How an embedded recruitment model set Shippit up for success

How The Lab17 built Shippit’s internal talent capabilities during an unprecedented stage of growth.

With a change in pace of growth like that, you need to quickly establish appropriate processes for the shift in tempo.’
Mat Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer – Shippit



The Problem


Amid the Covid-19 chaos and uncertainty of early 2020, Shippit decided to freeze recruitment. They also made a number of redundancies. 


Meanwhile, their 1-person TA team began focusing solely on looking after existing employees.


‘We were having a huge downturn in the economy that would seriously impact our customers.’


What no one expected, however, was the explosion in online shopping.


Of course, pundits had predicted a short-term rise in e-tailing. Just not the 5+ year acceleration we saw across the eCommerce industry!


This created an unexpected (yet welcome) scenario for Shippit: business running at 3x their normal volume.


However, capitalising on these unique circumstances needed considerable thought.


Not only were staff levels insufficient to manage the workload – their TA team had no capacity to hire anyone else.


The opportunity


‘What actually occurred was a new baseline for the industry – people began shopping online who had never done so before.’


Though uncertain, this unprecedented situation was also an incredible chance for Shippit to aggressively grow their business.


But, getting it right was crucial, says Mat.


‘If you’re growing faster than your internal capabilities, you’ll start experiencing things such as poor candidate experience, bad hires and bad onboarding,’ he explains. ’It will choke the existing team with the number of interviews and processes.


‘We wanted to avoid all those pain points.’


The solution


In August 2020, Shippit partnered with The Lab17 to solve the immediate staffing issues and lay the foundations for ongoing internal TA.


Together, they brainstormed ways to address both of these challenges, developing a list of goals which aimed to:


– Prioritise the hires that would help scale the business.

– Build, refine and optimise the interview process for scalability.

– Train the team in effective interviewing techniques.

– Partner with hiring managers and key stakeholders to clearly define job descriptions, improve interview skills and make informed recruiting decisions.

– Establish and build employer brand initiatives and collateral.

– Create a TA reporting system with supporting documentation for all activities and processes.

– Implement new Applicant Tracking Software to better document decision making.

– Establish scalable onboarding processes and job descriptions.


‘We built out a solid foundation better suited for the higher volumes of hiring, in terms of processes, systems, people and standards. We hired key players and strong leaders who had in-depth experience, helping us raise the bar and set high expectations.’
Cloë Stanbridge, Talent Director, The Lab17


The impact


Partnering with The Lab17 gave Shippit the capacity they needed to quickly design and define the roles they were recruiting for. They could also accurately assess candidates to ensure the right hire.


But, most importantly, they now had the tools, training and techniques they needed to manage their own recruiting.


‘Our internal recruiter was ready and able, but we knew we needed more capacity,’ recalls Mat. ‘Beyond this, when we increased pace, we wanted to make sure we were set up for long-term success.’


It wasn’t long before Shippit had recruited a number of quality hires, including:


– Head of People and Culture

– Head of Customer Experience

– Head of UX

– People Operations Manager

– People and Workplace Specialist

– Talent Acquisition Lead

– Talent Acquisition Manager

– Commercial Analyst

– Business Analyst

– Logistics Controller

– Logistics Coordinator


Business was booming – and Shippit had the capacity to harness it!


The Alignment


The partnership between Shippit and The Lab17 wasn’t just about getting through an aggressive phase of growth. It was about arming the Shippit team with the skills they needed to bring recruiting in-house.


‘We had to upskill our team to eventually be able to do this without The Lab17, and this type of partnership that we struck up worked incredibly well.’


Mat says one of the most important factors in the successful partnership was TheLab 17’s flexible way of working.


‘We were able to work with The Lab17 on designing an approach that was specific for Shippit’s needs,’ he says. ‘This wasn’t a one-size-fits-all line of action – instead, we made changes tailored to our values, our culture, and designed to extend our existing capabilities.’


Set up for success


Today, Shippit has a comprehensive, easily-scalable interview process.


The Lab17 has trained the team to effectively interview candidates – reducing the risk of bad hires.


They’ve also coached a Shippit team member to run training sessions on interview techniques. This is ensuring people across the Shippit team are gaining critical hiring skills and decreasing their need for external recruitment agencies.


‘I wanted and needed to instil the capabilities into our own team to sustain this hiring pace,’ explains Mat. ‘We wanted to train the team on how to do well, and set up the processes, practices and disciplines.’


The introduction of a Values Interview has further cemented Shippit’s internal hiring ability.


Now, instead of candidates meeting with one of the Shippit founders for their final interview, they sit down with someone in the Values Interview team.


This has sped up the recruiting process immensely, says Cloë, while still ensuring Shippit’s values and culture are clearly communicated to potential employees.


‘We curated questions and outcomes based on the founders’ values and company culture,’ she recalls. ’This ensures candidates are aligned with Shippit’s values and will thrive in their environment.


‘It’s also provided a great growth opportunity for the team.’

Are you considering a recruitment partner like The Lab17? Get in touch with us here.