RPO trends in Canada: recruiting meets agility

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) agencies manage an organization’s permanent recruiting efforts enterprise-wide, within a specific department or for a specific short-term project (such as hiring sales people for a new product launch). The RPO team “becomes” part of the client company, while taking ownership of the design and execution of the recruitment process with an eye toward constant improvement of and responsibility for the results.

Companies in Canada are rethinking the way they use recruitment process outsourcing. Where large businesses once engaged RPO almost exclusively to manage ongoing recruitment, today companies both large and mid-sized are expanding its use across their organizations for large-scale hiring pushes and short-term special projects. Companies are also harnessing the expertise brought by RPO providers to stay ahead of fast-emerging human capital trends, such as advanced sourcing, social recruiting, employer branding and ROI metrics.

RPO has enjoyed exponential growth globally in recent years; a 2016 report by the Aberdeen Group found that use of RPO has grown by 32 percent worldwide since 2011. In Canada, companies recognize the pivotal role of hiring in their success. A full 81 percent of human resource leaders in Canada and the U.S. say talent is the number one priority at their company, according to a 2017 recruiting trends survey by LinkedIn. Yet 68 percent of the survey’s respondents said the size of their hiring teams is expected to remain the same, and 31 percent said a limited budget was among the top challenges they faced.

Until recently, Canadian companies often wouldn’t realize the far-reaching value of RPO until working with a provider on a special hiring project in one area of their business. For example, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline initially engaged Hudson exclusively to fill roles in its manufacturing and supply operations in Canada. But the success and agility of this approach prompted them to expand RPO to hiring for their support functions, medical and commercial teams.

But increasingly, businesses are recognizing from the start that RPO gives them immediate access to deep hiring knowledge, employer branding expertise, talent sources, and the newest recruitment technologies and social recruiting methods. These are all critical to attracting top talent, establishing a positive candidate experience, and measuring quality of hire and other key performance indicators. Today, RPO firms offer candidate relationship tools, social media expertise, measurement tools, as well as marketing expertise.

According to the LinkedIn recruiting trends survey, 81 percent of HR leaders recognize that their organization’s employer brand plays a crucial role in their ability to hire the best candidates. Recruitment process outsourcing firms increasingly offer marketing expertise to help organizations establish or enhance their brands and ensure they are shared effectively through social media, company career pages and networking platforms.

Through 2020, talent leaders expect key recruiting trends to include soft skills assessment tools, enhanced employee diversity, and innovations in interviewing tools and candidate relationship management. But staying on top of the latest in hiring best practices and technologies, and building an employer brand can be costly for companies, and can divert the focus of HR teams from important tasks. In RPO partnerships, companies leverage all of these tools on an as-needed basis.

In Canada, the talent market is tight and only expected to tighten more in the coming years. In order to draw top talent, businesses must offer stellar candidate and employee experiences from application through onboarding and training, while not straining the budget to the breaking point. This is a challenging, complex goal. With their flexibility and up-to-the-minute knowledge and technologies, RPOs are tailor-made to help companies achieve it.

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