Combining internal and external recruitment resources provides a competitive edge in today’s market.
By Paul Harty
Due to the various changes within the global economy, talent acquisition leaders are under increasing pressure to ramp up hiring quickly and pivot in near-real time to address rapidly evolving needs. It’s no longer uncommon for talent acquisition managers to be asked to hire an unanticipated few hundred workers in less than two months.
What’s behind this fast-paced and ever-changing business environment? Legislative policy changes are most certainly one of the drivers. For example, healthcare-related businesses have dealt with a tumultuous few months of policy negotiations as federal and state guidelines are in flux. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 15.8 million Americans—or one in nine workers—had jobs in healthcare last year, and the growth in this sector is continues. The businesses that employ these workers are faced with the daunting task of reacting to constant and complex policy shifts.
To remain competitive, companies across the board are realizing they need to invest in technology. This is evidenced by the fact that for the first time ever, investments in private technology startups by companies outside the tech industry are on pace to surpass those of tech companies. A recent CB Insights report indicated that so far in 2017, 51 percent of Fortune 500 investments into private tech startups have come from non-tech companies, up from 29 percent in 2014. As companies also invest internally in advanced technology, they need the highly-specialized tech talent to implement and manage these new strategies.
The biggest driver behind hiring volatility, however, is the enormous focus on increased earnings. As companies look to increase market share, they must invest in additional talent to drive this growth—all during a period of unprecedented talent shortage. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and businesses across all industries are competing more fiercely than ever to attract and retain good candidates.
With organizations driving hard for market share while balancing their reactions to these policy-, economic-, and technology-driven conditions, a flexible talent acquisition model that can quickly respond to shifting priorities is an absolute necessity. Enter hybrid RPO.
Hybrid RPO refers to a company’s use of an RPO provider in combination with its own internal resources, such as talent acquisition leaders, recruiters, coordinators, and/or sourcers. An organization may work with an RPO partner to take over certain recruitment processes, departmental needs, and specific strategic initiatives while keeping all other talent acquisition functions in-house. With hybrid RPO, a third-party provider is retained as an expert in certain recruitment areas to fully support volume shifts. The provider’s areas of demonstrated strength may be in specific industry verticals such as healthcare, information technology, or manufacturing recruitment. The approach also includes areas of expertise such as sourcing or employer branding. This type of strategic RPO yields optimal agility to help companies respond quickly to both the anticipated and unanticipated shifts in their talent acquisition program.
There are three main benefits associated with a hybrid RPO solution:
1. Proven recruitment expertise translates to assurance of mission-critical roles. The RPO ensures success within any critical and hard-to-fill hiring area. For example, a Fortune 50 managed healthcare company utilizes a hybrid model and sought help with its clinical hiring. This scope of work grew from a few hundred roles initially to more than 3,000 healthcare hires annually due to new client wins and increasing membership.
By getting expertise to help with this challenging hiring vertical and gaining the security of success within this critical recruiting function, the organization was able to maintain meeting client obligations in supporting the surge of new members in a highly competitive industry. Leveraging an RPO provider for hard-to-fill hiring lines allows organizations to gain the benefit of reduced—if not completely eliminated—agency costs. The reliability of performance within these core hiring areas is also valuable to securing more accurate forecasting and budgeting.
2. Productivity precision achieves process optimization across the enterprise. An RPO partner comes to the table with in-depth processes that have been repeatedly validated in large, enterprise—and often global—engagements. This deep set of best practices ranges from using codified tools and proven stakeholder engagement strategies to employing extensive recruitment metrics and analytics. Within a hybrid model, an organization has the advantage of gathering these best practices and strategies from an RPO partner and applying them to its own internal talent acquisition team.
For example, major retailer was looking to unify its systems that were used to track and report recruiting data. The organization leveraged an RPO provider to help define a new standard set of key performance indicators, like quality of slate and HM feedback cycle times, for both the RPO and in-house recruitment teams.
Organizations that utilize a hybrid approach can have a custom solution that couldn’t be achieved on their own. Keep in mind that a thorough and extensive process transformation program from an RPO provider will ultimately do more than improve metrics and productivity outcomes. It should transcend delivery and also achieve full candidate and hiring manager satisfaction.
3. Evolving from reactive talent acquisition to a greater focus on proactive talent acquisition. By enlisting an RPO to handle tasks that are either time-intensive or outside its recruiting expertise, an organization’s internal talent acquisition teams can then be easily redirected. Knowing these critical functions are taken care of, talent acquisition mangers can successfully focus on other important initiatives, such as candidate experience and hiring manager satisfaction. In many instances, talent acquisition executives describe this benefit as going from being reactive to proactive.
Having an RPO partner successfully manage this challenging scope of work frees internal talent acquisition assets up to focus on more forward-facing strategies. For example, a large global logistics company has leveraged hybrid RPO in just this way. They are securing RPO for a near-end-to-end engagement for key hiring lines but keeping onboarding with the internal talent acquisition team because it’s a highly important touch point for the company to elevate the candidate experience.
As with any type of RPO engagement, collaboration, communication, and trust are paramount. A true RPO partner will be expansive in their value proposition. They will go into every new client situation, not only looking to add value within their defined scope of work, but to the company’s entire talent acquisition function. Hybrid RPO is a good fit for organizations facing volatility and excessive hiring demands. It will bring the company a sense of security, new best practices and processes, and the liberation to evolve their program into new areas of growth.
Paul Harty is president of Sevenstep.