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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (ICE), Scottsdale, AZ USA
Nomination Category: Recruiting or Talent Acquisition Team of the Year

Entry Title: ICE Recruitment and Retention Team

Team Essay:

In the unique world of sales, particularly as it applies to experiential, vacation-centric, call center performance, it is no surprise that an organization needs to run a bustling and energetic work environment for its employees that is focused on fun, excitement, excellence, and motivating top-tier talent. Encouraging a strong workforce like this, that is passionate about what they sell and market and also very effective in meeting and exceeding daily sales goals, are key ingredients to cultivating a proficient call center and supporting staff.

In recent years, International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (ICE) had been struggling with decreasing employee retention rates; new hire attrition was increasing, and feedback on recruiting employee portals such as Glassdoor did not reflect the company’s core values. Poor comments on social media were not being handled. Employee engagement surveys had concerning themes. The company was expanding to multiple locations, yet there was no clear recruiting strategy to support the growth.

Thousands and thousands of dollars each month were being expensed to ramp up onboarding sales classes with minimal graduates. As a company with nearly one billion dollars in annual bookings and nearly 2,200 employees spread across seven countries, strong recruiting processes are imperative. Facing nearly 100% turnover in the call center staff was simply NOT going to sustain.

A change needed to be made – and fast.

International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (ICE) knew that an investment needed to be made to create a solid process for identifying, recruiting, and retaining talent within the company. Furthermore, there was a need to address, manage, and respond to the organization’s perceived negative corporate image in the online recruiting space. The organization needed to get the right leaders with the right expertise in front of the problem.

To address the state of affairs, in early 2016, the organization gathered a team of super-forces from key divisions in the company to create the “Recruiting and Retention Team.” This team included members from Sales, Corporate Marketing, Human Resources, Reporting, and the Office of the President. The goal was to work quickly and collaboratively in restoring, managing, and expanding the process for correctly recruiting and retaining employees. The team set bi-weekly meetings to understand exactly what was happening, and quickly, the team understood what position each key member played.

A few milestones occurred as a result of this team:

1. A dedicated response team addresses and responds to all postings about the company on websites including BBB, Glassdoor, Facebook and LinkedIn.
2. Strategic social media plans were put into action to increase positive awareness about the company, its robust employee benefits and amenities, and what the culture is truly like – allowing candidates better, more authentic insights.
3. The company produced two brand facelifts to the corporate website – refining the messaging of who they are, what they stand for, what they do, how they do it, and also optimizing the candidate user experience for applying to open positions with the company on both mobile and desktop formats.
4. A comprehensive multi-media campaign was developed to deploy a wide variety of materials explaining the company and why they are a positive employer to work for.
5. Under the direction of the nominee team, a dedicated group of seasoned sales employees from the call center assembled to create a knowledgeable in-house recruiting workforce – managing inbound candidate sales leads, interviewing, hiring, and managing headcount needs for the call center staffing operations.
6. In 2016, 52 employee retention programs/events were implemented to focus on recognition, leadership, tenure with company, training, increased face time with executives, community impact, and family appreciation. Each event is assessed for participation percentage and impact to overall employee sentiment.

Team Summary:

-Candidate lead generation (sales and non-sales combined) has increased 74% month-over-month since the dedicated team began.
-New sales hire attrition dropped by over 50% for the first 120-day period – an unprecedented accomplishment.
-Glassdoor employee approval rating increased 123.5% from a 1.7 to a 3.8 (out of 5) by Q4 of 2016.
-Every single posting is replied to within 48 hours.
-An increase in PR efforts yielded the organization 15 important local, national, international, and industry-specific awards in 2016 focused around innovation, products, and remaining a top employer to work for in the community.
-Such awards include The Phoenix Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, a recognition given based on employee feedback. These wins were used strategically to reinforce a positive message to potential candidate audiences and the organization as a whole.