Peloton – Global Retail Recruitment
In the UK, Germany and Australia, as Peloton has expanded its global presence, Zachary Daniels has been working in tandem to place almost 200 new members of the team for the connected fitness pioneer.
- Short timelines: From brief to first store openings in 1 month
- Recruitment at volume: 208 hires and counting
- 95% attrition rate: The people we hire to stay
- Commercial flexibility: We flexed our fee structure to support the client
- International retail recruitment blended with local knowledge
- Brand understanding: We ‘get’ Peloton, which has helped us recruit even in territories where the brand is relatively unknown
- Critical hires: Delivering the right people to the right timescales has helped keep Peloton’s store opening programme on track
Peloton, the connected fitness pioneer that launched in 2012 with a mission to “bring immersive and challenging workouts into people’s lives in a more accessible, affordable and efficient way”. Since then, they’ve taken the world by storm.
On Team Zachary Daniels
Adem Ismail took the lead on this project. He specialises in international recruitment.
Retail Recruitment for Peloton
Relationships matter in recruitment. You never know when they can lead to new opportunities. That was the case for Adem, who’d placed our client in a previous role and had remained in touch ever since.
The client called Adem to say he was joining Peloton. This was 2018 and Peloton wasn’t quite the household name it is now. So when the client told Adem, “We’re going to open some stores and I have some vacancies I need you to work on,” he took it in his stride and waited for the brief.
Peloton wanted to open 6 stores and would need about 45 hires including:
- 4 store managers
- 6 assistant managers
- 26 members of the sales team
…and all in under 4 weeks. As most candidates are required to give 4 weeks’ notice before leaving an employer, time was extremely tight.
Adem and his team of three recruiters set about finding the right candidates for each role.
- For each hire, Adem and his team submitted 1 or 2 fully screened and vetted CVs that he believed were “bang on or very close” to Peloton’s requirements.
- Peloton valued the approach: “If I can give them the best people in the market while requiring less effort at their end, that’s good,” says Adem.
- We agreed to a flat fee with Peloton, so they knew what they would pay us for each hire regardless of salary. That was important as the company entered the UK market because it gave them confidence we were working with their best interests at heart.
More work for Peloton in the UK has followed including:
- Recruitment for more store openings in Edinburgh and Bath.
- A Christmas/New Year fixed term contract campaign in 2019; and
- Recruitment for 8 Peloton concessions (8 managers; 40 sales assistants) in John Lewis stores, a project which meant managers needed the additional skill of being able to manage the ‘shop in shop’ model.
Recruiting for expansion into Germany and Australia
In 2019 Peloton expanded into Germany. In January of that year, Adem started his search for the Regional Manager. Following her appointment in April, Team ZD began recruitment of managers for the six proposed German showrooms.
“All managers needed to be bilingual (English/German) because they would have lots of contact with New York and London,” Adem explains. “If the candidates couldn’t converse sufficiently well with me in English, we knew they wouldn’t be right for this role.”
Australia followed. “We’ve been recruiting managers and assistant managers for two stores in Sydney and one in Melbourne,” says Adem. “We’ve also been recruiting for a number of roles into the Australia head office, including a retail operations manager and the ‘Inside Sales’ team who respond to engagement through online chat, email and phone. Of dozens of roles advertised in Australia, only six now remain to be filled.”
The Big Challenge(s)
Recruiting at volume to short timeframes is always a challenge – but frequently par for the course at Zachary Daniels.
A much greater issue was Peloton’s relative lack of profile in each of the territories we’ve helped the company enter. As Adem notes of his experience in 2018: “We were trying to sell a company few candidates had ever heard of and for which there were no existing stores in the UK. The first time they would see the store they were working in was when they turned up for their first day. That’s an issue for candidates, for whom the working environment can be a big deal – so we had to work hard to explain the brand and the ambition for it.”
Those issues have been replicated in Germany and Australia where the Peloton profile has also been in its infancy. In Australia particularly, working around time differences has also required careful management. “Fortunately, you do get a couple of windows when we’re all awake and that’s proving enough,” says Adem.
As Peloton’s reputation has spread, one challenge has replaced another: the volume of applications. One UK role Adem recruited for in 2020 saw 1,032 applications.
“Peloton values the fact that we can manage candidates’ expectations,” he explains. “That’s a very difficult thing for a brand to do when they’re swamped by applications – they’re simply not set up for that sort of response. With us as their recruiter, they know we’ll respond to every candidate who follows up their application with us. We take that pain – and the reputational risk of getting it wrong – away from them.”
To date, Adem and his team have placed 208 new members of the Peloton team across the UK, Germany and Australia. Of the near-500 candidate CVs sent, Peloton has interviewed 80% (and invited around 99% for interview).
Crucially, around 95% of the people recruited are still in post. “In part, that’s because Peloton is a fantastic brand that offers good salaries and working conditions,” says Adem. “But they also stay because we found candidates who were right for Peloton – and the attrition rate bears that out.”
Recruitment Process Outsourcing
Zachary Daniels has been a genuine extension of Peloton’s HR capability. “Peloton choose the successful candidates, of course,” adds Adem, “but we are pre-screening and ensuring Peloton only see candidates who are the right fit and ready to go. In Australia, Germany and even for some UK roles, Peloton’s HR team has been able to avoid getting involved until the final interview stage, if at all.”
Adem is clear about why Peloton works with Zachary Daniels when it could potentially be working with recruiters in Germany or Australia. “They trust us to do the right thing. They trust us to cost it fairly. They know we’ll deliver not just in terms of great candidates, but in making the process simple. In Australia, for example, we’ve just been providing feedback to their compensation team about what salaries are right for the roles they’re recruiting. That’s not something every recruiter will do.
“The most challenging aspect of any lifestyle business is the culture. It’s understanding the concept and values. That was particularly important for Peloton as they were effectively starting from scratch in explaining that to the UK, Germany and Australia. We get it, and I’m not just saying that because Zac, Danny and I own their bikes and treadmills. We understand the business and the product – and that makes it easier to know who the right people are.”
“The fact Peloton took Zachary Daniels with them on their expansion into Germany and Australia speaks volumes about our capabilities. Almost without exception when we’ve put forward a candidate, Peloton has invited them for an interview, and frequently we’ve worked to extremely pressing deadlines. Internationalisation requires working with partners you can trust to make the job easier. That’s why organisations like Pelton trust Zachary Daniels.” – Zac Clements, Joint Managing Director, Zachary Daniels
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