BenefitsEngaged Workforce

Changing the Debate

RPO continues to reshape recruiting, making meaningful contributions to talent acquisition and management.

by Sue Marks

As long as I have been in the recruiting business, there has been a debate about the value of recruiting and search services. All HR leaders can point to a bad executive search or staffing company experience. On the other hand, when asked to reflect on their most rewarding experience, they talk with pride about a particularly important executive-level search they’ve completed or high-impact recruiting project fulfilled and the difference it made for the organization.

Why the dichotomy? I believe it can be attributed to an embarrassing lack of creativity, innovation, and customer awareness from some recruiting firms.

Really, how long will the industry hang on to the one-percent-per-thousand fee structure and one-by-one transactions?

Over the years, recruiting services provided to clients have ranged from temp staffing and temp-to-hire to contingency and retained search, from contract recruiting and research now to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). As a subset of BPO and HRO, RPO truly has the potential to deliver short- and long-term strategic value to clients.

Are current RPO providers trusted advisors to their clients, or simply transaction-minded vendors charged with executing reactive recruiting processes for their clients? The answer is: Both. Are RPO buyers looking for a strategic partner they can trust and build their current and future vision with? Yes and no.
RPO is an emerging solution quickly gaining traction. However, if RPO takes a page out of the old playbook of traditional recruiting, search, and staffing firms, its value will end up increasingly transactional, procurement-oriented, and commoditized. So how can it continue to reshape recruiting and make meaningful contributions to talent acquisition and management?

Continue to reshape the client and candidate experience. From pricing to best practices to SLAs and ROI, RPO firms must set the bar high and keep raising it to exceed expectations. Innovative RPO firms are providing solutions and deliverables that go beyond their customers’ vision. In fact, as world-class organizations begin to pay attention to workforce planning and talent pipelining at the senior executive and board level, the opportunities are great.

• Focus on proactive talent pipelining.
Why do so many organizations and their leaders accept such average performance on the part of their internal recruiting department and providers’ recruiting results? Today, it is estimated that 90 percent of the resources in talent acquisition and recruiting are devoted to managing reactive applications to the organization’s “post and pray” strategy.

First, shifting resources to “early” talent identification, sourcing and relationship management will mobilize a proactive outreach that will assist in anticipating staffing needs. Next, developing and deploying technologies that provide workforce planning and forecasting will create new astounding results. Charge it up and watch the business thrive.

Deliver ROI and strategic value to clients. RPO promises to deliver recruiting results on a broad scale in a better, faster, and cheaper way. And it is beginning to fulfill that promise in its early stage. We need to generate the kind of impact and ROI that makes it into the board reports.

And we can do it. Process and technology best practices can enable both the HR and the recruiting teams to harness a powerful stream of existing information in real time for fact-based, strategic decision-making.

Technology needs to be the backbone of great talent acquisition and management—as it is now for most other functions. It must be the ERP of the organization’s talent, the facilitator of a predictable enterprise-wide talent supply chain—not just a depository of data. After all, cars tell us when they need an oil change and sometimes much more than that. Consumers manage their financial investments and transactions online. Amazon knows what books we want to read before we do. Why are we so reluctant to fully embrace this potential in HR?

The potential is breathtaking for organizations that take the leap of faith. Indeed, the impact is wide-ranging, and quality goes up while costs go down.

In closing, RPO can truly reshape recruiting and change the debate from “good vs. bad” to “good vs. great.” The opportunity to bring valuable choices to our customers before the requisition is open and the ability to help companies realize the broad-reaching benefits that acquiring the “best talent faster” offer are the most compelling reasons for change in talent acquisition today. It can be done.

Tags: Benefits, Engaged Workforce

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