When you plan to increase your workforce by 20% and you already employ 400,000 people, logistics become a challenge. It's hard enough for many companies to add a few workers, let alone 80,000 across 2,284 stores.
That's the challenge facing Home Depot (NYSE:HD) as it looks to hire 80,000 more workers for both full- and part-time positions for its busy spring season. To put that number in perspective, it would equal roughly 35 new employees that would have to be hired at each location.
Of course, the jobs won't all be in stores, some will be at distribution centers. That, however, does not change the magnitude of the task the company faces. To assist with its goal, Home Depot has created some new human resources tools.
What is Home Depot doing?
The home improvement retailer has launched a new digital tool that allows applicants to schedule their own job interviews. Once a candidate has completed an application for an open job, he or she can simply pick from available interview times. This takes a step out of the process, allowing jobs to get filled faster, and about 80% of candidates have been using the tool since a pilot of it launched in November, according to the company.
"Just as we're continuously evolving to meet the changing expectations of our customers, we're harnessing new technologies to do the same for job seekers," said Home Depot Human Resources Executive Vice President Tim Hourigan in a press release. "This consumer-like experience helps us hire the best talent to serve our customers."
This change follows Home Depot's effort to simplify its application and make it available on more platforms. The chain now offers a 15-minute application along with the ability to apply on mobile devices and via text, and said it has seen a 50% increase in applications since those tools were launched.
More than just hiring
Home Depot has also devoted resources to improving its onboarding experience. The retailer has created what it calls "PocketGuide," a mobile app that "leverages gamification to help associates learn while they're in the aisles."
The app lets workers learn as they go and cuts down on the need for "backroom training," according to the company. Home Depot plans to use it to train workers in its garden department in the spring and will expand it to more areas later in the year.
In a job market where labor has become increasingly in short supply, it's very smart to make the application process as easy as possible. And, for a company that grows seasonally by such large numbers, efficiency saves money and keeps Home Depot from losing out to faster-moving, smaller players.
These simple moves should allow the company to have a better shot at quickly meeting its hiring needs. It's also an example of smart automation where taking humans out of the process makes the experience better for the hiring managers and the candidates.
Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has the following options: short May 2018 $175 calls on Home Depot and long January 2020 $110 calls on Home Depot. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.