Case Study

Scaling to 1000 employees

Atom Group plans to expand its workforce to 1,000 by 2022. To meet that recruitment need, it has recently implemented Hire to recruit across its four businesses.

Atom Group is a global pioneer in the drinks industry, encompassing the entire life cycle of spirit production, from brand development to retail sales. In 2017, it was the only spirits company listed in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, a national league table that ranks the top 100 private British companies with the fastest-growing sales over the past three years.

Atom disrupts the drinks industry with three separate businesses: Atom Brands, Maverick Drinks, and Master of Malt, all supported by a fourth business support function, Atom Nucleus.

  • Atom Brands is the hub for drinks development. As a producer of world-class spirits brands, Atom Brands was named the IWSC Gin Producer of the Year and The Spirits Business magazine’s Grand Spirits Master in 2017.

  • Maverick Drinks is a distributor for the UK's finest spirits. Its focus on quality led to Maverick Drinks being named the IWSC Spirits Distributor of the Year in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

  • Master of Malt is the leading online spirits retailer, carrying a wide range of distinguished whiskies from around the world, exciting gins, fine spirits, cocktail ingredients, and more. For six out of the past seven years, Master of Malt has been named Whisky Magazine's global online retailer of the year.

In 2018, every Atom Group business unit was in growth. It was an incredibly exciting time, with commercially successful innovation flowing right across the company. Atom Brands had significant momentum behind its product portfolio, increasing numbers of third-party brands wanted to work with Maverick Drinks, and Master of Malt continued to win new customers through its relentless focus on service and product offering. To truly harness the potential of all the activity, the team needed to grow, and fast. From the 160 employees at the start of 2018, Atom Group set the target to grow to 1,000 people by 2022. To make this rapid growth possible, the company needed a new system to upscale recruitment and ensure organised, efficient, and fast-moving processes.

Handling a team’s worth of admin

At the beginning of 2017, Atom's hiring needs were less urgent. With no more than five open job positions at any time, the company managed to operate with a cumbersome hiring process—uploading every resume submitted into a separate Google Document before passing it on to the hiring manager to review, reject applicants, or request interviews as required.

This system worked until Atom set greater hiring targets. Growing to 1,000 people meant hiring six or seven people per week. The manual process of uploading resumes for that many positions was no longer feasible.

“We already know that Google Hire is just so much more efficient. Before, we would be copying and pasting emails, individually contacting every single candidate who applied to let them know their hiring outcome”

We already know that Google Hire is just so much more efficient. Before, we would be copying and pasting emails, individually contacting every single candidate who applied to let them know their hiring outcome

Marina Warren

Head of People at Atom Group

“It was inefficient and cumbersome” said Marina Warren, Atom's Head of People. “Flurries of emails were coming in every night - about 120 applicants. Someone would have to sit there and cut and paste the details into a spreadsheet.”

Marina was left with two options; doubling Atom’s recruiting team to help manage the manual process of copying and pasting applications and emailing candidates or having a slow recruitment service. Worse still, the process of sharing resumes through Google Docs was flawed: hiring managers were forgetting to check resumes, even accidentally deleting items or making unwanted changes.

As a technology-driven company, Atom opted to find a hiring tool specifically developed to handle this administrative work as well as to engage new employees quickly. A main priority was to keep things efficient. There was also a cultural aspect to their choice; Atom are heavily focused on user experience and were drawn to Google who shared this value. The company was already working through Google Docs and Gmail, so liked the idea of using Google's dedicated applicant tracking system – Hire by Google – to manage the hiring process.

“We already know that Google Hire is just so much more efficient. Before, we would be copying and pasting emails, individually contacting every single candidate who applied to let them know their hiring outcome,” said Marina. “With Hire by Google, the team can complete all of that with the touch of a button. It's done in seconds.”

By setting up Hire by Google, Atom fixed its cumbersome recruiting process while saving significant time and resources in the process.

Providing a fast onboarding process

Atom was already using G Suite before adopting Hire, so the team has been able to integrate Hire into its workflow quickly and seamlessly. As well as recruiters and the People Team, hiring managers are using Hire extensively, and so far it's proved easy for everyone to use. “We haven't really needed to roll out any training,” said Elaina Griffiths, Recruiting Manager at Atom. “Adding new users involves a couple of clicks and onboarding takes a few minutes, because the system is so intuitive. We have set up a candidate workflow to match our recruiting process, so it is simple and logical for hiring managers to follow. You review an application, and can simply click ‘yes’ or ‘no’... It's very, very easy.”

Consolidating four separate hiring processes

In addition to setting the goal to grow its team to 1,000 employees, Atom has another hiring challenge – recruiting across four separate businesses simultaneously.

“The ability to publish and update roles directly from Hire by Google and automatically update the Atom Group careers pages – four separate websites – has been a big win for us,” said Elaina. “It cuts out a huge job for our web developers.”

Besides removing the technical challenges of this integration, Hire makes it easier for Atom to assess the wide variety of candidates across all four businesses. “We're hiring for all areas of the Group, from customer service representatives to software developers and sales. And since we're a drinks company, we're hiring into industry-specific, niche roles too, in functions such as liquid production” added Elaina.

Hire offers us the ability to auto-scan any CV and to create, populate and review a candidate profile quickly

Michael Munroe

People Operations & Data Manager at Atom Group

Atom has been able to review each of these diverse candidate types with Hire's CV-scanning feature. “This enables the team to auto-scan any CV and populate information into their profile, for example, work history, contact details, and education history,” said Michael Munroe, People Operations and Data Manager at Atom. “It quickly gives us a top-level view of each candidate.”

On track for rapid growth

After a few months of using Hire by Google, Atom's hiring process is organised and streamlined. Instead of manually copying and pasting applications, Atom now uses Hire to handle the administrative side of recruitment across its four businesses. As a result, Atom has more time to focus on improving its candidate experience, enhancing brand advocacy with quicker time to attract and hire, and reaching its target of growing to 1,000 employees over the next few years.

“Before implementing Hire by Google, candidates were falling through the cracks of a manual process,” said Elaina. “Since moving to Hire, every application is acknowledged and hiring managers are able to screen and share feedback efficiently, enabling faster responses, greater levels of candidate care and a smoother recruiting process for all involved.”