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Case study

Odysea: Gaining a recruitment process fit for the 2020s

February 9, 2024

As a fast paced small business, Odysea relied on face-to-face interviews. When COVID-19 hit, a string of bad hires made them re-evaluate their entire recruitment process and look for an added data point to help them make more informed hiring decisions.

Using Thrive, they were able to reduce their employee turnover, improve communication between managers and employees, and support individuals in their development journeys.

Who is Odysea?

Odysea have been supplying authentic Greek food and fine Mediterranean specialty ingredients for over 30 years.

They first started using Thrive in June 2021.

What did they want to achieve?

Avoid a quick employee turnover and make the hiring process more robust.

What were their challenges?

Pre-COVID, Odysea had a recruitment process they were happy with. According to Athena Gourdoumbas, Director at Odysea, they screened CVs, interviewed, and made a decision. But then the pandemic started, and things took a turn for the worse. “We had some really bad experiences, just before and during COVID, with hiring through recruitment agencies,” Athena explained. “We had to let three or four people go in a matter of three or four months, and then we saw that perhaps our hiring process had to be updated to fit this new era.”

“We suddenly couldn’t invite people in [to the office] for an interview,” she elaborated. “People were working remotely or moved out of London, and we needed to find a way to put another screening stage which would help us understand more about the candidate, when we could only interview them over Zoom.”

“We saw that our hiring process had to be updated to this new era.”

“While we’re all a lot better at video calls, there’s something about meeting someone physically that gets lost sometimes without that face-to-face interaction,” Jessica Brewer, HR Consultant for Odysea concurred. “We needed to add robustness to the process, to allow us to ask more detailed questions that get under the surface, and also tailor the interview to the individual rather than having just standardised questions that we’re asking everybody.”

Solution: Thrive’s market-leading assessments

In order to combat that quick employee turnover they experienced, together with the challenges in adapting to the remote working world, Odysea decided to re-evaluate their recruitment process. “At that exact time, in the middle of COVID and the Brexit challenges, we were approached by Thrive,” Athena explained. “Psychometrics were getting raised more and more in the press, and it was becoming clearer that it’s not just for big companies and for the City, but also for normal, small-medium companies like us.”

“Thrive gave us a really good introductory offer and we were very much interested,” Athena added. “After we used it and saw the benefits of it, we renewed our Thrive subscription, and now we’ve completely incorporated it into our HR, onboarding, and hiring processes.”

“It was becoming clearer that psychometrics are not just for big companies and for the City, but also for normal, small-medium companies like us.”

Their process now includes screening CVs, having a screening phone call, inviting to a first stage interview, and then the successful candidates go through the Thrive assessment, followed by a final interview. Odysea are also using the Thrive assessments in their onboarding process and in regular feedback sessions. “Occasionally, there are certain employees who like to see whether they’ve improved, so we use spare assessments for this,” Athena said. “Another way we’d use it is when someone wants to move departments, we use a Thrive test for that department to assess whether they’d be a good fit and what they’d need to work on to reach that.”

“This year, we’re even offering a team building day where the employees can choose a role we have on the books and do the psychometric assessment for it, as a fun team building experience.”

The results

“Thrive has helped us make better hires.”

Streamlined recruitment process

One of Odysea’s goals was to reduce their high employee turnover due to a few bad hires at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. When they re-evaluated their recruitment process, they realised they needed an added layer of data to replace the ‘human touch’ of face-to-face meetings. “Right about then we got a call from Thrive, and we thought, as we’re also growing, this could be a good opportunity to diffuse the hiring process and give more responsibility to the managers,” Athena said. “Thrive has streamlined the hiring process for us. It’s made us more autonomous as a company, we’re not that dependent on third party recruitment agencies.”

“Thrive has streamlined the hiring process for us. It’s made us more autonomous as a company, we’re not that dependent on third party recruitment agencies.”

“While we need to recognise that we’ve also been able to be in person a lot more in this period, I think Thrive has helped us make better hires,” Jessica added. “Our hires recently have been really strong, and we’ve been able to bring them on board well, and Thrive has definitely contributed to that.”

Jessica wanted to emphasise that Odysea used Thrive as an additional data point, rather than a decisive factor. “It’s not like there’s a weakness and there’s nothing that people can do to adapt in business environments to overcome this. But during the hiring process, you need to be able to get to the stories of when and how they’ve actually done that. It creates another layer at the second stage interview which is really beneficial, especially when you’re not physically with someone.”

Achieved more robust hiring practices

But the Thrive assessment isn’t just another data point. It’s also a non-human data point, which is scientifically valid and reliable. Athena and Jessica believed that, thanks to the Thrive assessment, they’ve been able to contend with unconscious bias more effectively.

“The Thrive assessment helps to eliminate bias,” said Jessica. “It provides the interviewer with information ahead of the interview to explore - both the candidate's strengths and their opportunities for development. Thrive allows the interviewer to explore the candidate's self-awareness with a greater depth and be prepared for their own biases.”

“Thrive allows the interviewer to be prepared for their own biases.”

“It’s very easy for people to hire people who are like them,” Jessica elaborated. “Thrive allows you to approach the question with a little bit of data behind you, to be a bit critical of how you’re choosing somebody. It’s really important from the point of view of hiring a diverse team, which is good for any business.”

Enhanced onboarding experience

For Odysea, the Thrive assessment plays an important role in the onboarding process as well as the hiring stage. “Being able to work with a manager about how they can support a new person coming in and make sure that we do our best to recognise potential development opportunities, how we communicate with them, how we coach them, how we support them with training, is really valuable,” Jessica explained. “It allows us to tailor the onboarding process to the person, and also gives the manager a different level of understanding which allows them to communicate and give feedback in a way that is heard.”

“Thrive’s assessments are a development opportunity that isn’t just a tick box on your job description.”

In the onboarding process, Jessica said that she tried to understand what potential weak points may clash with the role or the team, and tackle those head on. “If there are any concerns following the report we’re aware of them.  This means we consider how we can give that feedback early on or what behaviours we might want to course-correct if we start to see them developing, and we support managers in doing that during the process of onboarding.”

“It’s very useful to have development opportunities for people that aren’t just a tick box on your job description,” Jessica added. “By adding this into the onboarding process, it creates a much stronger relationship between the manager and the person coming in.”

Improved candidate experience

With every brilliant hire there are always a few unsuccessful candidates, sometimes just as brilliant. The Thrive assessment’s candidate report — separate from the employer’s report — was seen as an opportunity to enhance their candidate experience. “It’s always difficult to tell candidates when they haven’t been successful, especially when you are in a situation where you have two candidates that you really like and you have to choose one over the other,” Jessica agreed.

“We recognise that it takes time for people to put in applications, it’s quite a difficult thing to have to do, so to be able to offer the candidate report and give them the option of getting that feedback is a really nice thing to be able to do, and this is in line with the ethos of the business as well.”

“It’s easy enough for anybody to use and get something out of Thrive.”

“I’m a big advocate for psychometric tools, and I’ve used lots of different ones,” Jessica added. “What’s really useful with Thrive is that it’s easy enough for anybody to use and get something out of it. I like its simplicity.”

Interested to hear how Thrive can help you produce similar results? Book a demo with us today.

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