English Adventure:
Hiring the Best Camp Staff

Every season, Japan-based English Adventure hires hard-working young people from around the world to be team leaders for its camp programs. Candidates need to be smart, friendly, and full of camp spirit. Successful staff selection sets the tone for a positive camp experience.

As the business grew, however, English Adventure needed to source more and more high-quality staff. Recruiting standards faltered, and staff problems began to surface. How could English Adventure continue to grow while maintaining the highest possible standards for its camp leaders?

Solution Design

Mission People Systems consultant Karl Pisor worked with English Adventure HR Manager Graeme Parker and the English Adventure team to undertake a comprehensive review of their recruiting and selection process. After the process had been mapped out and key strengths and weaknesses identified, MPS implemented a Web-based recruiting portal that oriented candidates and captured key information from an updated application form. MPS then built task-based software that allowed multiple interviewers to access candidate information and conduct standardized interviews.

Results

Higher standards, consistently applied. A stage-by-stage approach to evaluating candidates empowers HR staff to identify candidates who have the right values and principles to be outstanding team leaders. Each stage of the software reinforces the correct actions for that stage. The HR team focuses on asking the right questions, with the right amount of detail, every single time. Background checks are easy to confirm. References are easy to follow up. And the right staff get hired.

Candidate throughput. Before system implementation, the HR team could process about 100 candidates per season. Now, as multiple interviewers access the system to evaluate candidates, over 500 candidates per season can be assessed. This larger pool leads directly to higher quality overall.

Staff self-reinforcement. Good candidates make good staff, who then make a strong team. Staff who share English Adventure's values of camper care, hard work and team contribution just won't put up with staff who don't. Bad apples are quickly identified and removed. HR Manager Graeme Parker: "It's a big difference from what we did before. All the negatives of staff management are greatly reduced."

Great staff run great camps. With a much stronger staff pool, camp programs have a vitality that campers and their parents can feel. Customer surveys before and after system introduction clearly show that campers appreciate the difference. "Happy campers is our business," says Dave Paddock, president of English Adventure. "The campers take their experience home to their parents, who of course will tell their friends about us. Mission People Systems' solution helps us deliver a great camp experience for everyone. And that means that our business will continue to grow."

Mission People Systems listened to us and took the time to understood what we care about: making happy campers. With that goal in mind, they worked closely with us to remake our entire recruiting and selection process. With their system in place, we have more control and more visibility into each stage of a hire. We can efficiently select the best staff for our camp programs, every time. They really believe in helping us succeed, and they delivered a great solution. I can't recommend their approach highly enough.

English Adventure
HR Manager
Graeme Parker

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