Mercy Ships Streamlines Volunteer Recruitment with Portal 2:55 min
Mercy Ships Streamlines HR Processes and Volunteer Applicant Experiences with OutSystems
Mercy Ships deploys hospital ships to some of the world’s poorest countries, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need. Poised to launch a second hospital ship, the Global Mercy, early in 2021, Mercy Ships needed to double its volunteer recruitment effort.
With the help of OutSystems, Mercy Ships now has an end-to-end digital volunteer recruitment system that provides a great experience for volunteers and saves time and effort for the Mercy Ships recruitment staff.
- Operational Efficiency
- Web Apps & Portals
- Workplace Innovation
Double Volunteer Recruitment Without Doubling the Trouble
Mercy Ships is a faith-based international development organization that deploys hospital ships to some of the world’s poorest countries, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need.
Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 56 countries, providing services valued at more than £1.2 billion over the past 40+ years. In recent years the charity has had one hospital ship in service called Africa Mercy.
But early in 2021, Mercy Ships will launch the world's first purpose-built civilian hospital ship, "Global Mercy", more than doubling the charity's surgical and training capacity. Recruitment—which was already a global year-round effort—needed to scale to 3,500 volunteers annually. The charity will need to process over 7,000 applications annually to crew both ships fully.
"Every year, Mercy Ships draws volunteers from more than 40 countries, including medical professionals, mariners, teachers, and other professionals," explains Heather Peterson, senior director of talent acquisition at Mercy Ships. "Each role requires a unique skill set, and our exhaustive selection process was time-consuming for our staff as well as candidates."
In 2013, Mercy Ships had replaced its paper-based application process with a volunteer portal built with OutSystems. That project took just six months, and by simplifying the application process, the portal helped decrease time-to-hire by 20%.
But with recruitment set to more than double, Heather and her team needed to streamline the end-to-end application and selection process to be much faster but no less thorough.
"Because we were already familiar with OutSystems, we were confident we could make that happen on time and budget while enhancing the volunteer application experience even further," explains Heather.
Why Mercy Ships chose OutSystems:
- Speed-up development and improve agility
- Deliver public-facing web applications and portals
- Deliver workflow/case management apps
Dynamic Application Forms and Candidate Selection Workflows
A project team of eight—four from HR, and four from Information Services— started work in October 2019. They had two main objectives; improve the application experience for candidates and streamline the review and selection process for recruiters.
Firstly, the team replaced the generic application form with one that dynamically adjusts for the applicant's role. This improves the applicant experience and ensures all role-specific information—such as evidence of qualifications—are submitted before the application goes to the recruitment team.
Secondly, the team developed an application review system with workflow support for the multi-stakeholder candidate selection process. "In the past, candidate selection involved a lot of back and forth emails between colleagues," explains Heather. "We needed a database and workflow capability, integrated with our HR system, that would eliminate unstructured emails and file attachments."
The project team delivered an integrated end-to-end recruitment solution that went live in April 2020. "The backend was easier to build than the original volunteer portal because we could reuse much of the previous development," explains Heather.
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Happier Volunteer Candidates, Happier Staff Members
The new system ensures that the application review process flows seamlessly from application initiation to application approval or rejection. Instead of sending documents to various parties via email, application submissions and reviews now advance automatically, step-by-step within the portal, ensuring that all requirements are met before a volunteer's application advances to the next stage.
Before, the review process required at least one hour of data entry by the lead reviewer for each candidate. Now, the same process takes five minutes—92% faster—because the system has all the information entered by candidates in a ready to review format.
The global system makes it easy for Mercy Ships employees in any country to find the applicant details that they need. "Collaboration between different offices and locations is now much easier," says Heather.
Heather describes the user experience improvement enabled by OutSystems as "game-changing." "Providing a brilliant first impression to our applicants is important," says Heather. "Not only is the application process easy to use on any device, it now perfectly presents the Mercy Ships brand."
The bottom line - Mercy Ships now provides volunteers and staff members with faster, more productive, and enjoyable user experiences and can process volunteer applications more efficiently. All of which helps their mission to deliver more vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need.
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