We rank the top 13 providers based on customer satisfaction surveys.
By Elliot Clark
Yes, this is our fifth annual Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings for RPO based upon a customer feedback survey. As always, it is critical that we offer an explanation of each survey, the results, and how they were derived. Our web survey instrument comprised from more than 40 qualitative or quantitative questions. Criteria and weighting for different questions were established in advance but not disclosed to the RPO providers. We keep the formula a secret so no one could coach a respondent to key questions that heavily impact the overall rating.
At our request, the RPO providers distributed the survey link to their buyers. We also made it clear to the customer respondents that their responses were confidential. In addition, we canvassed our own database of buyers, and our sample now accounts for more than 50 to 60 percent of the response. We received more than 500 customer surveys on more than 45 RPO providers. We received some incomplete surveys that we discarded and some that were disqualified. The final tabulation was based on 466 surveys from 266 companies. This is our largest and most industrially and geographically diverse survey sample to date and we were thrilled by the size of the response and the candor of some of the respondents.
The survey items examined the sub-processes of RPO service indexed as Overall Breadth of Service. A comprehensive service offering is the ultimate goal of the outsourcing industry so we thought this was important to measure. It is also harder to provide service across broader offerings and we took this into account in an allowance in the customer service scoring. Questions required a “yes” or “no” response to each service component. The answers were then assigned points, averaged, and calculated to generate the index.
Another index was generated on the Overall Size of Program. This was based on numerical data about average hires managed per year. While not heavily ranked in the overall index, we thought it was good information for the buyers. We do not heavily weigh it because buyers deserve great service on all programs regardless of size.
The final component and most important component of the index is Quality of Service. This was based on a series of questions that examined the performance and the relationship between provider and customer. We used a five point Likert scale with answers ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Each answer was ascribed a point value and the points were totaled, averaged, and the mean was calculated into the Overall Quality of Service index. We then weighted each element for the overall ranking. The overall ranking weighs each element in the development of an overall scoring.
We recognize that RPO is a global industry so we ranked the leading firms in the RPO industry from all over the world. This year we have developed a list of the best firms that offer a global delivery capability. This list is a modified list drawn from our RPO Baker’s Dozen provider rankings. This list also shows “regions reported.” If a provider had two or more surveys from clients from a specific region that region was listed in this column. Be aware, for example, some companies, such as Adecco, have subsidiaries such as Hyphen that do work in other regions of the world, and some companies, such as Pinstripe, have alliances with other firms such as Ochre House. AllegisTalent2 is made up of two different companies that have formed a legal joint venture company to manage their joint programs so defining the global market providers is a challenge. This is how the data flowed, but there is often more to the story than simply numbers.
We also have provided a list of mid-market and project/on-demand leaders. These are firms that offer hiring programs that may be multiyear, but may not have programs that aren’t in the same size and scale of the enterprise providers. They also may do project or on-demand programs. Depending on your needs, they make be an excellent choice for your company. Many of the enterprise providers started in this mode and graduated to even larger multiyear programs. We believe these are companies worth watching in the near term.
We also examine momentum of the providers to see how many were adding new deals and included this factor as a minor rating item into our index. It has predicted moves on the list in prior years. We have five solid years of normative data and considerable overall buyer sentiment feedback from the survey that we will publish in time for the HRO Today Forum in Washington, DC, May 1-3, 2012.
Whether you agree with our specific ranking or not (and you will hear lots of opinions), these are the top RPO firms and we hope this helps you evaluate who to call in the year to come.
Elliot Clark, CEO, HRO Today