By Elliot H. Clark
This year, we introduce our first-ever HRO Today Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings for total workforce solutions (TWS). The companies listed are the absolute best providers in the TWS market. We believe this is a representative list of the HR service providers that can manage the large, complex, integrated programs necessary to service global companies. HRO Today defines TWS as the combination of RPO and MSP services into a seamless platform. Prior to the release of this Baker’s Dozen, we discovered through research that hundreds of companies claim to be “leading providers of global total workforce solutions.” However, after reviewing our data sets on clients that leverage both RPO and MSP products from a single provider in multiple regions, there seems to be only a handful of firms that can provide the integrated service offering.
There are some very good HR service partner companies in the enterprise and mid-market sectors offering a total workforce solution and the number of organizations looking for the combined solution is also growing rapidly. And there lies the problem: Market demand leads less capable companies to claim capabilities that they don’t actually have. This month’s cover story focuses on global technology leader DXC Technology and its innovative view of the workforce. One aspect of the company’s talent approach is what CHRO Jo Mason calls the “unincorporated workforce,” which supports candidates who don’t want to be traditionally employed. DXC partners with Allegis Global Solutions for this, as well as the sourcing and hiring of full-time employees. Given the scale and complexity, it’s hard to imagine that many HR service partners could accomplish the program objectives. And, in fact, there aren’t many—and we list most of them on the Baker’s Dozen this month. So, the overwhelming message of this column if you remember nothing else is “Caveat Emptor.”
Years ago, I coined a phrase for the fake RPO providers: “FauxPOs.” There are still FauxPOs out there, but they are far fewer each year. HR leaders have become much savvier about the questions they need to ask to properly vet an HR service partner. However, we are seeing that dynamic market growth brings out some firms that claim things they have never done and probably lack the scale to do. Many of the less than capable TWS providers are temporary services companies and a fair number cannot even lay claim to providing MSP. MSP is, by the way, a North American term and in the U.K. and EU you will see similar service offerings that manage contingent labor under a different name. But, either you have the service and technology infrastructure to manage many contingent labor vendors and optimize spend, or you do not. The “do nots,” unfortunately, still claim it on their websites.
Some of the players not featured on this list may be large firms, but we received an insufficient sample and no cooperation from them as part of the Baker’s Dozen process. While HRO Today gets a substantial portion of the survey sample from its own list, we do not always get enough to rate each provider so we ask for their support in forwarding a link to their clients. Trust me when I say that companies that have positive and enthusiastic clients are falling over themselves to get into our customer satisfaction survey and those that fear transparency run at the first sight of a customer questionnaire. If they are not on our list, ask yourself why and be very, very, very skeptical.
Starting in 2019, we are going to try and solve this problem. Through the HRO Today Services and Technology Association, we are launching a certification program that verifies that providers of service and technology are ethical companies that do what they advertise. The Baker’s Dozen only focuses on the top of the market, but in the eight Baker’s Dozen lists we do, there are many companies that may not be top 13, but are “certifiable” as good providers depending on organizational needs. This will be a designation of achievement rather than a numerical ranking like the Baker’s Dozen. In addition, we will be doing due diligence to ensure their ethical, commercial, and financial sustainability as a provider. This “professionalization” of HR services is long overdue, and we hope to use our media platform to explain the certification process and what you, as buyers, should expect from certified provider organizations.
Please enjoy this month’s coverage on the total workforce solution industry, and all of us at HRO Today wish you a very happy holiday season and a happy new year!