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Aspire: Active Dashboards recruiting success

Aspire has been in recruitment since 1992, formerly as PFJ, or The Graduate Recruitment Company.

In 2014, the organisation re-branded as Aspire, and now specialises in recruiting for the digital, media and marketing communications industry. A global organisation, it has five offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Hong Kong and Singapore, employing more than 120 specialist recruiters.

The challenge

For recruiters, the speed with which they gather and analyse data gives them the edge. Access to and analysis of the right, real-time data can make the difference between a good and bad decision during the complete recruitment process. With five years’ experience of using a dashboard system, Aspire was therefore ahead of many of its competitors. However, there were still limitations to its existing set up and it knew it could do better.

“We were already enjoying many of the benefits of using big data; taking the guess work out of recruitment, making it far easier to plan ahead and prioritise in the most efficient and cost-effective way. However, we knew there was still a way to go,” says Chris Chandler, CEO of Aspire.

One particular concern was reconciling the company’s global revenue reporting.

“As we couldn’t get our company’s global revenue reporting to compile with our old dashboard solution, we were still reliant on spreadsheets in this area. This affected us in several ways. Not only did it prevent quick access to the right information which led to a lack of insight, impacting our decision making, but we couldn’t compare data from disparate sources either. What’s more, with our finance team having to input numbers manually, not only was this a very time consuming job, taking over two days a week, but there was also a large margin for error.”

“Importantly for a multi-site organisation like ours, Active Dashboards provided the ability to draw information simultaneously from multiple sources to identify opportunities and flag up any issues.”

The Solution: Implementation

Aspire installed Dynistics Active Dashboards in October 2014.

“A lot of recruitment businesses don’t have the competence or capacity to build a dashboard themselves, so having the ability to install and immediately build sets Active Dashboards apart. That said, until the end of last year we were using it in conjunction with our existing system. While not ideal, it was important for the business that we first fully reconciled our revenue reporting which took some time. However, Dynistics has such great experience and industry knowledge, the team was indispensable in helping us to make the transition. We finally made the break to using Dynistics exclusively at the end of last year.”

The outcomes

The implementation of Active Dashboards has enabled Aspire’s day-to-day processes to be more agile, particularly with regards to its finance department.

“With recruiting a numbers-driven profession, it’s vital you can hone in on the figures that really matter. Now, we are much more sophisticated in terms of data reporting than ever before. With constant access to information, we estimate we save around two days a week, equivalent to over 100 working days every year.”

Improved personalisation

Another area where Aspire felt let down by its old solution was the lack of personalisation. Fortunately, Active Dashboards provide both the flexibility to allow for customisation and the ability to drill down into any chosen area of the business enabling team leaders and individual recruiters to decide on the KPIs most relevant to their specific areas of work rather than overloading them with irrelevant data.

“Whilst it was possible to build our own dashboards before, this was a clunky and costly process and Dynistics offered a massive cost advantage over our current provider. Active Dashboards provided the tools and flexibility for us to create our own tailor-made dashboards, pulling in data from wider sources and getting them up and running very quickly. This provided a far more tailored and effective alternative to our old system.”

Client-focused

Looking forward, Active Dashboards would also provide a valuable way for Aspire to enhance existing relationships with clients. The implementation of secure online portals would allow the company to log in and view current status and progress updates whenever and wherever it wished, negating the compilation of lengthy reports by its recruitment team and providing a clear picture of historical, current and future outcomes.

“Although this is one area still in development, essentially we want to create a seamless process that brings both ours, and our clients’ businesses, closer together. Our plan is that in the future, Active Dashboards will enable us to strengthen client relationships, maximise business opportunities and deliver best practice.”

Increased team motivation 

Employee motivation is critical to sustaining revenue growth. Having had a previous reliance on spreadsheets in its finance department, Aspire wanted to streamline its financial reporting to give senior managers fast access to the real-time information it needed to operate more efficiently.

“We recognised the benefits of linking multiple sources for analysis and reporting, to get a clearer picture of recruiter performance and to inform marketing and social media planning.

Another consideration is the future implementation of Active Scoreboards. These would provide Aspire with the ability to showcase and share results, celebrate successes business-wide to improve staff engagement and drive profitable results.

“These would provide us with the ability to deliver an instant and complete picture of team performance. Everyone could see both how much time we devote to clients, and how much revenue we get back from them. It would also mean it was also possible to see which activities, such as social media, have the greatest impact on candidate engagement, enabling us to make evidence-based, timely decisions to improve operational performance and uncover additional revenue opportunities fast.”

The Future

Big data, when harnessed effectively, saves recruiters time and ensures that vacancies are filled by the right individuals more quickly and that candidates are matched with the right role.

“One of our key goals is for Aspire to be seen as the market leader in our chosen sectors and we are confident that Active Dashboards can assist us in achieving this,” concludes Chris.