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8 keys to Europe: What matters now for practitioners?

Tough competition, stagnant economy, and some great new tools

By Bill Hatton

What do HR pros in Europe need to know about recruiting and RPO in the next year to prevent being blindsided? We put this question to Jan Mueller, Managing Director, EMEA Solutions, Futurestep, based in Munich, Germany. Jan has been in recruitment for almost 20 years and in the RPO industry for 10 years. He generously shared his insights with HRO Today Global on the state-of-the-market in Europe:

  1. The lay of the land in Europe shows a market that’s maturing, versus a United Kingdom that has matured. “There are companies within the European region that don’t yet have a dedicated recruitment function, but rather still have HR generalists who do everything. It tends to be Central European countries, as well as the likes of Germany and France, who are still catching up, whereas in the UK we are seeing a very mature market.”
  2. The European economy is stagnant. “The United States now boasts admirable growth rates whilst Europe continues its struggle with an annual GDP growth rate of around 1.5 – having hovered at the zero mark in 2012 and 2013. However, whilst countries like the UK are doing really well, elsewhere in Europe, such as Germany, we are seeing the impact of slow growth on organizational thinking. The result is a cautious attitude which focuses on the here and now. As a result businesses are failing to implement long-term talent strategies, which is an impact on planning, recruitment and ultimately on how organizations can improve. They need to have the agility to change their course depending on what is happening in the market and in the macro-economic situation.”
  3. Even in a maturing market, a ‘recruitment engine’ is not enough. “The stagnating economy has meant providers need to be flexible, consultative and really get under the skin of clients to understand where they are and what they truly need. It isn’t ‘process outsourcing’ anymore but what we would call ‘recruitment outsourcing’, or ‘consulting and outsourcing’. As such, HR practitioners should be thinking about the value of working with a partner who can support beyond the recruitment process. To me, this is one of the most important thing people should be looking at in Europe when thinking about RPO.”
  4. Practitioners should prepare for providers who want to assist broadly in recruiting as opposed to providing one-size-fits-all for a specific process. “A model that isn’t working anymore in Europe, predominately because of the fragile economy, is a standard one-size-fits-all process. To remain relevant, RPO providers must ensure they have the capacity and capability to deeply understand where the client stands, identifying what kind of challenges the client is facing and then tailoring their offering around their needs. This will also facilitate the integration of added solutions such as assessment and salary benchmarks, branding and workforce planning.”
  5. Demographics are changing the rules. “We are seeing a clear power shift in the attraction for talent in Europe. Big established organizations, who in the past could rely on a strong brand and market, are now competing against up and coming firms which are growing at a pace and have a completely different organizational culture. They are drawing upon young, skilled individuals coming out of university as the talent of choice and need to rework their employer brand to attract this new talent set entering the market.”
  6. Look for vendors who understand you. “When you think about RPO in Europe, you want to have as much value-add out of an RPO provider as possible. Working with a partner who has an extended value chain can help companies understand their organisation brand and culture. Providers need to help organisations understand how to assess candidates correctly and develop appropriate attraction strategies, using modern tools such as mobile, video and social media. Integrating technology into both the brand and outreach strategy can not only create a great customer experience, but will help select and on-board candidates appropriately.”
  7. Look at recruiting from a “quality of hire” perspective. “In the past, when defining the process of outsourcing, you would focus on what makes for an effective process, such as the methodology and use of key performance indicators, such as time-to-hire and cost-to-hire. Nowadays we are seeing recruitment become increasingly focused on the quality-of-hire metric. In order to do this effectively, providers are building assessments into the selection process, as well as measuring how candidates perform once hired. This allows RPOs to review the recruitment process, gathering information to determine whether their current strategies are working effectively to find best-fit talent.”
  8. Big Data is in early stages, but is going to start having more and more of an impact. “I think we’re at the point where we will see a strong development over the next two to three years in how Big Data is used in recruitment. We’ve gotten to the point where you can check if your assessment tools are correct because the talent you have recruited is performing ideally. Some organizations are using specific technology to collect and analyse information about candidates from across the Internet, allowing for a much broader picture of candidates – rather than solely referring to a CV, or a Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

“Outsourcers can help you understand job-changing patterns in the talent market, for instance, how often candidates log onto LinkedIn. Do people look onto job pages? Are they changing their LinkedIn profiles? This helps identify talent that is more likely to be open to new opportunities so they can be approached directly. Whilst everyone is familiar with the term of Big Data, no one yet has found the ‘Holy Grail’ to use it holistically for recruitment. But that will come. We have made great developments already and its importance will only continue to grow in the coming years.”

Tags: global-autumn-2015

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