ty Abernethy:

Rick, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. It's been an education. I'm sure everyone listening in has learned a lot. Rick, thanks so much. We appreciate you taking some time.


Rick Jordan:

Thanks Ty.


Ty Abernethy:

Take care.


Rick Jordan:

Thank you.

Chat with Colleen Campbell of Chobani

Chat with Colleen Campbell of Chobani

We recently joined the SuccessFactors East User Group in Pennsylvania. Grayscale was invited to give a presentation about the product. Here’s the interview between Grayscale Director of Partnerships, Charles Porges, and Senior Director of People and Talent Systems at Chobani, Colleen Campbell.

Feel free to listen to the clip in podcast style here.


Tell us a little bit about your background. You've been at Chobani a while, but you have 10 years of experience in TA and People Systems, so give us your background and tell us a bit about your role at Chobani.


Let's start with Chobani. So, Chobani is a global provider of food with our mission and vision being “making good food for all”. Our Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya started Chobani by just offering Greek Yogurt, but now we have many more offerings. We have two small manufacturing plants, a corporate office in Soho, a small population in Australia, and an even smaller population in Mexico. Chobani is a brand and it’s a brand company.

I joined Chobani two years ago and my background is much more focused on change management, HR leadership, business processes, and I’ve leaned toward technology. When I joined Chobani, they were looking at implementing all seven modules of SuccessFactors, Qualtrics, Qualtrics 360, and Kronos as quickly as they could.

So, during the pandemic, we implemented all seven modules of SuccessFactors within six months. The entire implementation was done remotely without any in-person meetings, with an offshore partner who was also navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic.

We look at what we're doing now as easy compared to, you know… that. With everything implemented, we continue to look at room for improved processes, which is how we arrived at Grayscale.


As the director of people systems, tell us a little bit about the KPIs or outcomes you're focused on.


I think it's all the same things that I'm assuming TA leaders are focused on, there are several key factors: How fast can we get people? How can we get the most qualified people? How can we have a high-quality recruiting experience?


Tell us a bit about the types of roles you're hiring for and what are some of the challenges that come along with that kind of hiring.


So, the company dynamic is 72% hourly workers, on the floor, making products (yogurt, oat milk, creamers, etc.), and the rest would be all the things you would envision: creative, marketing, finance, and R&D. Two very different dynamics.


How did you first come up with the idea of texting these candidates?


It’s funny, when hearing from our own population and hearing about our experiences we realized we hadn’t really been in pain. We had a wonderful brand and a wonderful offering, and then suddenly, the world changed. We no longer could be complacent with relying on emails and “old-school phone”, so we looked into texting/SMS. Really, we were looking for a way to interact with candidates in a different way.


How did you hear about Grayscale?


We have a kind of internal rule which is that we only integrate to SuccessFactors with standard integrations with companies that have already been in the ecosystem. We were not interested in being early adopters. We worked closely with the SuccessFactors team, and they shared the companies in the space. News flash, there’s not a lot! We were then connected to Grayscale which met all our requirements, plus gave us new ideas that are still coming to fruition. It really was that relationship with SuccessFactors that was critical for us to be able to have those conversations.


With partners, it's always a question of, all right, I see the value, but how long is this going to take to get up and running. How quickly did you get up and running with Grayscale? And how quickly did you start seeing value?


Okay. I'm sure all of you in the room get hundreds of emails from vendors and salespeople saying how they can do this for you, saying how easy it’s going to be, saying “if you're not doing this, you should be doing this”, and saying “your competitors are doing this”. You become a little skeptical when the sales team told us, this is how it's going to be. But, let me tell you, Grayscale literally was as simple as they said.

There are a lot of internal stakeholders. You have the CIO engaged, legal engaged, your integrators engaged, and a third party too. There are a lot of people asking a lot of questions when getting any tech integrated, but Grayscale really felt like a simple plug-and-play. The slide deck during the kickoff meeting said it would be four weeks, and we were promised that we’d be able to get going. Little did they know, I had a whole separate secret plan of what was really going to happen. But no, it happened just like what was told on the slide deck. It was amazing!


We have a lot of HRIS experts in the room digging in specifically to integration. What was the ease of getting the product integrated on the back end?


It was the easiest integration we've ever done with SuccessFactors. I called my partner on the IT side and asked if he had another meeting tomorrow. He said, no it’s done. It's up and running. And I said, well, have you done the testing? Yeah! Didn't you just start it yesterday morning? Yeah! Okay… Am I missing something? I mean, we literally both were like, this doesn't make any sense.


After implementation, what were some of the initial challenges you faced and addressed?


From a business challenge, it was like just go. We worked with the Grayscale team who did excellent training and provided all the right documentation. They just kept it simple. You don't really need to spend a ton of time trying to help people. We immediately tackled a significant pain point, which was candidate drop-off. We also thought about ways to engage the 70% of the hourly workforce that learned English as a second language.

Another piece that’s important with Grayscale is the metrics that you get. Users get a report every week and it's as simple as can be, showing the key things you would already ask about. We can easily see that when a recruiter sends a text, 80% of the contacts respond within 4 hours.


Integration and implementation are one story, but adoption is another, and it's essential for successfully adopting any new technology. How did you drive adoption amongst your recruiting team?


They did it for themselves. We did set up separate teams based on our plants, with a specific team chat around Grayscale. In the chat, people would share their learnings and share best practices. Grayscale did a great job setting up templates and building the standard things that we were already using in the email. Having that done paired with our brilliant newer generation of thinking was great. Our teams would share things amongst themselves saying, I did this, and this is how it worked, and I did this, and this is how it worked. I’m actually pretty sure there were recruiting contests between our plants on who could get the most responses, and who could get things moved forward quicker.


How did Grayscale impact those business challenges you mentioned on both the high-volume side at the plants and the more white-collar office staff positions?


We do surveys using Qualtrics for our candidates, and those numbers went much higher than they had ever been. We asked things like: Were you satisfied with how quickly you heard from somebody? Did your experience align with the brand that you understand? Did your manager welcome you to the company? Those kinds of things clearly showed the increased candidate experience.

Also important, on the other side was our number of roles to fill. We had a significant number to meet, and I'm pretty confident that our leaders didn't think we were going to get there because we hadn't needed to before. The recruiting team ended up meeting all their goals, which meant we were meeting our production goals, which meant we were meeting the sales goals, etcetera. It really had a great company-wide impact.


So, improved candidate surveys, meeting hiring goals with faster time to fill. Were there any other key metrics worth sharing?


We don't have a good way to measure, but the efficiency of the recruiters, and the amount of time and effort it takes to make one hire went down. We're happy about that!


A birdie told me that you’ve been sort of MacGyvering Grayscale and using it for some use cases beyond just recruiting. Can you share a little bit about that?


So, we are MacGyvering, and I made sure it was okay to do so!
The way our process works is that you're working with the recruiter through the hiring process and then you get moved to someone else when you go into the onboarding module. So, you have this feeling where you're texting, you feel like you know your recruiter as it’s very personalized and then you come into onboarding and boom! You’re back to email, with a different person.

We looked at this and were like, this doesn’t make any sense. It’s clunky from a communication perspective. What we said was, well, why can’t the folks onboarding continue to use Grayscale? It's already the conversation tool we've been using to communicate with these candidates.

We’ve set up some of our templates for onboarding and the continued texting interaction has been great! Texts like “Where to go when you come to the plant?”, and “Where’s your orientation?”, those kinds of things have been helpful. More important, though, is the ability of the candidates to ask quick questions.

On top of using Grayscale for hiring, we're using it from an onboarding perspective as well and we've got some ideas on some other things to try! We’re thrilled with the added interactions which have led to reduced ghosting that happens on the operating side.


Well, you guys are ahead of the game! We constantly hear requests about when we will be integrated with onboarding, and it’s worth sharing that our answer is: it's on our road map for later this year!

You've driven a lot of business outcomes in just the first few months of using Grayscale. Texting or no texting, Grayscale or no Grayscale. What do you have your sites on next?


World domination! Haha!

From an employee perspective, it's just continual. It's ensuring that we meet the needs of our employees. We place a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and equity within our organization. We also are very focused on the challenges for refugees. We have an innate understanding and drive to think about how we can get to that population in a quick and easy way. These people come to the country with nothing, and the first thing they get is a phone. If that’s the way we can get to them, then that's what we're going to do.


Awesome. One last question for you: What's something about Chobani that people might not be aware of?


What do you think is the most popular flavor?


Hit me!


Blueberry. Blueberry pays the light bills.


The more you know.


Little Chobani trivia, you never know when it’ll come in handy!

How Chobani Cut their Time-to-Fill in Half with Grayscale

How Chobani Cut their Time-to-Fill in Half with Grayscale

We sat down with Colleen Campbell, Director, People Systems & Technology at Chobani, to chat about why they incorporated Grayscale into their recruiting process, what they have learned, and where they are headed next.

The talent acquisition team at Chobani is responsible for filling a lot of reqs, 72% of which consist of hourly employees in hard-to-fill roles.


“Working for an organization whose North Star is innovation, it was always a puzzle to me regarding why we weren't texting so much sooner!”

- Colleen Campbell


Colleen notes that they were actively doing a lot to attract and retain talent, but their systems were outdated and the TA division as a whole was behind.  She hoped that by bringing texting to the table, they could revolutionize the culture of Chobani’s TA team while modernizing and accelerating their hiring process to stay competitive.

Chobani’s talent pool consists of a lot of applicants who speak English as a second language. They are often hesitant to respond to formal emails and usually aren’t checking email with any frequency. Colleen wanted to explore texting as a more approachable communication channel to quickly build relationships and keep their candidates engaged at scale.

With a lot of texting options out there, Chobani was looking for something that would complement their current tech stack. As an SAP SuccessFactors customer, they were looking for an easy-to-deploy, robust integration with a trusted partner. During their research, they found Grayscale.


“The implementation plan you gave us just looked way too easy. I told my IT contact that this was going to be a disaster... it was just too easy. I thought something had to be wrong."


Chobani has extensive compliance requirements, and Colleen expected the process to drag on for a while. When Grayscale flew through the procurement process and the product was integrated and rolled out in a matter of weeks, Colleen was beyond surprised.


Where They Started With Texting

As the Chobani team got started, they were blown away by the level of ease that accompanied the implementation, onboarding, and ramp up time of all their team members.

During implementation, they pre-populated a number of shared templates to help her team kick off their texting experiences with style and ease.


From start to end, Chobani and the team went from signed contract to texting candidates in 30 days.

Once they were up and running, Colleen asked the team to get started with 1:1 messaging. Colleen encouraged the team to supplement additional comms (anything not email-centric, i.e., signing an offer letter) with texts.

After seeing some quick wins and massive success early on, they implemented Nudges. Think of Nudges as automated reminders to candidates. This ensured they never missed a follow-up with candidates throughout the hiring process.

From there, Colleen was looking to double down on SMS as a channel. She opted to set up Automations to help standardize their entire candidate journey, from application to onboarding.


Within days of implementing texting, her team was seeing a 62% response rate with an average response time of 10 minutes.

One of Colleen’s favorite parts of this experience has been seeing her team react! With easy reporting that is automatically emailed to all users every week, her team is challenging each other to increase their individual open rates, send more messages, and compete for the top of the leaderboard.

“High-volume recruiting can be a really challenging role. Seeing my team come alive at work and get excited about the tools we have is so refreshing and energizing.”


Where The Magic Has Taken Them

One of Colleen’s main goals was to decrease their time-to-fill. With the help of Grayscale, they are moving at double time!


“It used to take the team two weeks to fill a hiring class and now they fill one every single week.”


Colleen’s team used to hire four or five people a week, but recently, they have been seeing as many as 30 new hires come through the door weekly. Going from 4-5 new hires a week to 30, is a 500% increase in their overall speed, which has the team eager to see what else Grayscale can do!

After seeing instantaneous results in their volume hiring, they decided to give it a try with their internal recruiting efforts too.

Historically, Chobani’s internal candidates would drag their feet on signing their updated offer letters. Colleen’s team would spend hours each week tracking down and reminding employees to sign. It wasn’t uncommon for them to have 20-30 outstanding offer letters waiting to be accepted.

When the team implemented Grayscale’s Nudge feature for automatic follow-ups and reminders, they were shocked to see that they only had one offer letter unsigned.


With a 95% decrease in outstanding offer letters, Chobani’s recruiters can spend less time herding cats and more time building authentic relationships with their candidates.

Not only are they seeing drastic changes on the internal recruiting side, but they are facing some unprecedented problems in other areas of their business.

This hyper-efficiency in the hiring process has left Colleen and the team scratching their heads. Now, they are looking for creative ways to bring this level of speed and ease into the onboarding process!

Colleen is thrilled to be facing these new and unprecedented challenges as their TA team and processes are evolving to keep up with the times.


What’s Next For Chobani

Colleen mentioned that their first goal was to use texting to help accelerate the speed at which they can get people in the door and hired.

With that problem solved, the Chobani team has now set their sights on a different horizon.


“Now we have the luxury of considering what else we can add to this process to make our candidate experience incredible, and seeing the way this tool has energized our recruiting team is amazing to watch.”


While Chobani is exploring opportunities to use Grayscale in their onboarding process and beyond, they are already making plans to roll out texting for their intern recruitment team.

As the TA team is riding the wave of HR innovation, they have brought their 17-page job application down to a much simpler 12-question application. With a tight focus on promoting candidate engagement and creating rave-worthy candidate experiences, they are so excited about having a powerful, results-based tool in their pocket to reach their audience.


“We love baby G!”


Ready to see what texting can do for your team?

How GardaWorld Leverages SMS to Humanize Their Volume Hiring

How GardaWorld Leverages SMS to Humanize Their Volume Hiring

GardaWorld was looking for a way to help humanize and instill dignity into their high volume hiring process.

As one of the top security companies in the world, GardaWorld hires a lot of hourly employees. Hiring in this world can feel highly transactional and can leave candidates feeling like a number. When it was time to revisit their volume hiring process, GardaWorld wanted to create a process unlike any others in the industry.

Their goal was to create an experience that allowed their candidates to feel like part of the family from the get-go. No matter what, they aim to create a process that makes getting from application to paycheck easier than ever.

“Garda has a limited pool of candidates to hire from, so experience matters. Even if a candidate isn’t hired now, they could be a great hire in the future. And they'll remember how you treated them.”

- Scott Foster


The Set-Up

As GardaWorld aims to cultivate their talent pool, they wanted to create a process that made it easy to funnel in new candidates and stay in touch with older ones. They had their eyes set on finding a way to ensure every applicant had a positive experience.

Their goal was to create a process focused on building and maintaining relationships with their candidates, and they kept their eyes on a few metrics to do this.


Speed to Post

The time from applying to a role, to starting at your assigned post. The goal was to get this stat below two weeks.


90 Day Losses

They wanted to create a process that engages candidates long term, to reduce turnover in the first 90 days.


Overall Attrition

GardaWorld seeks to design a process where every team member is so valued they couldn’t fathom leaving.

The idea was to create a memorable, transferable, and highly personalized experience for every applicant.

With specific intricacies involved for each position or state, they were looking to build a solution that made it easy to manage the specifics so they could focus on humanizing every interaction.


The Solution

When it came to finding a solution, they wanted to create processes to keep a people first approach. They were looking to:

  • Cultivate a process where technology was an enhancement, not a replacement
  • Instill respect and dignity into the candidates working their way through the application process

As GardaWorld sought out a better process, they were looking to automate reminders and scheduling, prompt their candidates to check their emails when they have action items, simplify the process, and streamline next steps.

The heart of this process improvement was to show their candidates how much they value their work and their service.

In order to develop processes that conveyed those emotions, they chose to focus on simplifying the steps and making it as easy as possible for someone to get from application to paycheck.

As they rolled this process out, they made an effort to balance automation and humanization. Through leveraging texting, they created automated reminders for phone screens, interviews, and other events like their first day!

This technology enhancement helped them increase their interview sit rate, and made it easier for them to quickly advance candidates in the process.

“In our society today, we value information and connection now. We have to meet candidates where they are, and adapt to what the candidates need and want. Texting has become the perfect tool to meet these objectives.”

- Scott

Not only did they see an increase in participation for their in-person interactions, but they also noted an overall increase in their candidate engagement as applicants found it easier to ask or answer questions via text. With open lines of communication to their recruiters, the process had an entirely new and engaging edge to it.


How They Built This

When it came to designing this process, they used data to drive decisions and then let strategy come into play once they had a direction to follow.

It looked like:

  • Assessing the hiring process as a whole and pursuing clarity around which areas of the system resulted in the biggest drop off.
  • Using strategy to solve the root of the problem once they understood the causation.

Once they reviewed the metrics that matter, they started asking questions such as:

  • What is our current applicant to hire ratio?
  • How can we increase that?
  • Where are our candidates dropping off?

After they had answers to their questions, they knew where to start designing the process.
GardaWorld uses SMS automation to increase candidate engagement, remind applicants of upcoming events and next steps, and prompt them to take action before they become disengaged.

They are opting to create a process with intention. Their goal is to remove as many burdens and jumping off points as possible. They continuously look for ways to make it easier on their candidates to become a member of the family.

As they have rolled these changes out branch by branch, they have reviewed branch specific data to ensure the transition is smooth, seamless, and positive.

This change wasn’t solely on the candidates side, as they rolled these new processes out to their internal teams, they were excited to hear their recruiters loved it!

“Grayscale allows our Talent Acquisition and HR Teams to contact candidates seamlessly without having to leave our Applicant Tracking System.”

- Patrick McDermott

With buy-in from the team, and candidate engagement skyrocketing, GardaWorld is well on their way to creating a volume hiring process that’s undeniable.



  • GardaWorld learned how you can successfully use tech to keep volume hiring human-oriented
  • They leverage data to help to inform and direct strategy efforts for maximum impact
  • GardaWorld created a process to showcase how they value their employees by treating candidates with respect from the get go

When it comes to using technology in volume hiring, it’s easy to get caught up in automation. Without having a guiding light like humanizing the process, it’s possible to do more damage than good.

GardaWorld started this journey with a 22 day application to paycheck timeline. Now? That process only takes 17 days. They are on track to continue trimming and polishing the process to reach their goal of 14 days.

With the use of technological enhancements in their process they are on their way to reducing 90 day turnover.

“Employee Engagement and Retention begin in the hiring process. The best TA strategy is to keep our people, and our new uses of texting are helping us on this journey.”

- Scott

Sure, reinventing the system can feel like a lot of work. At what point does it become mission critical to take a serious look at your overall attrition? Only you can answer that, but for GardaWorld they felt it was time to deliver a white glove service to their volume hires.

How Dick’s Sporting Goods is Eliminating Candidate Ghosting

How Dick’s Sporting Goods is Eliminating Candidate Ghosting

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) found themselves struggling with candidate ghosting in their volume hiring process. As it got increasingly harder to fill reqs and adequately staff their retail locations they went looking for a solution to eliminate ghosting in their application and onboarding process.

We sat down with Rick Jordan, a Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, at DSG to learn more about the way they approached changing the dynamics of their hiring process to limit candidate ghosting.

"Candidate ghosting is the result of the market versus how engaging your process is. When someone ghosts us, it’s because they found it easier to pursue the process somewhere else."

– Rick Jordan

With this viewpoint, as they were exploring options, it was mission-critical for them to create a solution to enable a high-touch, scalable, and personalized experience for every applicant.


The Set-Up

When Dick’s Sporting Goods reached out to learn more about what we do here at Grayscale they wanted to address some very specific issues in their high volume hiring process.

They were seeing a record numbers of candidates disappear throughout the hiring and onboarding process. Instead of just finding more candidates to put in the pipeline, they wanted to take a proactive approach at understanding why they were falling off the radar in the first place.

"We believe people are core to our business. Our goal is to build really solid relationships with everyone we interact with, so how do we automate that?"

Their hypothesis was that by leveraging automation, they could significantly limit the amount of ghosting they were seeing.

They studied their reporting and came to a few conclusions. Let’s break these down.



  • Lack of speed. When it comes to keeping candidates engaged, they are looking to move. If you’re too slow to respond they won’t stay engaged and will pursue a process they find captivating.
  • Confusing or complicated processes. If you’re making too many asks, or not giving enough direction, candidates will get lost in the process and move on to a place where they feel seen.
  • Misaligned market compensation. Candidates are looking for competitive salaries to match their worth. If it’s possible, revisit your compensation structure, though this is usually the hardest force to work against.

Dick’s realized the two things they could quickly and easily change to help minimize ghosting were speed and process. So they got to work!


The Solution

After reviewing some data points, they sat down to simplify and refine their high-volume recruiting process as a whole. They developed three main goals.

  • DSG wanted to find their own perfect balance of leveraging automation while sticking close to their human-centric roots
  • They wanted to assess every ask of their applicants and trim the process down to include only the highest value requirements
  • From there, they wanted to move as many necessary but lower value tasks into onboarding, or on the job training to help simplify the process and keep candidates engaged

When it came to finding the right balance of automation and humanization, they wanted to use tech to accelerate the process, not remove the human elements.

For them, this project became about getting really clear on the exact things they needed to know about candidates. No more filler questions or mindless hoops!

It was time to transform high-volume hiring through creating the simplest process they could.

With an end goal of reducing their ghosting, they made sure the updates they were making to the process enhanced the experience, in place of extending it or convoluting it.


How They Built It

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods uses data to encourage engagement and lean into the platforms their candidates are more accessible on
  • They aim to leverage automation to enhance in-person, 1:1 interactions, instead of to replace them
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods intentionally worked with the local teams to roll out this process for a seamless and streamlined candidate experience

When it came to reimagining a system where candidates moved seamlessly through the process, they decided to let data be their guide.

They sat down and reviewed their major drop-off points, their time-to-fill, their application expectations, and the engagement metrics around the communication formats they used.

As they teased out what this could look like, their goal was to create a system that allowed them to create more intentional relationships with their applicants.

From there, they took scissors to the process, and worked with their local hiring managers to create and implement changes to optimize for efficiency and humanization.

It looked something like this:



  • Dick’s Sporting Goods believes automation should enable your human interactions not distract from them
  • With team being a core value of their company, they strive to create meaningful conversations in the hiring process
  • When creating new systems and processes, they ask, “what would help our hiring managers do their jobs better?”

As Dick’s Sporting Goods has upleveled their volume hiring process, they have seen a significant drop in their candidate ghosting!

During this time of revitalization, Rick Jordan kept one thought central.

“I’m thinking about how I can make the application process as easy as Apple Pay! How do we make our process feel as easy as auto-populating all the important information at checkout. What can we do to make it easier, so we don’t lose the sale?”

When it comes to auditing and iterating on these processes through time, DSG uses the data in their systems to continue testing and refining their processes for perfection.

Behind Amazon's Winning Candidate Experience

Behind Amazon's Winning Candidate Experience

Amazon Pharmacy was looking to facilitate an incredibly high volume hiring process while maintaining their company value of being customer (and candidate) obsessed. The workload quickly became unmanageable for their recruiters, and they began looking for ways to create an automated candidate communication system.

They wanted to create an automated system to support their recruiters as they adjusted to a new volume in order to keep pace with the growing demand for their services.

"At this time, Amazon Pharmacy’s main goal was automation.”

Zack Tucker, Amazon


The Challenges

They wanted to create a system that accomplished very specific criteria.

  • Amazon wanted to get to a place where one recruiter could handle upwards of 1000 candidates
  • They needed something that both provided scalability and a unique personal touch
  • Their recruiters needed a way to increase their response rate with candidates and keep more applicants in their pipeline longer
  • It was imperative that they give every single candidate an unprecedented experience


When hiring at scale like Amazon Pharmacy was, it can become increasingly difficult for the company’s recruiting team to maintain a personal relationship with each candidate.

A single recruiter could be responsible for over a thousand applicants in order to hire at the scale they needed to fulfill demand.

With that in mind, these recruiters were primarily reaching out via phone calls and emails. This left the process painstakingly slow and outdated. Top it off with the lack of personal attention each candidate was getting, and it left their best applicants feeling forgotten about!

These historic communication methods resulted in poor response rates and left the applicants without good instructions regarding what they needed to accomplish next.

It was no longer optional to revisit their recruiting tech stack! They needed something that would help automate and personalize their candidate experiences so their recruiters could work more efficiently.


The Solutions

Amazon Pharmacy's formula for success:

  • Leveraging SMS to engage with candidates throughout the hiring and onboarding process
  • Automating the candidate journey for consistent, personalized nudges to keep them moving quickly through the process
  • Seamless ATS integration meant the team didn't have to leave their ATS to make this all a reality


When Amazon Pharmacy integrated Grayscale into their ATS, Lever, it’s no surprise to use that they saw a positive impact within the first few days! It was now easier than ever to ensure candidates moved quickly and efficiently through the process without getting stuck with questions or getting confused and jumping ship.

"Automation from Grayscale is one of my team’s favorite features. With Grayscale’s help, I hired over a hundred and fifty people last winter on my own.”


So, what are the lasting impacts Amazon sees in their recruiting process?

  • Scalability. Now, Amazon Pharmacy can handle a ratio of 1000 candidates per recruiter thanks for the automated candidate communication provided by Grayscale.
  • Increased engagement. At each stage in the hiring process, Amazon has set up personalized, automated touchpoints via SMS. The automated messages keep candidates engaged and drive a 51% response rate and 6-minute response time on average.
  • Consistent candidate experiences. When hiring at scale it can be hard to ensure your candidates are experiencing a consistent, best-in-class experience. With templated communication, a seamless integration with their ATS, and robust automations, every applicant experiences an identical high-touch process.


Amazon notes that being accessible via SMS helps create an open communication channel allowing the candidates to connect with the team directly and quickly when they need assistance.

“Once we implemented Grayscale, our engagement numbers went way up. We saw the biggest change in the shape of our funnel, instead of a large initial drop-off, we see candidates regularly getting further into the process.”


One of Zach’s favorite features is the simple integration with their ATS making it easy to follow up with candidates who are falling behind in the process before they get too disengaged and ghost.

“Grayscale is so user-friendly. It has a very simple interface, and the responsiveness and customer service has been top-notch. It is definitely one of our best integrations.”


Bringing It All Together

Their seamless process in action:

  • Amazon Pharmacy created a human-first automated candidate communication system
  • Amazon Pharmacy improved their candidate experience and enhanced their candidate engagement scores
  • They found a long-term partner to help them scale their high-volume hiring systems


We all know that technology is impacting and transforming almost everything we know.

Why stick with outdated methods of communication? Leveraging a channel like texting can go a long way in revolutionizing your hiring process to ensure you don’t lose top talent due to process failures.

If you’re ready to attract and retain top talent in your pipeline, it could be time to chat with us about how we help create an unparalleled hiring experience. Get connected below.