ABBCO Service Corporation: Full Applicant Management Using Applicant Tracking System and Onboarding Solutions

Moving from manual, paper processes towards streamlined, technology-driven processes makes sense in just about every aspect of your operations. As a contract cleaning or security company, streamlining processes across your back office and frontline operations is key to keeping already tight margins, caused in part by high labor costs and aggressive competition in the market, profitable. To really streamline your processes, you should start at the beginning with your recruiting and onboarding practices by implementing an applicant tracking system and onboarding solution, also known as ATS software.

When St. Louis, Missouri-based building service contractor, ABBCO Service Corporation, saw a need to begin shifting manual, paper processes to digital methods, they began with aspects of their financial, operations, and workforce management systems. They tackled these first priorities by using WinTeam, TEAM Software’s cloud-based holistic software solution built specifically for building service contractors specializing in facility maintenance and janitorial services, like ABBCO. Quickly, their plan for process improvements expanded to include their recruiting practices through Hire by WorkWave, TEAM Software’s applicant tracking system (ATS) and onboarding software solution. When Alison Richars, ABBCO’s human resource and safety director, joined the company in spring 2017, ABBCO had already implemented Hire by WorkWave, but had only delved into job posting functionalities focused on recruitment. Richars recognized an opportunity to improve a number of other hiring and onboarding processes to create more efficiencies for ABBCO, while simultaneously improving their prospective applicant and new employees’ hiring experiences.

As an ATS, Hire by WorkWave acts as a single source platform that can post a job (or job advertisement) to multiple sources, including high-traffic pay-for performance recruitment advertising networks, as well as free job boards and social media sites. As interested candidates apply, their applications flow directly back to Hire by WorkWave where applicants from multiple job boards can be managed in one place. This integrated, seamless and digital shift was an exciting change for ABBCO, who previously had done a lot of this work manually.

“We could not have continued on in a paper and pencil way,” Richars said. “Hire by WorkWave has helped set us up for future growth. Not only is our process more efficient, it is simply a lot easier.”

From a recruiting standpoint, ABBCO rarely needs to post jobs anywhere other than through the Hire by WorkWave system, as it generates the applicants they need. And from an onboarding and continual human resources standpoint, it makes managing their staff, which always hovers between 650 to 700 employees, much more efficient. ABBCO didn’t want to just make the process easier — they wanted to use Hire by WorkWave as a tool to capture as much data on prospective job applicants as possible. Once implemented, Hire by WorkWave helped lessen the rate of lost prospects in ABBCO’s hiring funnel, starting with the application phase.

Now, ABBCO can capture prospective job candidate information — even if they never finished filling out an application. This is an important metric, as the rate of lost applicants continues to increase. In fact, according to a 2019 Benchmark Report by Appcast, approximately 7% of those applying through a desktop station complete a job application through completion, with just under 5% of mobile applications being finished through completion; a trend the report denotes is consistent over of the course of recent years. These lost applications can be attributed to a number of things, from technical difficulties to dissatisfaction with the way an application is setup.

Regardless, ABBCO viewed this as critical information lost.

“The fact of the matter is, individuals are called away from a job application for a variety of reasons, and often it has nothing to do with their qualifications or viability to perform that job well,” Richars said. “We didn’t want to lose out on great candidates that fit our specified listing simply because their application session ended. [TEAM’s] Hire by WorkWave enables us to leverage what information we do know about those job seekers and push them forward through our hiring process.”

ABBCO captures this data from job candidates through Hire by WorkWave’s Prospects feature. This functionality captures the basic application and candidate information requested through quick-apply job boards like Indeed, Facebook and Zip Recruiter. Even if the candidate doesn’t bother to fill out ABBCO’s entire application, there is a record and point of contact to resume the hiring process, if desired. Hire by WorkWave recognized this as a value-added data need for their customers and added functionality to be able to hire someone who has partially completed an application in addition to applicants who have completed the application process from start to finish.

“One of the great things we’ve experienced with Hire by WorkWave is their ability to troubleshoot problems or improvements that we need,” Richars said. “We hire from our prospect pool enough that we didn’t want to lose any data visibility over those candidates. We needed our applicant tracking system to accommodate hiring a prospect, instead of our team having to revert to manual processes.”

Hire by WorkWave created a functionality that allows ABBCO’s prospects to retroactively finish their lost application, allowing a continuous, uninterrupted stream of recruitment data. Digitizing hiring efforts also adds value to the prospect or applicant. Though corporate headquarters are in St. Louis, ABBCO’s job sites spread across the Midwest and Southeastern United States. Richars identified barriers potential job candidates were presented with when using a more manual hiring process. If an applicant needed to fill out an application in person, it would require a trip to headquarters, then subsequent visits for each step of the hiring process — from interviews to processing; uniform and equipment pickup. By lessening this access barrier on potential job candidates through digitized processes, Richars estimates that ABBCO has seen at an increase of at least 20% of job candidates being retained throughout the hiring process who otherwise would have abandoned the process earlier on. This has also driven other changes, including potential or new hires meeting with managers directly at their future jobsite, a tactic that often allows new hires to be better prepared for their first day of work.

As a side effect of digital processes, ABBCO has also experienced shortened turnaround time of required, mandatory documentation from newly hired employees. Previous processes often required managers in the field to handle direct report paperwork and funnel it to the back office upon receipt. This process was cumbersome, with managers having to track document status manually, and as most manager’s worked from a remote (job site) office, paperwork often had to wait until their next office visit. Now that all employee information is sent and stored digitally, employees have the capabilities to complete paperwork on their own time and return with a click of a button from a mobile device, eliminating any extra liability of sensitive employee files sitting in transit. This time savings, in some cases, shortened a months’ long process to a matter of days. ABBCO is also able to customize the hiring process to fit a given situation or location. For example, a full-time employee based outside of ABBCO’s St. Louis job sites requires different hiring and onboarding paperwork than a part-time employee in the same area, and both are different than a fulltime or part time employee who may be a union member. Within Hire by WorkWave, ABBCO has created different categorical documentation packets to fit their employee needs.

“Between the capabilities of Hire by WorkWave and their staff, we feel like this was a huge investment-gone-right,” Richars said. “They’re experts in our fields and make the changes on their end to best serve what we need in our industry. I’d recommend this product to any building service contractor.”

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