A brief introduction: who you are and what is your role?
Helen Takla, I am a Resourcing Consultant and been working for Thomas Cook for ten years.
I am responsible for; looking after the senior hires in Thomas Cook, supporting the outsourced recruiting team with other recruitment solutions, managing supplier relationships and developing processes and policy.
Tell us about Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook is a holiday business and we employ 27,000 people worldwide. Each year we are responsible for taking 22 million people on holiday. Thomas Cook as a brand is made up of several different segments; UK & Ireland, Northern Europe, Central Europe. West & East Europe, Group Airline and the e-Commerce Centre of Excellence. We are responsible for over 3,000 retail outlets and operate 88 aircraft.
How is Thomas Cook adapting to the changes in the digital landscape?
Thomas Cook is very aware of the changing digital landscape which is why we developed the e-Commerce Centre of Excellence, to support all the different segments of our brand. Here at Thomas Cook we are focusing on ensuring that everyone in the business is digitally savvy, even those that don’t work within a specific digital role.
When Harriet Green was appointed as Chief Executive she said that ‘our vision was to become the voyager android of the future’ and part of this vision is making sure that we embrace technology to deliver web brilliance and quality to customers. One of our targets moving forward is to grow web and digital sales.
Some of our main focuses moving forward include:
Creating a Worldclass Online User Experience
To excel in Mobile
Delivering inspiring content
Optimise the API landscape
To lead Thomas Cook into digital.
How has it changed what you look for in candidates?
We are still looking for people who are very talented and dynamic but we now need people who can also drive transformation and change. The focus moving forward is on growing our online channels. Whilst the core competencies remain the same it’s now about making sure that candidates skills are up to date as the landscape changes so quickly and that the bring with them a hunger to take on these targets. One of our main focuses is to build a CRM function which is an area that we’re trying to up-skill in.
Where do you see the biggest demand for skills in the next three years?
On the user experience side, the reason for this is because I think the product can be quite complex. It isn’t like selling a traditional project in a shop, there are so many variables. Our e-Commerce Centre of Excellence is designed to help us manage this
I recruit a lot of temporary roles for you, has the need for temporary staff increased?
Yes, absolutely the need for temporary staff has definitely increased since I’ve been here. And where we are at the moment dictates that we need an interim solution more than ever, because we are going through a transformation as a brand the need for a more flexible workforce is more of a necessity than it ever has been.
How important is a flexible workforce?
…and how is it influencing your recruitment strategy moving forward?
Ultimately on a permanent side we want to create pipelines of candidates available and that we can recruit directly in the future whilst still retaining strong relationships with our third party suppliers for hard to fill roles or where we need to move quickly.
However in terms of interim recruitment, we are relying on agencies for interim solutions more then ever before and certainly expect that to continue in the future.
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