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Consumer Products

A retailer with a difference, shaking up referencing.

How Planet Organic changed the way they reference to save their team hours.

Planet organic header image, grocery store aisle
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"It’s easy. It takes two minutes to request a reference then you’re done."


average turnaround time for completed references


of references completed outside of business hours

Planet Organic was founded in 1995 and opened the first of its retail stores with the vision of promoting health in the community, stocking organic foods, beauty products and more. Now with 11 stores, a large e-commerce department and a staff of around 420, the team lives by the mantra ‘Eat Well, Live Better’ and continues to promote healthy living and good, wholesome food.

Xref caught up with Jemma Sayer, HR Co-ordinator from Planet Organic, to hear the story of how partnering with Xref has changed their references for the better.

Tell us about you

“I’ve been working for Planet Organic for around 2.5 years. I love the company for everything it stands for but especially because of the way that it encourages and supports team members in their professional development. I started as a member of the tills team and now I sit in the HR team covering a number of areas including onboarding and learning and development.”

What hiring challenges does Planet Organic face?

“Staff turnover is typically a huge issue for all retailers and it’s something that the team at Planet Organic are acutely aware of and try to manage. We do our best to retain our staff by offering great packages including competitive salaries, amazing benefits, professional development, the opportunity to take part in farm walks and other activities and training.

Xref references are a part of this piece; they allow us to double check that our candidates are aligned with our values and a good fit to stay with the business long-term.”

Changing references for the better

“We always reference candidates after they have had a trial with the business. This gives us the opportunity of working directly with them, plus the added benefit of a previous colleague’s reference. Taking a reference check instills that extra trust in the decisions that we've made.

Before using Xref, we would ask candidates to supply names and contact details of referees then send them an email template to complete a reference, which wasn’t without its challenges. The manpower involved in collating information, drafting emails and chasing references was enormous. This would take days, if not weeks, of our time.

These ‘personal’ email requests would often go ignored; they would go into a ‘to do’ folder and stay there.

I like that Xref has the structure and more formal follow-up - it gives a better response rate.

Aside from the time element, we never had assurance that the reference was genuine. Xref tracks IP addresses and that extra security measure allows us to trust the information we have in front of us

We began conversations with Xref when the HR team was just four people with an enormous workload; Xref seemed an obvious fit to remedy these issues.”

What impact has using Xref had for Planet Organic?

“Every business, now more than ever, is conscious of how they spend their time. It sounds cliche but time really is money.

Xref just saves so much time. It’s easy. It takes two minutes to request a reference then you’re done. The platform does all the hard work for you. I cannot imagine having to do it the old way.

In terms of productivity, Xref has made a big difference to my life. Onboarding new hires involves a lot of admin and takes a lot of time; Xref eliminates one of the more onerous tasks.”

Planet Organic is a retail business with a difference, positively impacting the environment and their customers’ health every day. The team are now enjoying an average turnaround time for references of 32 hours - from the time the candidate is asked for reference details, to the time the report is finalised and saved securely in Xref. This includes 99% of references being completed outside of business hours, with referees enjoying the freedom to complete a reference at a time that is convenient for them.

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