About MSA Safety 

Cogito’s most recent client is a global leader in manufacturing and supplying safety products. Established in 1914, American company MSA Safety specialises in developing, manufacturing, and supplying safety products and systems designed to protect people and infrastructure from various hazards.   

MSA Safety serves a diverse range of clients spanning industries such as oil and gas, mining, construction, utilities, and manufacturing, in addition to first responders and military personnel. 

Read more here about MSA.

The Burning Question … 

MSA-Bristol approached Cogito to conduct an independent review of their existing recruitment processes and practices. They were keen to be a known as a major employer in the area through increased brand awareness. Here’s the burning question … How could they achieve this? 

Preparation is Key 

To provide a robust transformation strategy, Cogito suggested an initial discovery phase to better understand the challenges, potential, and scope of work required. 

So, we put on our protective hard, thinking hats and decided an audit would be the best first approach to understand the limitations of the current Talent Acquisition model. 

In this audit, we thoroughly examined both quantitative and qualitative data. We intended to establish a precise, evidence-driven strategy to assist Cogito in providing MSA-Bristol with a superior and innovative recruitment approach based on insight, data and best practices. 

What We Did 

We focused on the following areas: 

  1. Looking at the methods adopted by MSA-Bristol to attract and select candidates, along with gaining expert insight into the effectiveness of their employer brand. 
  1. Analysing existing data and engaging with MSA-Bristol employees to gain their views on the recruitment process and experience. 
  2. Examining quantitative and qualitative data to analyse and develop a concise plan. 

Our team of experts: 

  • Conducted 30 calls with prospective candidates. 

  • Conducted 8 interviews with MSA-Bristol employees.  

  • Analysed data relating to over 2000 applications over the last 12 months. 

These findings showed that effective recruitment tools could empower MSA-Bristol to attract and retain a diverse workforce in the long run.

What We Discovered 

The audit identified strengths and weaknesses but most importantly opportunities to support attraction campaigns and improve the candidate journey  Our key findings were: 

People: Cogito discovered an excellent onsite culture, at MSA-Bristol, with high employee retention rates due to job security and location. The management team is passionate and willing to embrace change and support where suggested. They are focused on recruiting the right candidates and are committed to an effective recruitment process to improve time to hire and the candidate experience.  

Processes: There is a strong desire to be considered an “Employer of Choice” locally, with opportunities to develop an employer brand which can resonate with its talent pool. Technology, marketing support and a robust Applicant Tracking System (ATS) were identified as positive tools to help achieve this. 

Data: Pay is an essential factor for attracting candidates and retaining employees, as well as good development opportunities and a good work/life balance. 


“I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the MSA team. Every interaction I held, from the HR team, Operations Management, Line Managers, and shop floor team, all shared a common theme – passion for teamwork and pride in their work!

The HR and Management team have a shared passion for creating opportunities for teams to thrive, which was infectious. I heard great career stories and could see the camaraderie among the team who care about the work they do. When spending a day onsite with the team, it was evident that the environment and culture were of great importance, and getting the right skills and behaviours into the team was critical.

The business is currently a best-kept secret. It would benefit from sharing all the passion and knowledge and people stories that I experienced further to put them on the radar as a local employer of choice.”

Rachel Parkes, Director of Programmes at Cogito


Key Strategies for MSA-Bristol  

Our audit revealed that there is an excellent opportunity to improve talent acquisition performance at MSA-Bristol. Cogito suggested key strategies going forward, including: 

  • Create a clear recruitment strategy and service proposition – review and redesign the end-to-end recruitment process, adopting a more consultative approach to recruitment.  
  • Improve candidate experience – pay greater attention to what candidates like and do not like about the recruitment process. Remind candidates of why MSA-Bristol is a great place to work, becoming an employer of choice.  
  • Develop a tactical and strategic attraction plan – create ‘fans’ of MSA-Bristol through engaging, bespoke marketing and communications. 
  • Assessments which improve selection – ensure that hiring managers feel confident that they are assessing the right skills and behaviours.  
  • Offer and pre-onboarding which heightens engagement – carry out a full review of the offer and pre- onboarding communications, focusing on what candidates need to know and how to keep them connected to the business prior to joining. 
  • Improve the capability of those who recruit – review the recruitment knowledge and capability of the HR team, ensuring that training is delivered where necessary. 
  • Utilise technology which delivers the service proposition – consider how technology will play its part in the recruitment process. 

Cogito presented MSA-Bristol with a comprehensive transformation plan to achieve their people goals, offering support from our team of talent acquisition, training and branding experts to convert our recommendations into action.  

“We approached Cogito to support MSA-Bristol in auditing our talent acquisition model independently. Through mergers and growth, MSA wanted to realign our approach and set it up for future success. We have a great team on site, and we want more of the same talented people to join us. The approach from Cogito was brilliant; they took the time to meet people onsite, review what worked well and identified the gaps. We now have a clear future plan and look forward to continued support.”

Martin Doyle, Human Resources Specialist at MSA-Bristol

We Don’t Just Stop at The Audit – We Make It Happen. 

At Cogito, we offer a holistic approach to embedding effective talent acquisition programmes; and take pride in empowering organisations to create evidence-based and data-driven people strategies.  

A recruitment audit of this nature was a great example of the different services Cogito provides. Various departments contributed expertise and knowledge to empower MSA-Bristol to enhance their talent acquisition strategy.  

After all, safety isn’t a seasonal thing, it’s their full-time job. 

Are you looking to create powerful recruitment campaigns and a long-term talent acquisition strategy? Get in touch with Cogito! 

The methods you use to attract and retain employees are essential, and they can significantly impact the growth of your business. Cogito can help you to implement the most effective strategies to help your company succeed. Whether you’re looking to improve company performance, or gain an advantage over your competitors, our holistic approach offers a value-for-money approach to talent acquisition. Get in touch with us today to find out more!  

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