An explaination of how HRO Today compiled the RPO Baker’s Dozen ranking
This is our second RPO Baker’s Dozen ranking based on a customer-feedback survey. This year, we generated a survey that comprised 40 qualitative or quantitative questions. We established criteria and weighting for different questions in advance, but we did not disclose the question rankings to the RPO providers. We kept the formula for weighting the indices a secret so no one could coach a respondent to key questions that heavily affected the overall rating.
At our request, RPO providers distributed the survey link to their buyers, to whom we made clear that their responses were confidential. In addition, we canvassed our own database of buyers. We received 262 completed customer surveys on 41 RPO providers. This is our largest and most diverse survey sample to date, and we were thrilled by the candor of some of the respondents. We also pulled some very good industry aggregate data about overall RPO industry performance that you will read in my CEO’s Corner.
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 the scoring.
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 weight it because buyers deserve great service on all programs, regardless of size.
The final 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 that was totaled, averaged, and used to calculate a mean that went into the overall quality of service index. We then weighted each element for the overall ranking, which affected the overall scoring.
We recognize that RPO is going global so we ranked the leading firms in the RPO industry outside of the U.S. This year we have developed a list of the best firms that offer a global delivery capability. This is a different list from our Enterprise RPO Baker’s Dozen Provider Rankings. We have also provided a list of project/on-demand and emerging Leaders. These are firms that offer hiring programs that may be project based. Many of the enterprise providers started in this mode and graduated to a practice of primarily multi-year programs. We believe these are companies worth watching in the near term.
There are many highlights. The RightThing, Inc. (RTI) had the best overall score. Spherion led the way with the best customer service—it beat RTI by .11 of one percent. As we noted last year, The RightThing and Spherion are competing heavily at the top of the space. PeopleScout moved up on the strength and size of programs and very good service scores. They are poised for a run at the top. Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) is still the gold standard internationally with the broadest service in RPO, according to our data, and U.S. buyers looking for overseas support should consider AMS.
Whether you agree with our specific ranking or not (and you will hear lots of opinions), we hope this helps you evaluate who to consider in the year to come.