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The RPO Solution: An Evolving Process (Part 2)

An RPO agent should always
be looking toward continuous
improvement.

In a recent roundtable discussion, some of the world's largest RPO providers gathered to discuss how their RPO solution changes as they move along the partnership. Here's what they had to say (continued from Part 1):

Focus on the Journey

The RPO company participants stressed the importance of focusing on the journey between making the decision to implement an RPO and going live with the solution. It's all about how you get the solution up and running. During the first 3 to 6 months, an RPO company should invest heavily in the client partnership. This is a crucial time to truly walk in the client's shoes and understand what is most important for the client. However, the relationship doesn't end there. Complacency is where a good partnership can go bad. An RPO agent should always be looking toward continuous improvement. When companies outsource, they really need a forward-thinking provider who can deliver innovation.

Provide Transparency, Rigor and Leverage

Transparency creates trust and engagement. If a provider cannot deliver adequate transparency, the partnership will ultimately break down. Rigor is part obsession for quality and part lessons learned. RPO providers can then use these factors to create a best practice framework for the client to use across the globe, ensuring every task and assignment is completed with the same attention to detail and outcome. Rigor delivers value through a persistent and determined approach. It's important for an RPO company to listen to the client's needs and co-create the right model from the start. Leverage, on the other hand, is about intelligently optimising talent. The in-house institutions of the past are outdated models. In today's competitive marketplace, HR leaders can only they stay ahead by partnering with specialists who can ensure access to the best possible and latest innovations.

Develop the Psychological Contract Between Employer and Employee

The final topic was the importance of developing the Psychological Contract (the relationship between employer and employee) through the recruitment and onboarding process. An RPO solution should actively change the ways in which a company recruits, resulting in an improved candidate experience and a happier employee. An RPO program should also change the existing roles and position descriptions to better fit the company, taking into account the latest changes in an organisation and the requirements of the team: They need to decide if a certain position requires a permanent employee, an onshore or offshore employer, a contractor or an existing resource.

These days, operational delivery is a given. Today's RPO providers need to go further with an increasing emphasis on driving business performance. Employers' hiring needs will continue to change, and no one solution will be effective for every client. Instead, the providers that develop processes that can be adapted to meet the evolving needs of each client will find the most success.

 
 
 

The RPO Provider and Client Partnership: An Evolving Process (Part 1)

RPO provides a systematic approach
for building a great team.

In recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), change remains constant. With today's array of strategies and technological advances, one factor that remains constant to the success of the RPO engagement is the RPO provider and client partnership. As RPO solutions continue to mature clients are working with their RPO partners in addressing an array of strategic needs, such as aligning talent strategy to business objectives and solidifying employer brand. To achieve business outcomes through HR/recruitment initiatives the process needs to and has become a more consultative one.. The performance and delivery of the recruitment service is a "given" with increased expectations that the partner can partner deep expertise, advisory and consultancy capability to develop the client's talent platform to provide competitive advantage. The ongoing completion for talent, speed of change and reduced impact of switch over cost provides a nexus for providers and the client to invest in a relationship that continues to innovate and change with the company's needs.

Hudson RPO has a history of long standing client relationships with perhaps the longest standing RPO relationship in the market - 15 years with Johnson and Johnson in Australia. This and other long term partnerships have taught us the importance on working closely with clients to support goals of HR and the broader business.

In a recent roundtable discussion, a number of other leading RPO providers gathered to discuss how their client's needs change as they move along the partnership continuum and what factors become more important as the client-provider relationship matures. Here's what they had to say:

Perform Adequate Due Diligence

Creating a successful RPO partnership requires setting up the terms for an ideal relationship from the start, which means performing meticulous due diligence prior to entering the engagement. Providers should require access to more data upfront so they can better understand the client's metrics and financial data. They should also examine customer culture and the link between talent and business outcomes. This information can assist in the delivery of exceptional results in the first year alone.

Alignment of the Service

It's essential for RPO providers to understand a company's historical recruitment needs and it is also important to understand the objectives and priority of stakeholders and the broader HR and business agenda.

The historical data will form a central plank in the setting of correct SLAs/KPIs benchmarks which are essential for the management of business expectations and getting the partnership off on a strong foundation. Furthermore the ability of the RPO to support other business/HR initiatives or to align the recruitment improvements or enhancements with the business requirements and the investment profile. —

The RPO provider and client partnership requires more than just a strong relationship from the onset. It's a constantly evolving and changing relationship. Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog series to learn more about this journey.

 
 
 

Choosing the Right RPO Provider for Your Business

Which RPO provider is right for
your business?

So you have decided to outsource your recruitment function to a third party specialist. Now the hard part. How do you work out which RPO provider is right for your business?

Step 1 - Understand the Business Need

The first step is to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of your hiring needs by ensuring you have answers to these questions:

  • How many roles have been recruited in the past 1-2 years and how does this break down by geography, role specialization and salary band?
  • When are these hires occurring throughout the year and where are the peaks or troughs?
  • Is there turnover in the first 12 months and, if yes, where and why?
  • What do Hiring Managers want to change, improve, stop or start? Do they expect any changes in hiring volumes or type of roles to be recruited over the coming 1- 3 years?

Step 2 - Identify your Key Requirements

Based on a comprehensive understanding of your business needs, identify the factors that will be most critical for success or at least rank order your criteria upfront. This will save time down the track debating which provider represents the best "fit" for your business.

A) Industry Niche

You may come to the conclusion that the RPO provider has to understand your industry sector and show evidence of working with a company of your size, sector and caliber. Check the success and complexity of the provider's past work. A reputable provider with experience shares case studies freely. Ask questions only someone with first-hand knowledge of your industry would understand.

B) Geographical Capability

If you know your business is geographically diverse today or is about to expand into different countries, then choosing a partner that understands the complexities of a particular country or region may become more important than other factors. Particularly when servicing emerging markets in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America where complexity is high, you need a partner who knows the region and has worked there before. Check their current clients and where they are being serviced currently.

C) Service Breadth

If your preference is to deal with one partner who can do everything? Employer branding, search, sourcing, psychometric assessment, references and background checking, offer management and technology? Dealing with one partner who can bring it all together for you is attractive, saving you time and ensuring your solution can be deployed quickly and with less complexity. Most importantly check how and where these services have been deployed and what outcomes have been achieved as a result?

D) Scalability

If you know your business is prone to unpredictable growth, seasonality in hiring or is embarking on major growth initiatives, then choosing a partner who can scale up quickly is key. Again case studies are critical here to determine whether the supplier has done this or just thinks they can.

E) Price

Maybe your organization operates in an extremely high volume and low margin industry. In order for you to be competitive with the clients you service, you need a really low cost provider. When it is only about price, the decision is quite straight forward.

F) Quality

Maybe your organization prides itself on the quality of people employed or maybe your aspire to improve quality of hire due to unprecedented turnover in particular areas. A reputable RPO provider who focuses on quality of hire can share case studies where they have helped clients increase retention and change the profile of people they are bring into the organization.

G) Amicable Character and Values Alignment

Perhaps the most underrated factor when choosing RPO Partners is character. Do you believe the service provider "gets" you, your company and culture? Do you enjoy working with the provider? Is she/he easy to approach about issues and does she/he echo the values and goals of your company? If so, it provides a great foundation for team work and regardless of the challenges ahead, you will be confident you can address them together.

Step 3 - Choose your Preferred RPO Provider

Some clients are tempted to invite everyone to tender. They look very wide but compromise on depth and waste quite a bit of time in the process. The best processes I have seen involve a smaller, hand picked group of potential suppliers, a short tender document and a weighting of the selection process on presentation, discussion and validation. Validation can come from speaking with referees, conducting site visits and meeting members of the team that will be involved and tify the factors that will be most critical for success. These are the factors you need to ensure your partner demonstrates and some of these are listed below:

Validation can come from speaking with referees, conducting site visits and meeting members of the team that will be involved in the solution. Spending as much face time with your potential suppliers as possible will not only help you determine whether they meet your key selection criteria, it will more importantly give you a better sense of who you feel most comfortable with on a values and relationship level. A solution that is not anchored by these two fundamental qualities will never be successful.

 
 
 

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HUDSON

Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.