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Executive Summary

A chain of luxury pet resorts has elevated care and personal attention for animals within the pet boarding and services industry. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, this new breed of organization is quickly expanding its full-service luxury pet resorts that offer traditional boarding as well as doggy daycare, personal playtime, and grooming services.

The company’s unique strategy of building its own resorts from the ground up in target areas, rather than joining existing retail buildings, allows it to build a truly luxe experience for pets and their owners — doggy pools included. But growing teams within the company needed the right combination of recruiting innovation, technology, and human connection to scale hiring effectively and quickly find qualified candidates for each resort.

A Growing Company in an Expanding Market

In a remote-first labor market, many people now own pets that may not have when they worked in offices every day. This expanded market of pet owners, especially dog owners, is full of potential clients who want to ensure that their pets get the best care when they’re away from home. This has created a golden opportunity for the company to provide something unique — a luxury home-away-from-home experience for pets.

Offering a highly engaging experience requires top-quality employees to manage the resorts, play with dogs, and perform skilled services like grooming. The resort company needed to hire qualified candidates that met certain skills and experience requirements, and were also excited to engage with animals. And they needed to find a recruiting partner that could help uncover and hire the right candidates on a growing scale.

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Providing Quality Pet Care and Services to Customers and Their Owners

The resort company provides a unique blend of luxury services that can be used daily or weekly by pet owners. Each resort location has VIP suites that pet parents can rent for longer-term stays with amenities, like a couch and a TV to make their best friends feel at home. Special services and high levels of care sets the company apart from its competitors — both with customers and job candidates.

A combination of retail, medical, and personal services make the locations a full-service resort and spa for pets. It differentiates the resorts as a place that pet owners can trust to provide the same level of care that they give their animals at home.

The pet resort company is growing at around 20% annually and is expecting this to continue over the next year.

Recruiting Challenges and Roadblocks Prior to NXTThing RPO

Finding Qualified Candidates Quickly Felt Impossible

A full-service pet resort requires all kinds of employees to help keep it running smoothly. It often needs candidates that meet a specific set of skills, experience, or even certifications. The pet boarding industry is highly seasonal, peaking in the summer and winter holidays when people go on vacations. So seasonal hiring is also essential for the pet resorts.

The company needed to ramp up recruiting efforts to find qualified candidates for its quickly growing operations. A consistent growth rate meant that its teams also needed to predict future hiring needs. Open positions varied from Playtime Coordinators to in-house Veterinarians, and the need for some roles fluctuated based on the season.

The Most Significant Recruiting Roadblocks for the Pet Resort Company:

  • Filling highly specialized roles in a competitive market
  • Ramping up and scaling hiring efforts across multiple locations
  • Predicting and managing seasonal staffing levels

Filling Highly Specialized Roles

The pet resorts need different types of specialized roles to operate, with each role requiring a different set of skills or experience. Finding and screening candidates manually for specialized roles can take hours per requisition, and the company was having trouble finding the right employees using a traditional staffing agency.

It lacked the right resources to quickly find and hire the right qualified candidates for a variety of specialized roles in several locations.

Some Open Requisitions at the Resorts Included:

  • Regional Vet Medical Director
  • Paralegal – Real Estate
  • Director of Digital Marketing
  • Quality Control Manager
  • HR Director
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Digital Advertising Manager
  • Senior Media Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Assistant Controller
  • Senior Staff Accountant
  • Director of Talent Management
  • Regional Veterinary Manager
  • Vet Practice Manager

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Ramping Up and Scaling Hiring

With new locations opening around the Southern U.S., the pet resort teams were quickly expanding. But scaling a recruiting program can be difficult even with all the right tools. Not only was the pet resort company trying to hire for specialized roles, but it was also growing the staff in teams in different places at the same time.

Recruiting for each type of role requires a different strategy, and the company recognized that it needed a centralized solution that could help maximize hiring outcomes and scale results in all resort locations. Using a traditional staffing agency wasn’t meeting its needs to scale hiring at every resort.

52 locations the summer. in the United States are open 7 days a week for the pet resort company, with more locations expected in the future.

Managing Seasonal Staff Levels

Seasonal staffing is a long-term recruiting strategy that many companies struggle to manage. Industries like pet and retail services are highly seasonal as people go on vacations and travel to celebrate holidays. The resorts have fluctuating numbers of pet guests depending on the season, which requires different levels of staff to manage.

The company needed to not only quickly find and hire qualified talent for seasonal roles, but also the technology and strategy to predict future staffing needs. A lack of the right technology and talent networks were a roadblock for seasonal hiring at the pet resorts.

The pet resort company needs to hire around 2,000 employees per year with peak seasonal hiring during 52 locations the summer.

Solutions and Wins After Partnering with NXTThing RPO

A Reimagined Recruiting Program

With a growing need for hiring both seasonal and specialized talent, the pet resort company knew that it needed an innovative recruiting solution to meet its needs. The organization also recognized it needed support from a recruitment processing outsourcing (RPO) partner that had years of experience in recruiting as well as advanced technology to manage hiring in today’s complex market.

“Prior to us beginning the relationship, the organization had a substandard applicant tracking system. It was really something that the company had been using since it was very small, and it was not keeping up with its hiring needs.” – Terry Terhark, President, NXTThing RPO

The organization identified opportunities in the recruiting processes and took the next step in building a well-oiled hiring machine by choosing to partner with NXTThing RPO, an Employ Inc. brand. NXTThing is a leading recruitment process outsourcing company with the right resources and technology to source and hire candidates that other people can’t find. NXTThing designs and improves the HR processes of its clients, collaborating and drawing on a range of flexible RPO and talent acquisition programs and services to build the right solution for each company’s unique needs.

Together, NXTThing and the pet resort company dove into assessing the company’s current hiring process to find opportunities for improvement and identify recruiting goals.

The pet resort company saw first-hand how an experienced hiring partner like NXTThing RPO, with intelligent talent acquisition technology, could meet the company where it was and see where it had the potential to go.

Some of the company’s talent acquisition needs included:

  • Automatic candidate sourcing and pre-screening
  • Intelligent candidate skill- and experience-matching
  • An efficient, centralized communication platform
  • Hiring for specialized and seasonal roles
  • Drive business growth through hiring

Must Love Dogs: Finding the Right Candidate Every Time

Alongside NXTThing, the pet resort company found that it had unique hiring needs that required a custom solution for the business. Its unique industry position meant that every candidate needed to meet a certain threshold before even being considered. Loving pets, working well with people and animals, and providing a luxury level of customer service are all candidate must-haves for working at the company.

Each role also requires a different set of skills, availability, and even certifications to be considered qualified. These specialized needs can add difficulty to talent acquisition. NXTThing RPO uses technology from Jobvite, also an Employ Inc. brand, including automated sourcing, candidate skill matching, and intelligent messaging, to accelerate how quickly it identifies and connects with candidates.

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Intelligent Candidate Matching

Intelligent candidate skill matching helped ensure that NXTThing RPO could support the growing number of pet resorts to source candidates based on a list of required skills or experience. The technology takes a list of required skills, experience, or even certifications and finds a pool of qualified candidates from the extensive talent network.

Candidate matching is a perfect way to quickly fill a high volume of roles no matter how specialized. NXTThing has helped the company find success in recruiting for roles like Playtime Coordinator and Front Desk using automated matching software. It saves valuable time in the lengthy, and sometimes tedious, sourcing and pre-screening stages, and finds a better qualified candidate for the role

Filling Specialized Roles with Expansive Talent Networks

Skill matching isn’t always enough when hiring for specialized roles that need a little more hands-on effort to fill. The pet resort company not only needed to hire for hourly and seasonal roles, but also highly specialized roles that require degrees or certifications. As the company began to grow, so did the level of services that it offered to customers, which meant an evolved recruiting strategy.

With new roles constantly added like Groomer and in-house Veterinarian, the company worked with the NXTThing RPO team to develop a unique sourcing strategy to help find top talent quickly. NXTThing recruiters connected with specialized talent networks like universities and professional associations to help find candidates early in their job seeking journey. Access to these diverse talent pools with NXTThing RPO quickly closed the gap in finding qualified candidates for specialized roles.

Traditional Recruiting Meets Intelligent Technology

Every type of role requires a different strategy to recruit and find the right candidate. The NXTThing recruiting team uses a combined strategy of traditional recruiting methods, like posting on job boards, direct sourcing, and modern automation and AI tools, along with personal connection. This innovative talent acquisition strategy is helping the pet resort company find the right candidates for hard-to-fill roles in each location.

“Wilmington has hired some amazing staff in the past few months, so great job to the NXTThing team.” – Constantina S., Wilmington Pet Resort Manager

A World-Class Recruiting Experience

The last few years have shifted the job market. The pet resort company needed a way to scale its hiring, while competing for the best talent in the industry. Partnering with NXTThing has helped the company improve its hiring process and create a world-class experience for candidates, hiring teams, and recruiters.

NXTThing has supported the company in shortening the feedback loop between its hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates. By improving its processes and communication, the NXTThing team has been able to find a better quality of candidate in less time at a growing number of pet resorts.

Advanced Technology Improves Communication

Improved technology and a centralized platform have also helped NXTThing move candidates through the hiring funnel quicker. It has created more efficient channels of communication for candidates, recruiters, hiring teams, and other stakeholders — and saves recruiting teams hours per requisition.

Efficient, transparent communication is also improving the company’s employer brand, giving it a valuable advantage in this competitive job market. The pet resort company has employed best practices alongside NXTThing RPO to create a transparent hiring experience that candidates, hiring teams, and company executives love. Some of the recruiters’ favorite automated tools include texting, candidate pre-screening, and interview scheduling.

Exceeding Candidate Expectations

Candidates have high expectations for employers when it comes to communication, technology, benefits, culture, and DEI. It’s crucial to manage expectations between candidates, recruiters, hiring teams, and leadership before moving a candidate through the hiring process. And a unique employer, like a pet resort company, needs to prioritize transparency when recruiting.

NXTThing has helped the pet resort company prioritize transparency by honestly listing job duties and responsibilities, especially for roles like the Playtime Coordinator that require more physical work. Best practices combined with intelligent technology have empowered the pet resort company to attract, hire, and retain top talent.

Hiring teams offer onsite job shadowing, which allows candidates to get a realistic preview of their expected day-to-day role.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Today’s employees are asking for what they need from employers when it comes to salary and benefits. They expect transparency from the beginning on wages or salaries, and they aren’t afraid anymore to ask for that information immediately.

The NXTThing recruiting teams provide the pet resorts with valuable industry data and intelligence on compensation trends around each role. This service helps the resorts attract and hire top talent quickly and meet their expectations for compensation and benefits.

“We really try to offer a realistic job preview in our job descriptions.” – Recruiter, Pet Resort Company

Results: Driving Business Growth at the Pet Resort Company

The pet resort company has transformed its recruiting process with NXTThing by leveraging leading talent acquisition technology and unmatched RPO expertise. The company began a phased rollout during the last quarter of the year, escalating rollout after the first few stores to more pet resorts because of the success it was seeing. Within a few months, NXTThing was working with all locations.

NXTThing has offered a dedicated team of client relationship managers or recruiters, and also provided a support team of coordinators and phone interviewers who conduct sourcing for the pet resorts. Across the company’s 52 locations, NXTThing has delivered:

  • 84,912 candidates sourced
  • 19,637 phone interviews conducted
  • 7,018 hiring managers interviews
  • 1,965 offers made to candidates
  • 1,766 hires made across the entire pet resort company

With the organization currently growing around 20% annually, it expects this trend to continue for the coming year, and anticipates its relationship with NXTThing RPO to grow as well.

Transparency with Company Leadership

Growing companies are often intimidated by outsourcing recruiting or taking on a partner to help with hiring. NXTThing prioritized transparency with the pet resort executives early on, so that they had full visibility into the process. Key stakeholders were kept in the loop and involved in the decision-making process, so they felt at ease.

Recruiting teams kept organizational leadership in the loop as business started to grow, which allowed them to easily scale hiring and expansion. A centralized platform also allowed leadership to keep up on hiring efforts and candidate progress as well as stay in touch with hiring teams.

Transparency with Company Leadership

As the pet resorts have opened additional locations and grown their teams, the company has been able to grow its service offerings as well. Originally offering boarding and daycare, the pet resorts had the resources they needed to hire high volumes of roles quickly as well as recruit more specialized roles to expand its service offerings. The organization is now able to offer expanded services in many locations, and plans to scale to all locations. Expanded business includes valuable services offered to customers like grooming and veterinarian care.

Ultimately, as NXTThing RPO has filled nearly 2,000 hires per year for the pet resort company, the relationship continues to grow stronger. NXTThing has delivered a faster hiring process, stronger sourcing, a dedicated focus on the recruiting process, and strategic market and competitive intelligence that is unique to the pet care industry. This trust and partnership has propelled the pet resorts to accelerate growth and deliver even greater levels of business performance nationwide.

Partner with NXTThing RPO to Transform Your Recruiting

Ready to transform hiring with recruitment process outsourcing? Discover how the scalable approach and blended service model of innovation, technology, and personal connections can improve your hiring outcomes. Read about NXTThing’s uniquely positioned recruitment services here.

About NXTThing RPO

NXTThing RPO, an Employ Inc. brand, is a leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) company with the right resources and technology to source and hire candidates that other people can’t find. We design and improve the HR processes of our clients, collaborating and drawing on a range of flexible RPO and talent acquisition programs and services to build the right solution for each company’s unique needs.

Learn more at nxtthingrpo.com.