Case Study KiiWii Clothing

About KiiWii Clothing

Keith Williams and his wife Amanda have been running their family-owned clothing, printing & promotions business for 26 years in Haverhill Suffolk, supporting local and national brands.  

 Three years ago, they moved their printing premises closer to home in Steeple Bumpstead, and this has enabled them to provide a robust and sustainable business model which has bolstered the business during the pandemic. 

“Initially the move felt like we were starting again – a blank canvas if you like – it was however a time for us to think more strategically about the business, which was proving to be invaluable during the pandemic. Ourcustomers felt the impact of the pandemic and so did we, however, as we moved closer and closer to coming out of lockdown we could see, day-by-day customers coming back only;

Keith and his wife used any downtime during the pandemic to build and work with their local community – to raise spirits and give children a creative outlet. They began by organising a Design your own T-Shirt’ competition for local children. The winner had their hand drawn design made into a T-shirt which was then presented to them at home. 

 “We felt we could do more to support those around us and it was a great way for everyone local to us, to have something fun and positive to focus on. We even had parents emailing asking what the weeks theme would be for the competition – it really took hold”. Said Keith.  

KiiWii Clothing also formed a Facebook Group called Disco Kitchen where they produced merchandise to raise funds for the Joshua Tarrant Trust – They raised over £2,500 and have since been made Ambassadors of the charitable trust. 

The Need

Following the move Keith and his wife knew that they needed key personnel within the business. Keith explained that in the past they might have recruited someone they knew or had been recommended, but this time they wanted a more strategic approach to their recruitment process so that it aligned with their business goals.   

It was through their membership of BNI that Keith and Amanda got to meet Rebecca from HR Ready. She mentioned she was doing a kick start scheme webinar –and as such they both joined. As a result, a one2one was booked and they developed a strategic partnership. Over time Keith came to understand the value in having expert HR support to help them manage all aspects of their HR including their immediate recruitment drive.  

Keith went onto explain.

“Initially Rebecca helped us to focus and review our needs, she identified we needed to put in place the HR foundations on which to build upon. She worked with us to streamline our contracts. Took us through the furlough process to help us during the Covid pandemic and developed a bespoke employee handbook.  When it came time to recruit, Rebecca helped us to identify what options were available and what we wanted in the business. She helped us to drill down the job specification based on the skills and personality type that wasneeded for us to advertise the position and get the right type of applicants for the role. The outcome was brilliant”.

People Management

Rebecca immediately dealt with people management issues, due to the COVID pandemic. E.g., isolating for 10 days due to a positive test result or enabling staff to work from home following government guidelines. Rebecca offered support with advice and documentation and implemented communication strategies around what to do, how to do it and why they were being done. 

Dealing with Leavers

Rebecca also had to quickly resolve a resignation issue and Keith and Amanda wanted to ensure the best outcome for the employee as well as the business. The employee didn’t want to come back to the office due to COVID risks and their own health, but still had a desire to work their notice. The solution implemented by Rebecca proved to be a great outcome for both parties concerned.  

Due to the resignation Keith and Amanda wanted to plan their recruitment for the longer term. 

“Rebecca helped us to carry out a resource planning activity and we looked at everyone’s roles and what needed to be covered now and in the future. We also did a skills matrix and job competencies, so we would see what we had and what we needed, it also enabled us to evaluate what worked and what needed to stop.”

Said Keith.

Management Styles Leading to Recruitment

Rebecca also reviewed the management styles and culture already in place against what Keith and Amanda wanted going forward. This helped to identify the personal specification of who needed to be hired and when. It was important to Keith and Amanda that their next hire was unknown to them, and they recruited for the role through a Facebook group which gave them access to over 8,000 local people free of charge.

“As part of the recruitment process, we discussed whether they needed support in sales and or production and discussed equipment and costs to see what would and wouldn’t work for now and their future needs. This enabled Keith and Amanda to focus on what they actually needed and so we wrote the job description based on all the previous work we had done.” Explained Rebecca.

It was at this point that Rebecca introduced an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to ensure the business was GDPR compliant and to easily enable them to manage the recruitment process including the communication with and to candidates.

The ATS enabled Rebecca to walk Keith and Amanda through the various recruitment stages, of selection, telephone interviews, face to face, competency testing and more.

“It was the pre-planning that enabled us to source who we needed and objectively review each application being able to make a job offer within 3 weeks from advertising the position. This saved us huge amounts of time and money and got us the person the business really needed.” Said Keith.

The recruitment process didn’t end when they found their new team member. HR Ready also focused on ensuring the onboarding process was smooth.  Concentrating on the basic things that are required and often over-looked, such as the contract of employment, company handbook and policies, health and safety, facility tour, uniform, and the key messaging that makes the employee feel welcomed and part of the business.  

Rebecca then continued to touch base throughout the probationary period supporting Keith and Amanda with the right documentation to successfully sign off the employee. 

Summary

Rebecca not only held Keith’s and Amanda’s hands but empowered them to manage the recruitment process themselves. They learned how to evaluate the need within their business, their management styles and look more strategically at their business growth with HR and Recruitment being a major contributor to the success of the business.

“It was the pre-planning that enabled us to source who we needed and objectively review each application being able to make a job offer within 3 weeks from advertising the position. This saved us huge amounts of time and money and got us the person the business really needed.” Said Keith.

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