RPO & Staffing

Cyberonics Grows by More than Fifty Percent with the Help of The RightThing

– The RightThing Screens 20,000 applicants resulting in 200 hires –

Findlay, Ohio – August 8, 2005 -The Right Thing Inc., an end-to-end provider of employment process outsourcing, today announced the successful completion of its agreement with Cyberonics (NASDQ: CYBX) to hire a fully qualified team for its recently FDA-approved VNS Therapy System for treatment resistant depression. Resulting in a national team of more than 200 new personnel, The RightThing Inc

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TalentTrack Secures New Critical Care Nursing Project To Support Shands Jacksonville National Recruitment Efforts

[Toledo, OH – July26, 2005] – TalentTrack announced today that it has won a contract to provide recruitment process outsourcing services to Shands Jacksonville, a Level I Trauma Center with over 4000 employees.

Under the terms of the contract, TalentTrack will provide complete end-to-end recruitment outsourcing services for the hiring of critical care nurses for their trauma service. According to Mark Melfi, Executive Vice President of TalentTrack, “We are excited to begin this new partnership with Shands Jacksonville and look forward to helping them achieve their hiring goals by placing top nursing talent into their organization in a timely and cost effective manner

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Caterpillar Chooses Kenexa for Survey Services

Kenexa (NASDAQ: KNXA), a provider of talent acquisition and retention solutions, announced that it will be providing Caterpillars workforce with a comprehensive survey offering to gather valuable employee feedback. Caterpillar is Continue reading →

How Owens Corning HOMExperts Recruiting Needs Stayed on Track

Case Study: Recruitment Case Study

by Mike Giosso

When a company discovers a trustworthy recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner that has expertise in a category with special demands, its wise to share the reins of responsibility to effectively and efficiently meet the demands of the business.

Such is the case for Owens Corning HOMExperts, who specializes in delivering a wide variety of construction services to builders, retailers, and direct to the homeowner. With beginnings in Boston, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis, HOMExperts is now providing a wide range of construction services in 14 key metropolitan areas across the United States, with additional expansion planned for 2005. To best support the demands of this high growth business, we recently signed a long-term contract with an RPO partner named TalentTrack.

Our decision to outsource began a couple of years ago, when the growth of HOMExperts continued to increase dramatically. To maintain our leadership position in the construction services industry, it is imperative for HOMExperts to only hire and deploy technicians who are highly skilled, trained, certified, and fully insured. The HOMExperts technician bills out at an hourly rateso every hire we make represents an ongoing and incremental revenue opportunity for the business.

Yet the recruiting and hiring challenges for HOMExperts are decidedly different from that of our typical corporate requirements. Our in-house HR team partners with field recruiters to improve and sustain our base of employees nationwide. But our corporate HR experience historically has focused on salaried employeesnot hourly workers who are the backbone of the construction services industry. Another challenge is the sheer volume of technicians HOMExperts needs in the short term, coupled with fluctuations in long-term staffing requirements. As HOMExperts expands business into additional markets, the demand for technicians will continue to grow.

In 2004, HOMExperts hired more than 800 technicians nationwide. As the business continues to grow exponentially, we anticipate adding an additional 1,400 new technicians every year. Once HOMExperts reaches our goal of geographic expansion, the fluctuations in demand for construction services will require an RPO partner to help scale the hiring requirements efficiently.

The unique and demanding characteristics of HOMExperts hiring led us to search for a reliable RPO partner to supplement our inhouse staff. When we discovered TalentTrack, we provided them with two pilot markets where they were allowed to demonstrate their ability to partner with HOMExperts and help us meet the very demanding hiring needs of our business.

As our relationship with TalentTrack has evolved, we believe it provides a blueprint worth considering for any company facing the RPO decision:
1) Admit when you need a specialist. Recruiting and hiring skilled home improvement technicians was beyond the core competencies of our in-house HR staff. TalentTrack, on the other hand, has expertise in this category. They pay attention to contractor trends and have proven processes to identify, locate, and attract qualified recruits. We recognized that Owens Corning HOMExperts could benefit from TalentTracks strengths, and their assistance would enable us to stay focused on growing the business.
2) Find a true partner. With the war for talent in todays job markets, a successful recruiter must sell the company to prospective employees. The recruiter becomes the face of the company to potential employees and represents the brand in the marketplace. For these reasons, an RPO partner must reflect the corporate culture and values. We found that TalentTracks people, skills, and strategies serve as a seamless extension of our business.
3) Define expectations up front. Expectations are more than the terms of the RPO contract. In fact, they should define important intangibles. With TalentTrack, we emphasized how their services would represent the Owens Corning brand and our values in the marketplace. We also had open discussions about possible fluctuations in the construction market down the road and how TalentTracks scalability would allow adjustments to fit changing needs.
4) Put performance measures in place. Establishing metrics for any business relationship is critical for evaluating success. Were impressed with the technologies and tools TalentTrack offers, including cuttingedge Web platforms. TalentTrack provides real-time reporting on recruiting and hiring activities, as well as tools such as productivity reports on their hires. Relevant data thats updated constantly helps us monitor, refine, and improve overall goals such as reduced time to fill, lower cost per hire, and greater ROI.
5) Communicate, communicate, communicate. TalentTracks extensive reporting capabilities help us stay on the pulse of their activities for HOMExperts. But nothing beats picking up the phone or getting together for personal updates. We talk with TalentTrack on a regular basis to keep each other informed on new developments today and new opportunities for tomorrow.

In May 2005, Owens Corning HOMExperts delegated their recruiting and hiring responsibilities nationwide to TalentTrack. And even in this short time, HOMExperts has already found that working together with an RPO expert can provide powerful advantages for the business.

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Heinz Adds a 58th Variety–Recruiting

Case Study: During a time of transition, CRI helped this global company meet its staffing needs.

by HROT Staff

Recently, H.J. Heinz Company, one of the worlds leading marketers of branded foods, faced a hiring challenge. The company sold several of its business divisions to Del Monte. To complete the transaction, Heinz had to set up a fully-staffed support operation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to manage finance, HR, IT, and several other functions for the Del Monte businesses. Six months earlier, Heinz instituted a hiring freeze to counteract the unknown impact the Del Monte transaction would have on employment. This hiring freeze created an immediate need for more than 200 new hireshalf for the Del Monte support operation and the rest for other Heinz divisions. The aggressive timetable forced us to determine the best way to quickly staff an entirely new organization with well-qualified candidates, said Steve Clark, Director of HR for Heinz Food Service Division. In jobs where Heinz had one staff member, they now needed two. Basically, Clark recalls, we had to build entire departments from scratch.

Clark realized that Heinz needed help managing this unexpected hiring increase. Hiring new in-house recruiters to manage this one-time recruitment spike was costly, and the risk of direct employment was too great. He did not believe that a traditional recruiter strategy would work for this challenge because Heinz needed more than just sources for multiple hires. He wanted competent recruiters who could interface with internal Heinz client managers to understand the particular demands of the job, the environment, and the division. Clark knew that CRI could meet this demand. I developed a lot of confidence in the CRI team during the Olympic recruitment project, said Clark, who served as Director of Staffing for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. He felt that CRI could do an excellent job with the size and tight time frame of the Heinz project.

CRIs Collaborative Service Model is a comprehensive suite of RPO solutions, allowing CRI to become a direct extension of Heinzs internal HR department and to conduct recruiting specific to the needs of Heinz. This unique business process allows them to find higher quality candidates, execute more efficiently, achieve results in fewer days, and save money for clients. CRI knew that the best candidates for Heinz would be from the pool of the already employed, so they sourced candidates from competing companies. Expert recruiters interviewed candidates, networked with them to find additional candidates, and worked together with hiring managers to match candidates to jobs. One of the biggest challenges was the quick ramp-up time needed to start hiring. CRI did not know Pittsburgh or the Heinz culture, yet Clark needed the project to produce results very quickly to achieve hiring goals. CRI management presented their proposal just three days after Clark initially contacted them. Within two weeks, the first recruiters were ready to work. In close to 30 days, the first positions were filled.

For Heinz, CRI segmented staffing needs by determining which positions were absolutely critical; which would be nice to fill quickly, but were not critical; and those that could be filled later. The team used this prioritization system as a working guide. Through our work with a variety of worldclass staffing organizations, we created a standardized, proprietary system of recruiting that helps our clients find and hire the best candidates, said Winn Van Brimer, CRI Vice President, Recruiting Operations. For Heinz, that meant matching candidates with the skills and competencies needed for the job openings and locating hard-to-find, qualified candidates who were not necessarily looking for a job at the current time. Most search firms promise to fill openings in 60 days. We needed to fill our jobs faster, said Clark. When CRI told us they believed they could significantly outperform the 60-day average, we were impressed. They delivered on the promise, with an average of 33 days to hire.

Clark also reports that CRI added value in other ways:
*They helped Heinz attract qualified candidates that Heinz could not have found otherwise.
*They supplemented Heinzs workforce to act as in-house recruiters, providing administration relief in addition to candidate searches.
*They saved Heinz money over an in-house or traditional contingency-fee recruitment program.

They are talented and committed people wed like to work with again. Not only were they technically qualified, but they fit very well into the Heinz culture. Clark notes that the hourly-billing business model used by CRI is the only way to foster these relationships. CRIs alignment with Heinzs needs built the necessary trust needed to successfully complete the recruitment project.

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Integrated Employment Provisioning

Spherion delivers a total workforce acquisition solution.

by HROT Staff

A global technology company was one of the few IT firms that actually grew during the most recent IT industry slump. Millions of users rely on the companys IT infrastructure solutions servicing businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions. The firm needed to develop a more reliable, scalable, and cost effective talent acquisition process and resource that would support expected growth prospects in the next decade. They were faced with critical business issues such as an out-of-balance HR focus; heavy, expensive reliance on outside hiring agencies; limited control of contingent labor; and increased dependence on sophisticated, but disconnected high-maintenance systems.

The technology company decided to streamline its talent acquisition process with Spherions Total Workforce Acquisition (TWA) solution. The partnership mitigated the clients need to use multiple outside hiring agencies and ended its relationship with multiple vendors for staffing services. TWA delivers both RPO and staffing solutions via an integrated, dedicated, delivery infrastructure made up of onsite recruiters with access to Spherions national network of 2,150 plus recruiters, its virtual recruiting resources, and its recruitment transaction center.

Spherion has assumed responsibility for the employment process services in the clients new employee provisioning services strategy. Hiring volume is expected to grow by about 20 percent each year over the five-year term of the contract. They will also manage and support the clients college recruiting program and provide administrative support for intern hires, executive hires, and internal promotions. Spherion has also implemented its KnowledgeSphere technology platform to enable the employment solution functions, employee assimilation process, and the reporting/tracking for all the partnerships services. This includes the integration of Peopleclicks Recruitment Management System (RMS). In addition, all information within the technology platform and process, and other applicable source systems from the client, is integrated to KnowledgeSpheres Reporting and Analysis Platform (RAP). Both RAP and RMS will be Web-based to enable all authorized users access via the Internet.

Strategically, the solution has created a scalable, hiring manager client-focused, talent-acquisition services system and process to support strategic, financial, and operational growth objectives. The solution is governed by a 24/7 metrics and reporting structure to ensure performance and results.

The TWA partnership has produced tangible results. There are baseline operating costs savings of 40 percent, and the client is on track to cut outside agency usage by 60 percent during the first three years. The arrangement also implemented lower standardized pricing for contingent labor, minimized the number of contingent labor providers, established quality standards, and streamlined the talent-acquisition process for hiring managers and candidates.

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High-Tek Hiring

StorageTek selects RPO to build a better team.

by Russ Banham

Months into the due diligence on a strategy to outsource employment recruitment processes, project managers at global technology company StorageTek had reached the point of interviewing providers when they read an article in this magazine listing 13 vendors offering end-to-end recruitment process outsourcing. One of the companies especially caught their eyeKenexa Corporation.

Unfortunately, no request had been sent to Kenexa for a proposal on the job candidate sourcing and acquisition project. Meanwhile, the deadline for determining a provider loomed. We were at the stage of interviewing final candidates, says Cindy Fiedelman, staffing operations manager at Louisville, Colorado-based StorageTek Corp., which markets innovative storage solutions that protect a companys critical business information.

In fact, the company had whittled down the list of candidates to two when they decided to interview one more company. They called us out of the blue one night and said they had read an article in HRO Today called The Lucky 13, in which we were checked off as a buyers choice, comments Elliot Clark, chief operating officer of Kenexa. We were brought in at the eleventh hour to explain our value proposition.

Kenexa scrambled to put on a good show, preparing a one-hour presentation that stretched to more than four hours after the curtain rose. They thoroughly evaluated our approach to recruitment process outsourcing and change management, says Clark. They looked at how detailed our methodologies were as far as outsourcing process maps and guidelines. They talked to our IT people. And then they asked about our 24-hour operating model, a no sunset concept where our overseas locations provide research and candidate name generation to our 250 North American recruiters.

Clark says the discussion over the model sealed the deal. As we described the concept, one of the people in the StorageTek delegation started laughing and said this was how they did applications development work around the globe, he notes. I think we all felt cultural synergy. Fiedelman agrees: The chemistry seemed to click. They were the kind of people we knew we could work with. A deal between the companies was signed in the fourth quarter of 2004, and service to StorageTek began on January 1. The multiyear agreement calls for Kenexa to assume responsibility for managing the North American staffing operations below the executive level at StorageTek, although the original concept anticipated for the near future by both companies was to roll out the RPO strategy worldwide.

Like many large employers, StorageTek (with 2004 revenues of $2.2 billion) was attracted to an outsourced recruiting model because of the need to fill job ranks quickly and cost-effectively with high quality applicants. Several recent surveys paint a dire picture of companies unable to fill rapidly diminishing employment ranks with the best-of-the-best. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 24 million workers are expected to exit the labor pool by 2010, and within the next three years, BLS projects that 10 million more jobs will be available than workers to fill them. Another survey, by The Conference Board, indicates that 79 percent of CEOs rate availability of talent as their number one concern.

To address these ominous issues, StorageTek sought to liberate its HR professionals from sporadic, time-consuming recruitment tasks to focus on more strategic staffing needs and partnering initiatives. Outsourcing fit the bill neatly: Kenexa is now accountable as the single source for StorageTek staffing operations, applicant tracking, and data management. They are also responsible for engaging and educating StorageTek managers to better understand and execute their role in the recruitment process.

Weve been through two iterations of recruitment models at StorageTek to try to meet the needs of the business, says Roger Gaston, StorageTek corporate vice president of HR. A lot of people think we went to employment process outsourcing because of the cost savings; while cost reduction was a component in our decision making, it was not the biggest reason to consider RPO, Gaston confides. The real value was our ability to access a state-ofthe- art recruitment system and dedicated processes for resume search, Web search, Web crawling, candidate screening, and applicant management that could enable StorageTek to achieve its objectives of reducing time to fill and to increase the quantity and quality of our applicant pool. This technology was not going to be high on the priority list at StorageTek, in terms of allocating resources to acquire it or in the queue for our systems people to work on internally. We wanted best-in-class recruitment capability, and outsourcing was the way to get that now.

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is currently one of the hottest areas within HRO. The strategy offers companies more than the opportunity to access a providers state-of-the-art job candidate database. RPO also provides entre to highly trained and sophisticated job recruitment professionals who can quickly fill workforce ranks with top talent.

During peak hiring periods, organizations must use external resources like extensive advertising, agencies, or independent contractors, who may not be available for the next peak period, Clark explains. This causes costly knowledge transfer. By outsourcing, companies have more flexibility with infrastructure costs than with internal resources where costs are fixed. The costs of staffing professionals assigned to an organization are shared with other clients during periods of the year when the organization is doing little hiring or is in a hiring freeze.

StorageTek had been hunting for a world-class recruitment process for the past five years. The company, with more than 7,000 employees located in 32 countries serving more than 17,000 customer sites worldwide, had tried introducing both centralized and decentralized models to reduce the time to fill open positions in its direct sales force, field service organization, and R&D engineering staff. Both recruitment strategies ultimately fell short in delivering against business needs and expectations.

Initially, we had a very centralized recruiting function for our global business positioned out of our headquarters in Louisville, just outside of Boulder, Gaston explains. We decided to decentralize that model and push our recruiters out in the field closer to their clients. When we looked at the effectiveness and productivity in what we were accomplishing, closing jobs quickly with quality people, we realized we werent meeting the needs and requirements of the business. We needed to consider other options.

At the time, StorageTek was in the thick of examining HR outsourcing to increase productivity and reduce the hands-on transactional elements of the HR processes. We had decided to change the face of our entire HR organization into a business partner focus. This demanded a reconsideration of the time and resources dedicated to the transactional elements of HR, Gaston explains. As we began exploring the components of our business that would benefit from outsourcing, the recruitment process jumped out at us. We created a Six Sigma black belt project around recruitment to arrive at the root cause of our inability to effectively support the organizations recruitment needs. While several actions were identified from this black belt project, consideration and exploration of outsourcing the recruitment process was at the top of the list.

Fiedelman says the Six Sigma effort identified different processes for improvement within recruitment and on-boarding (the post-hiring activities involving new employees). The biggest issues we faced were cycle timethe time to fill jobs here had become inordinateand consistency in the process, she explains. We needed to do things the same way across the organization. We also had issues regarding candidate quantity and the quality of the candidate pipelines. Our ability to have a strong number of solid candidates available for open positions was lacking. We often were in a reactionary mode and would only address these issues as needs came up. From a cost perspective, this was a problem.

Another problem was the need to hire expensive external recruiting agencies on an ad hoc basis to meet hiring demands at peak periods. On average, StorageTek hires roughly 1,000 people a year. When you rolled all these concerns together, says Fiedelman, outsourcing offered the long-term solution that made the best sense.

Kenexa was chosen as the provider for its technology platform, specialized expertise, and variable cost recruitment model. They scale their model appropriately to our spikes in hiring, Fiedelman says. They assign a team to usa set number of people. As our demand goes up or down, they manage through that without it costing us more. Our hiring managers still make the hiring decisions, but it is Kenexas responsibility to refer and manage this hiring.

Kenexa also demonstrated the ability to target appropriate job candidates. In addition to posting notices on job boards or in newspapers or on career sites, they had the capability to create target lists and do proactive calling into organizations where we knew we wanted to hire people, Fiedelman says. That was the big kicker. We had a hard time finding other companies with that capability.

Kenexa offers a broad menu of services, including sourcing, vendor management, and hiring process management. StorageTek opted for a full solutionstaffing department management, on-site staffing support, multi-channel sourcing strategy, development and execution, employee referral program administration, direct recruiting services, talent management, applicant tracking, and employee engagement measurement. We are their entire staffing organization in the United States below the senior executive level, says Clark. Its a comprehensive solutiona complete RPO.

StorageTek joins several major RPO customers at Kenexa, including Microsoft, Amgen, Corning, and Schering Plough. Kenexa began life as a privately-held, pureplay executive search firm in 1987 before transitioning into a provider of large scale recruitment project management five years hence. Today, it employs more than 550 people worldwide at its U.S. headquarters in Wayne, Pennsylvania; Asia headquarters in Hyderabad, India; Europe headquarters in London; and its employee research center in Lincoln, Nebraska. The company went public June 24, 2005.

The process for hiring at StorageTek today begins with a formal job requisition made by a business unit or functional department using Kenexas technology platform. Once the requisition is approved, the hiring manager meets with Kenexas on-site recruiter to scope out exactly what is needed, Fiedelman explains. This information is delivered back to the sourcing center at Kenexas Wayne headquarters. Their people now begin early discussions with candidates. A slate of people is then submitted back to the on-site recruiter who takes the next step in the interview processdetermining with the hiring manager who to bring in for the interview, given certain metrics around the number of people they need to see for every search. Once the hiring manager meets the candidates and the selection is made, a recruiting team from Kenexa puts together all the administrative components of the job offering, equipping the new hire to be ready for the first day of work.

StorageTek anticipates the RPO agreement will be cost neutral for the first couple years, and then begin reaping dividends once the new process becomes routine. Its already beginning to click in terms of hiring managers understanding the true value of a recruitment partner, says Gaston. Plans are being discussed as to the dynamics of rolling out the strategy worldwide, although they are potentially complicated by the recent announcement that Sun Microsystems is buying StorageTek for $4.1 billion. Sun has an RPO agreement in place with another outsourcing provider. Our plan has been to start here in the United States and analyze the potential for a global rollout, says Gaston. We felt the complexities of going global right out of the gate were more than StorageTek wanted to bite off.

Clark is hopeful that the relationship with StorageTek will continue beyond domestic shores. We were in the midst of putting a timetable together (for a global strategy) when the merger was announced, he notes. But, weve had some great outcomes with them so far, and Im optimistic. I know Sun also is a company that appreciates outsourcing and is undergoing a significant HRO effort. We look forward to the opportunity to work with them.

Whether or not the engagement becomes worldwide, the RPO endeavor remains significant for several reasons. Says Gaston, A significant portion of our employees are in the United States, and that is where weve had the biggest push in the last year and a half as far as recruitment to meet the needs of both a growing Sales and Services organization and a highly technical Research, Development and Engineering organization. Like all big projects, this is a work in progress. 

In implementing the recruitment process outsourcing project, StorageTek and Kenexa pulled together a team of project managers and technology implementation consultants, which launched an exhaustive 90-day process of planning, mapping, and measuring. We looked at data and systems, basically the reports that StorageTek previously had generated, and then mapped out all the technology and the data interchanges between their HRIS system and our applicant tracking system, says Elliot Clark, Kenexa chief operating officer. The idea is to have our system seamlessly update their HRIS system every night.

Once the mapping was completed, the project team assembled a change management plan that was rolled out across the company in road shows with key executives. We believe that any service providers world should be about living inside the customers world, Clark says. What people buy from Kenexa is speed, cost reduction, and quality, but what we sell is process, execution, and measurement.

The road show introduced the planned changes and solicited feedback. StorageTek has very tight product development cycles and a lot of what the executives were concerned about was speed of execution, Clark notes. They wanted to know if we could fill jobs quickly with high quality people and measure this to be sure it took place. We had several executive sessions that culminated in very detailed service level agreements.

The SLAs are proprietary, although Clark says they are tied to two tiers of metrics. The first tier includes routine metrics like average time to fill a job, cost per hire, customer satisfaction, and various diversity indices. The second tier pulls business outcomes data, which is analyzed by Kenexas statisticians at its employee research center in Lincoln.

Their job, in part, is to evaluate the correlation between hiring practices and business outcomes, Clark explains. They measure things like the relationship between job retention and profitability, using data on absenteeism, workers compensation claims, job turnover, etc. With their analysis, a new hire will be correlated against certain outcomes that can be translated into business dollars.

Since implementing the full RPO in January 2005, StorageTek has seen significant improvement in those processes and metrics that are easily measured in weekly and monthly timeframes. Overall, both parties are pleased with the progress of the relationship and look forward to seeing the positive impact on long-term profitability of the organization.

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The Birth of the RPO Alliance

From opportunity to industry, RPO continues to flourish.

by Jason Berkowitz

In July of 2003, Randall Mehl of Robert W. Baird & Co. identified recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) as one of the most significant emerging opportunities in HRO. Since then, the industry has grown rapidly. The latest sign of the growth and maturity of the industry is the formation of the first nonprofit, nonpartisan industry group dedicated to RPO.

In March of 2005, the Human Resources Outsourcing Association (HROA) announced the formation of the RPO Alliancea group of HROA members who provide RPO services. Between March and June, the RPO Alliance grew from a handful of providers to more than 20 companies, with more joining every week. The RPO Alliance represents a broad cross-section of companies ranging from large, end-to-end, enterprise RPO providers, to vertically specialized companies, to project staffing providers, and even executive search firms. These companies have come together to help professionalize this rapidly growing and evolving industry.

I was appointed by the HROA to act as interim chair of the RPO Alliance, with the charge of organizing the group and setting its early direction and goals. As such, Ive sought and received input from many in the industry and have uncovered some of the following issues that are driving the initial efforts of the HROAs RPO Alliance.

The term RPO has only gained widespread use in the last year or two and lacks a clear definition. Does RPO mean only the total outsourcing of a companys recruitment process? Is a search firm or employment agency providing RPO? Does hiring contract recruiters fit into RPO? Does outsourcing just one facet of recruitment, such as resume screening, fit into RPO? There isnt an agreed-upon answer to these questions. Everyone in the industry has their own definition of what RPO means, but we can all agree that RPO comes in a number of shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors. To address this need, the RPO Alliance is developing an organizing schema and understandable terminology to describe what type of RPO a company provides and what type of RPO a buyer seeks.

Before embarking on any outsourcing initiative, it is important that the buyer has a quantitative grasp of what is driving their current state so that a business case for outsourcing can be built. In recruitment, current-state data should include a detailed understanding of the current direct and indirect costs, metrics of hiring time and quality, hiring-process mapping, and hiring projections and turnover/retention. Many buyers have a hard time efficiently gathering or analyzing such data. The RPO Alliance is preparing a variety of free, downloadable tools online to help buyers gather and analyze data in preparation for evaluating the viability of RPO as a strategy.

While companies have been using search firms and temporary staffing agencies for years, the idea of larger-scale or integrated RPO is relatively new. As a result, many companies are still using outdated evaluation and selection processes to pick their providers. For example, Ive seen RFPs for RPO that were clearly based on templates for buying contingent labor or IT consulting or even payroll services. By trying to fit the square peg of RPO into the round hole of an inappropriate RFP template, the buyer ends up investing unnecessary time reviewing a mountain of provider data irrelevant to the RPO program, while missing other data that is highly relevant. The RPO Alliance is developing best-practices recommendations around the evaluation of RPO providers, including guidance on when the RFP is or is not the best way to evaluate providers. We are also putting together templates and sample RFPs that will help buyers gather the information they need and rank providers according to their suitability to the specific project.

As the RPO Alliance continues to expand, we will undoubtedly tackle other issues in addition to the ones described above. I would welcome hearing from buyers and providers alike about the issues you feel we should address as the voice of the RPO industry. Drop me a line with your thoughts and you can take part in the ongoing dialogue about RPO and its place in the toolkit of serious HR executives looking to improve performance and control cost in the face of a tightening labor market.

Jason Berkowitz is a founding member and the current interim chair of the RPO Alliance, as well as a board member of the HROA. Jason is cofounder and VP of Business Development of Hyrian, a provider of enterprise-wide RPO exclusively to the Fortune 500. Jason can be reached at jberkowitz@hyrian.com.

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A Sweet RPO Package

Case Study: Hershey foods find success with RES.

by HROT Staff

After a thorough review of their Human Resources Strategic Plan for 2000, it was determined that in order for Hershey Foods Corporation to continue to attract and retain a talented, diverse workforce, it would need to implement new methodologies and state-of- the-art technology. Hershey has long been a household name when it comes to candy, but we needed to work on becoming an employer of choice, said Kerrie Wolfe, Manager, Strategic Staffing and Employee Integration, Hershey Foods Corporation. Not certain that their goals could be accomplished by only utilizing their internal resources, Hershey began researching available outsourcing capabilities, and by August 2001, they narrowed the list of vendors down to four and began the request for proposal process. Then in September of 2001, Hershey announced an Early Retirement Program that left their HR department sparse outsourcing the recruiting function couldnt have come at a better time with the selection of RES in February of 2002.

A month later, RES and Hershey began a complete assessment and analysis of the existing staffing processes and programs. Meanwhile, a team of three diverse RES recruiters was assigned to the Hershey program. Their task was to contact all hiring managers who had current job requisitions and determine where they were in the hiring process. The recruiters received approximately 75 requisitions within the first two weeks. Some of these jobs were in the final stage of the hiring process and required only administrative support, not RES recruiting expertisebut many did. A variety of recruiting strategies were developed to fill these requisitions with qualified applicants, including Internet postings, networking, the Hershey career site, and radio advertising.

Hershey also needed a fully-capable applicant tracking system (ATS). Such a system captures and tracks necessary data that allows reporting on a variety of performance initiatives such as time to fill, cost per hire, applicant source, etc. Understanding and reviewing these metrics is critical to evaluating the continuous design of a program and recognizing its overall success. The RES technology is amazing. It allows for a much more efficient flow of data as well as a quick glance at our performance initiatives, says Wolfe. I always know where we are excelling and where we have opportunities. Utilizing the information being gathered from the ongoing procedural assessment, the technology team began collaboration with Hershey to launch the development of a fully-customized ATS system.

Within five months, the system had been tested and was ready for launch. With the new system, hiring and HR managers would have the ability to input their open requisitions into the system, candidates and applicants would be managed, and RES dedicated recruiters would then review and interview qualified applicants to filter down to the top three to five, best fit applicants for hiring managers. With the entire recruiting process now online, all applicants (internal and external) could be reviewed in a single system. Managers were now able to review completed job applications, online questionnaires, and recruiter interview notes all in the new ATS. Applicants are fully processed through to the hire, and then all data is transferred to the Hershey HR database. Once a requisition is closed, the process does not end. The hiring manager would receive an e-mail alerting him or her to complete a customer survey on their experience with the system as well as the recruiter. Because retention is key, a survey is also sent to the new hire at three- and six-month intervals to track their performance and experience in the job.

During the first year of the relationship, the RES Hershey Talent Team assisted Hershey in managing and filling more than 400 positions. RES and Hershey agreed that the first year would be used to gather the data necessary to set a benchmark for future measurement and process improvement. With reductions in cost per hire of more than 30 percent and a reduction in time to fill of more than 19 percent, the new Hershey/RES recruitment solution was successful in its first year of implementation. Having one centralized process for all salaried hiring online, has moved Hershey into the forefront of the competition for talent, notes Wolfe. We have one central database so the hiring decision can be made more effectively, and we have full tracking and reporting capability as well.

Today, RES and Hershey continue to adjust the program as lessons are learned and improvement opportunities are recognized. Implementation of this system at Hersheys Chocolate World Visitor Center is planned for the future, as well as a planned migration to a new HRIS system, which is currently in development.

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Verity Finds True Savings With RPO

Case Study: After a major acquisition, this software company acquired some help for its hiring staff.

by HROT Staff

Verity Inc. is successful in enabling organizations to maximize the return on their intellectual capital investment with intellectual capital management (ICM) solutions, but they were in need of a hiring solution in the form of RPO. During Veritys formative years, the software developer managed their talent acquisition through a combination of in-house recruiting resources and external agencies. In early 2004, Verity acquired Cardiff Software. The purchase created new complexities around process, systems, geography, and culture. Further contributing to this complexity, Veritys tenured internal recruiting staff departed from the organization. Verity was left with a significant number of open positions, and largely dependent upon generalists and hiring managers to fill open positions with the support of external resources. Veritys cost per hire was estimated to be in the range of 17 to 19 percent (the national average is 14.6) with no tracking of metrics associated with hiring manager satisfaction or time required to present or hire candidates. Verity had more than 20 open jobs that were critical, with an additional 20 open positions across the organization. They turned to Accolo for help.

In January 2005, Accolo and Verity executed a long-term contract with defined service level agreements (SLAs) and an additional on-site Accolo consultant who serves as the program manager. The implementation of SLAs ensured Verity receives top-tier recruiting service. SLAs measured time to introduce the hired candidate, hiring manager satisfaction, candidate satisfaction, and cost-per-hire, and includes components related to quality, speed, and cost, and contains meaningful penalties and bonuses for results. Through Accolos unique recruiting methodology and proprietary enabling technology, Verity was able to reduce their recruiting costs to 8.8 percent of compensation hired, time to introduce to 5.2 days, and determine that hiring manager satisfaction had improved significantly. In less than two weeks, Verity had a complete integrated recruitment department delivering results on all jobs. This consisted of on-site staff, a technology backbone to drive referrals and manage all applicant tracking, inclusion of all candidate sources, and a high degree of hiring manager TLC. There was also a measurable reduction of agency usage, resulting in estimated cost savings of $175,000 in Q4 2004 alone. RPO introduced standardization of the recruitment process including diversity sourcing for all jobs and tracking for EEOC complianceallowing Verity to limit exposure to legal actions.

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