Australia has been a standout performer for Hudson RPO, beating quarterly forecasts set prior to the pandemic. Meanwhile CEO Kimberley Hubble says the “hyper care” now being displayed towards candidates will be a lasting impact of the crisis.
According to the company’s June-quarter results, APAC was the strongest performer for the group, with revenue up 14% year-on-year (constant currency) to US$18.8 million (A$26.2m), gross profit down 7% and adjusted EBITDA rising 150% to US$1m (A$1.4m).
Australia and Singapore were standouts in the region, Hubble says, describing the local performance as “a very good outcome given it was a pre-COVID budget – we exceeded our budget for quarter two and the first half, which is amazing”.
“And to do that with a workforce that is working 100% from home – and keeping our clients and candidates happy – we’re really proud of the team’s performance.”
COVID-19 has not had “huge impacts” on many of Hudson RPO’s clients, with some financial services clients still hiring at fairly similar levels, and pharmaceutical clients “doing really well”, she says, particularly in comparison to those in harder-hit sectors, such as hospitality.
Hubble attributes the “fairly robust performance” to the company’s mix of clients and industries, as well as efforts to calibrate the “cost base” over the past two quarters, and curbing discretionary expenditure.
Winning “some small pieces of new business” has also helped retain and redeploy employees who would otherwise have been displaced, she adds.
“There’s been a lot of great flexibility shown by our team and clients… moving people around where they can be optimised.”
Tech tools creating “hyper care”
Clients are all being supported virtually, Hubble says, noting this has prompted a “bigger appetite for technology”, including video interviewing, online reference checks and virtual onboarding tools.
“It’s just a more efficient way of doing it,” she says, noting benefits such as reduced time to shortlist, time to fill and screening efficiency.
Although recruitment has adapted well to the virtual environment, onboarding has been a slightly more difficult challenge, given the “physical provisioning” aspects, Hubble says.
But “the overwhelming focus” on giving candidates and new hires a positive experience has created what she terms a “hyper care situation”, to make sure they are getting everything they need through the virtual recruitment and onboarding experience.
It may be a “little bit of overcompensation” for the lack of face-to-face contact “because everybody has been working from home”, Hubble says, which has resulted in a bigger focus on workplace tech in general, including collaboration tools like Monday, Trello and Yammer.
The second new solution is Hudson RPO’s career support offering, dubbed ‘Career Compass’. Originally developed for clients that were restructuring and wanted to assist employees with their future employability, it has become much more relevant in light of widespread restructures.
It is “very practical, hands-on skill development”, including interviewing skills, resume writing, communication skills and maximising LinkedIn profiles, Hubble says.
“We’ve just run [it with] our first client… and we got really great feedback.”
If you are interested in finding out more on the impact Covid-19 has had in the APAC region check out our Post-Pandemic Predictions report.
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