Posted on 07 Jul 2016

The Challenge

Michael Hill exists to craft distinct and appealing jewelry, which has been the company’s goal since its founding in 1979. This dedication has led to tremendous growth over the last 30 years; the company currently has more than 300 stores across New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States, employing 2,400 individuals across these locations.

Today, Michael Hill remains focused on an aggressive growth vision – to open 1,000 stores globally. But achieving this goal has proven to be challenging. For one, the company initially missed identifying several nuances between Australian HR policies and methods and those of its North American locations, such as the differences between employee leave policies (four weeks paid vacation in Australia and New Zealand, compared to two weeks in Canada and anywhere from zero to 10 days in the U.S.).

Not being able to recruit the right local talent at the start and thereby create a positive candidate experience tailored to the culture of each market, was another obstacle. Michael Hill initially relocated senior staff from Australia and New Zealand to its Canadian stores; yet, by doing this they missed out on local market knowledge that in hindsight could have resulted in quicker success. Combined with a lack of brand awareness, the company felt like a startup in Canada and U.S., rather than the established business it really is, which made it difficult to attract customers and employees.

In the nutshell, the company faced numerous challenges adopting the appropriate, country-specific human resources and talent management practices and systems when globalizing their organization.

“It’s a system that allows us to start up in any country, it works really well for us.” Louise Morrison, Group Human Resources Manager, Michael Hill

The Focus

To address these challenges, Michael Hill adapted to the situation by researching how other Australia/New Zealand-based companies have expanded into the Canadian and U.S. markets and learn from their experiences. They also realised the need to ask for assistance and build partnerships with organisations that could help them achieve success. In addition, Michael Hill committed itself to a strategy of ‘try and learn’ – learning on the go and picking up valuable lessons from mistakes. This also entailed understanding that just because something works in one region doesn’t mean it will work in another.

To help it address the challenges of multi-national talent management and to automate the processes crucial to its expansion plans, particularly recruiting, Michael Hill recognised the need for a technology solution that catered specifically for international expansion. It engaged with PageUp to benefit from its established and successful global footprint in the talent management and recruitment technology space. Not only did PageUp empower the company to manage all recruiting activities from its single software platform, but it also helped Michael Hill to account for local nuances and workflows within it, to reflect the talent acquisition requirements of each market. In addition, the PageUp solution helped the company drive efficiencies and unlock the use of its global Michael Hill team; if a recruiter in Canada is away, a company recruiter in Australia could step in to manage their workload.

“PageUp fundamentally understands our business. It’s great to work with a partner that understands the requirements of our business.” Tony Lum, Group Learning & Development Manager, Michael Hill

The Solution

Since implementing the PageUp Recruitment platform, Michael Hill has benefited from numerous advantages. For one, the company has greater process consistency across its global operations, while still maintaining the crucial ability to localise those processes where required. Michael Hill is also able to provide an improved candidate experience by adapting to the needs of the local workforce and supporting their culture. And with enhanced global reporting, the company can track and manage business and recruiting efforts, making it easier to demonstrate its success to its board.
By using the PageUp platform, Michael Hill is better equipped to support its rapid growth and global expansion, without the need to increase recruiter headcount. As a result, the company is well equipped to advance towards its goal of opening 1,000 stores globally, with the flexibility to support its continued growth into the online retail space.