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We stopped trying to crowbar people into a role needing filled

The problem

Furniture company Rattan Direct faced a challenge when it came to hiring senior staff for ecommerce roles. For someone to oversee an online sales strategy, the business needed an expert with a lot of experience and advanced skills, but expectations were high and there weren’t many options in the market.

The company had employed several people in a similar role in the past, to varying levels of success – but many of the particularly skilled specialists were choosing to go freelance over a full time in-house role.

The solution

The team at Rattan Direct had mixed skill levels in marketing and ecommerce, so the company were keen to put a strong senior resource in place to support junior staff.

Rather than lowering hiring expectations, the team adopted a policy of investing in senior specialist consultants. The specialists would come into the business several times a month and work with the internal teams, offer mentorship and help put strategies in place. As founder Robert Fernandez put it, if some of the best talent on the market is freelance, then the company had to adapt its strategy to work with that talent.

Rattan Direct also used the consultants to identify which in-house roles were missing. In the past, the company struggled to assess people in the recruitment process because it didn’t have the specialist expertise being recruited for. With tailored help, Rattan Direct could identify which skills were needed and how to qualify them.

The results

Rattan Direct’s 38 staff members responded “very positively” to the change, according to Fernandez. This is in part because they can up-skill in areas that management traditionally hadn’t been able to teach them.

Fernandez believes a clear overall strategy helped the business to progress and he’s confident he can now focus on areas he’s strongest in, rather than trying to cover skills gaps.

“Some of the strongest talent on the market is freelance today, particularly when it comes to digital skills. We need to embrace the changing nature of the market rather than trying to shoehorn someone into an in-house role they don’t really want or settling for someone who lacks the right skills,” said Fernandez.

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