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How Kingfisher hired 68 tech roles after
10 months in a brand new market



Project overview:

As Kingfisher sought to shift away from their reliance on third party contractors, they looked to Krakow to test their reception in the Polish market with a new engineering hub. They asked Caraffi to support the test by filling an initial 20 vacancies.

To deliver on their goals, Caraffi defined a clear set of actions and outcomes: 

  • Drive an true agile culture, fuelling hires and achieving the fulfilment of the initial 20 hires 
  • Delivering constant insights, facilitating the delivery of a true test and learn process in a brand new market.  
  • Encouraging a quick, responsive implementation of new learning, including refined processes, increased flexibility, and salary benchmarking. 
  • Double the headcount of their existing team in just three months

With this roadmap to success, Kingfisher was able to elevate recruitment for the engineering hub beyond expectation. 

We are learning lessons in Krakow that we were able to translate across our other markets as well.

Kingfisher's struggle:


What were you struggling with before partnering with Caraffi?

About 18 months ago, I started to become involved in some conversations with our tech board around how we could shift our reliance on third party and direct contractors in the UK, bringing that knowledge back in-house.

Essentially, moving away from our reliance on subcontractors and building in-house teams that hold that knowledge with less movement that would result in a more reliable, stable workforce.

We looked at how we could build that out in the UK. Is there enough talent available? What is the cost of doing that? And we looked at lots of different locations alongside it as well.

Long story short, we landed at the option of Krakow in Poland to build our engineering centre, with a view to testing 20 vacancies initially to give us a sense of how we land in the market.

We were really heavily reliant on third-party and direct contractors and wanted to look at moving some of that knowledge in-house.

How did this affect your role and the job you needed to get done?

I decided that it was going to be really challenging for me and my team to resource this project on top of business as usual activity for a number of reasons.

So, resource constraints, but also capability. We didn't have any Polish speaking recruits within the team- nobody with an understanding of the Polish market.

Given that this was such a key strategic goal in our organisation, we had to get it right. It was really critical that we land this and make it work.

So we started to talk to external partners that could support us in the recruitment of the engineering team in Krakow.

What led you to Caraffi?

We spoke to quite a few vendors: some big, some small, some reasonably well known, others less so.

We put a lot of rigour into our selection process, and we engaged with lots of organisations to understand what they'd done previously and correctly as part of the conversation or part of that discussion.

We ended up on Caraffi for a number of reasons. I think we felt that there was a really good track record in this space, particularly in Krakow, but also in other European markets.

We felt there was potential to scale further should we need to in the future and we felt that there was evidence of us securing the same team or similar team throughout our project.

The brief:


What did you ask Caraffi to work on?

Put simply, the initial brief was to hire 20 people in Krakow for our engineering centre.

Alongside that, it was to give us some insights. Tell us what we're doing well and what we're not doing so well, and help us navigate the process of recruiting in a new market.

The impact:


What has been the impact of the work so far?

So that the engineering centre is one of our key strategic goals as part of a three year planning process, so it's really critical and the success of it's critical to our organisation. In ten months, we’ve surpassed our expectations with 68 hires, which is a great story for our organisation.

I think what worked really well working alongside Caraffi is that, as a business with 80 thousand odd colleagues, we sometimes aren't the best at this agile test-and-learn approach.

So while that was the brief, we don't have a history as an organisation of doing that particularly well. We really lean on Caraffi to support us in driving a true test-and-learn project. A true agile culture.

The relationships that they've had with not only me and my team, but also all our senior leaders across our tech organisation, have meant that their trust is there for us to take the insights and data and make the changes that we need to make in order to make this a success.

We are learning lessons in Krakow that we were able to translate across our other markets as well.

People are proactively coming to us as an organization and wanting to work for us, which just means that all the time that the team was spending working hard on outreach can be spent elsewhere, which is absolutely brilliant. And I think that's all part of the reason we're seeing such great numbers now in terms of our hiring.

People are proactively coming to us and wanting to work for us

How do you feel about the work that's been done so far?

It's been a really good example of the pace at which you need to make certain changes, and how successful that can make a project.

Furthermore, we have had a really good partnership with Caraffi. I see the recruitment team as a genuine extension of my team, and I speak to them really frequently.

We have very open conversations, and we are ultimately all looking out for the same thing. We all want the same goal, and we've all been driven towards it together. I think the true partnership has made this as much of a success as anything else.

What impact has working with Caraffi had on you and your team?

My team is based across the UK and France, and it's sort of been that way for quite a long time. Historically, that's always been the way, and I'm quite comfortable within that remit. Now, when we started talking about Poland, Krakow, or other markets, I was thinking “I don't know that I'm the right person in this space because I don't have the market knowledge or insights”!

What has been fabulous about working with Caraffi is that, as mentioned before, there's a real track record of delivering in different markets. With my contacts at Caraffi, I can pick up the phone and bounce things off them, and it not only drives innovation in this space but also throughout the rest of my team, where tech recruitment is so critical. We are learning lessons in Krakow that we were able to translate across our other markets as well.

So I certainly feel a lot more confident in my role and feel like we are making more of a difference because of the pace at which we're working.

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