Woolworths wanted to protect the skills of the future and look after existing employees that were likely to be impacted by the company’s significant digital transformations over the next 5-15 years. With many roles automated, their projection of a major downsizing in non-tech roles was equal to their need to drastically scale up tech-based teams in businesses like WooliesX. In 2021, the company announced a $50M Future of Work Fund to invest in new training and reskilling models.
We engaged them with a staff retraining solution based on our proven model of getting people without tech backgrounds into tech roles, and our partnership began soon after.
Woolworths Group wanted to find a way to repurpose staff within the company to minimise expected redundancies and look after their workforce. They felt that encouraging career development opportunities within Woolworths Group would positively influence company culture and help promote a more loyal and diverse workforce while reducing churn. The main challenge was that they weren’t sure how to build a structure or initiative to support this.
At the same time, WooliesX wanted to move away from being reliant on expensive senior contractors in their tech teams and move towards building up their talent from within. They wanted to take that opportunity to make sure the future they were building was much more diverse and inclusive than the industry standard. Our success rate of placing people from our open courses is what really stood out for WooliesX, especially given their experience with bootcamp-focused training programs that hadn’t delivered in the past. They needed help to better onboard emerging talent.
We designed a bespoke 3-month retraining course as a pilot program that would transition 12 people from non-tech roles within Woolworths Group into tech roles at WooliesX.
For this pilot, we targeted the Customer Hub team because of their transferable skills that easily lend themselves to tech-led roles, such as problem-solving, communication, and stakeholder management- as well as really strong connections to Woolies products and customers. We created educational messaging to inspire employees to apply and delivered weekly emails, info sessions, and a bespoke selection process aligned to WooliesX’s preferences. Our recruitment approach is based on potential rather than past experience or background, so we worked together with WooliesX to select the individuals most suited to the style and pace of our training. In 4 short weeks, we were able to attract over 100 applicants, assess their suitability and readiness for a career change, and offer 12 high-potential individuals a place on our course to become Junior Engineers at WooliesX.
OUTCOMES & BENEFITS
Our partnership enabled Woolworths Group to directly address their strategic objectives of futureproofing employee skills and retaining valuable staff. In 6 months, we were able to fully plan and implement the transition of 12 existing employees into emerging tech roles.
Commercially, the bespoke curriculum saved WooliesX significant time and resources compared to traditional recruitment practices. We’re helping them restructure their model from a dependency on contractors to purposefully supporting permanent employees and injecting more diversity into their tech spaces. The structure that is now in place for junior talent has driven a major culture shift within the WooliesX Engineering team, while also strengthening their company-wide EVP.
Our ability to drive engagement from inside helped demonstrate the positive impact of Woolworths Group’s investment in their employees. Throughout the course, employees felt wholly supported in their pursuit of a new career opportunity, which led to a considerable boost in morale and strong engagement with their training. The level of buy-in from the leadership teams, as well as our collaborative attraction campaigns, resulted in high application rates from the Customer Hub team and generated excitement around future opportunities as a Woolworths Group employee.
The success of this partnership is the perfect example of how protecting skills for the future directly fosters more diversity, resulting in commercially efficient practices and adding long-term value to a business.