Remploy supports disabled people into work at Poundland
“It’s important to us as an organisation to recruit from within our local community and for our team to reflect the diversity of our customer base.”
Ian Gaskell, Resource Manager, Poundland
Poundland has a long-established relationship with Remploy and relies on the leading disability expert to help staff its 550+ stores around the UK. The retailing concept behind Poundland’s continued success is extremely simple: it offers a range of more than 3,000 items for sale, each of which costs only £1.
Since opening its first store in Burton-on-Trent in 1990 Poundland has grown rapidly and hires around 150 people annually through Remploy to work in its stores year-round. Potential recruits are offered a work trial lasting between two days and two weeks and if Poundland feels they are a good fit they are offered a job. In addition, Poundland hires additional seasonal staff on three-month contracts over Christmas.
Through Remploy’s direct hire service Poundland has access to a group of job-ready, capable and motivated employees who have been well-briefed on what Poundland looks for in a successful employee. Ian Gaskell, Resource Manager for Poundland, explains why he turned to Remploy when looking for new recruits: “It was about offering
the opportunity as a business to candidates who would normally be overlooked during the recruitment process. It’s important to us as an organisation to recruit from within our local community and for our team to reflect the diversity of our customer base.”
But, as Poundland has discovered, it is not only about ‘doing the right thing’ but also makes sound business sense. The retailer has found that Remploy people demonstrate real commitment to the job, which is reflected in its staff turnover figures. While general labour turnover runs at between 20-35%, for those who come through Remploy the figure is just 5%. Ian Gaskell comments, “Where there are barriers preventing people from entering the workplace you need to understand what those barriers are and help people to overcome them.”
As well as drawing on its own pool of untapped talent, Remploy has developed partnerships with trusted organisations that enable it to select individuals from among their candidates to ensure a good match. And Remploy’s involvement doesn’t end once a candidate has been hired. Once Poundland has found good people it wants to keep them so Remploy’s retention programme provides store managers with all the support needed to help their new employee settle in and progress. For example, Remploy advises on disability-related issues including what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, gives legal advice on personnel matters involving staff with disabilities and helps remove any barriers preventing new recruits performing to their full potential.
“Remploy’s support for our internal Employee Relations team with long-term sickness is a valuable one although to date we haven’t had the need to use the service that much,” reports Ian Gaskell. “But in terms of candidate recruitment, the service has been good from start to finish.”
“It was about offering the opportunity as a business to candidates who would normally be overlooked during the recruitment process.”Ian Gaskell, Resource Manager, Poundland
Remploy also offers all Poundland employees – not only those recruited through Remploy – a free and confidential service delivered in partnership with Access to Work, a Department for Work & Pensions scheme, to support individuals with common conditions such as depression, anxiety or stress to remain in or return to work.
“Having our own dedicated Remploy account manager and having seen Remploy’s proven delivery for other retailers were important factors in our original decision to choose Remploy,” comments Ian Gaskell. Six years on, he says, “The relationship has undoubtedly benefited our business in both new and existing stores.”
As for the future, Ian remarks, “We plan to always include Remploy in all recruitment of colleagues across the business in line with a new recruitment process were are currently rolling out. We definitely see it as a long-term partnership.”
See how Poundland have supported disabled people into work:
Remploy is the UK’s leading provider of specialist employment services to people who experience complex barriers to work