RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Bye-Bye Boundaries

With a “white label” approach, organizations can optimize their talent pipelining by blending permanent and contract recruiting.

By Joel Capperella
Over the last 18 months, organizations that are evaluating managed staffing programs as well as those that are considering changes to existing managed staffing programs have approached the task from slightly new perspectives. It is an evolution that is similar to the one that gained speed with the onset of the recession and had many organizations looking to push statement of work (SOW), consulting, and project work into the sphere of managed staffing control.
The motivation then was mostly one of aggressive cost savings. The coming trend here, however, seems to be a slightly more sophisticated attempt to consolidate the process of sourcing and recruiting talent into the organization. More specifically, organizations are evaluating the ability to deploy white label recruiting. This is the practice of leveraging a hybrid managed staffing program that will handle both contracted labor and permanent labor in a manner that tightly controls and elevates the employment brand.
White label recruiting is likely to be one of the more prominent trends in 2013, especially for companies that have an estimated contracted labor expense between $10 and $50 million. The trend of white label recruiting (or co-branded and bespoke) reflects a desire to approach the talent sourcing process in a manner that eliminates the unnecessary boundaries that exist between the use of contracted labor and permanent labor.
Motivated in part by greater confidence in an organization’s ability to better understand and adhere to co-employment and independent contractor classification compliance, white label recruiting is a clear indication that organizations believe that they have maximized their cost savings approach in their talent supply chain and are now focused on improving the cost to value of getting talent into the company.
On face value, white label recruiting in not necessarily anything new. For years, organizations have insisted that their managed staffing programs work to represent the employment brand of the company in positive light. What is new, however, is that the structure of these programs is moving far beyond traditional on-premise managed staffing programs and more closely reflecting the embedded approach found more frequently in recruitment process outsourcing engagements.
Here are some benefits:
Employer branding. The branding aspects of a white label solution are significant as well. It offers the customer a way to leverage what might be a strong existing brand, while augmenting their recruiting ability and tapping into the expertise of a managed staffing partner, both in terms of the efficiency of the process and their recruiting resources.
Coordinated focused sourcing. White label recruiting makes no distinction between contracted recruiting efforts and permanent recruiting efforts, at least from the perspective of the team that is sourcing and candidate pipelining. This is reflected in early stages of the planning cycle where effort is invested to identify the skills that are required to match the year’s workforce strategy. Sourcing is executed against the macro-level objectives of the plan in order to ensure that the right skills are identified and pipelined for expected demand, regardless of whether or not the ultimate position is temporary or permanent.
Talent community development. White label recruiting begins to make investments in building out the ability of the organization to interact with the talent communities that house the people that posses the right skill sets and career aspirations. This interaction is done in the name of the client and not the provider. Some white label recruiting contracts will go so far as to contractually specify that the resulting interactions and database of passive candidates belong to the end client.
Employment brand and candidate marketing. The staffing provider overseeing the managed staffing program that takes a white label approach is frequently tasked with employment brand oversight and candidate marketing communications. A less mature area of the white label recruiting practice is exactly how much effort is included in the managed staffing contract and whether or not specific candidate marketing effort—such as content creation—is billed separately from typically managed staffing service level agreements. The provider is also asked to maintain and drive social media presence of the company under the banner of the company’s employment brand. This is an area that should come into better focus as the white label recruiting trend matures in the first half of the coming year. One decision point will be to determine how much or how little social media recruiting is handed over to the provider.
Candidate experience. The managed staffing provider’s responsibility for the candidate experience is likely to have new metrics introduced. Again this is an area that is not necessarily new to such programs, but the quality of the experience and the consistency of the experience between contracted employees and permanent employees has a greater importance in a white label recruiting approach. As such, look for new service level agreement requests around measurable aspects of the overall candidate experience to be included in contracts.
Measured scalability. The consolidation of sourcing and recruiting for contracted and permanent labor will carry with it the expectation that the engine in place to enable it will easily scale up and down with demand. There is a technology component to this as well as a reporting component. Evaluation of managed staffing programs that will include a white label approach will include an analysis of a provider’s ability to provide scalability in a way that is not disruptive to the overall process. Technology partners will be required to demonstrate their application’s ability to capture the right data, handle varying volume, and effectively report across both contracted and permanent workers.
White label recruiting is a trend that will continue to advance the overall maturity of how managed staffing programs are evaluated and deployed. There will be early successes as well as some challenges, but ultimately clients will benefit from a staffing provider’s willingness and ability to adjust their delivery infrastructure to handle the objective of a consolidated sourcing and recruiting effort that focuses on all talent across the organization.
Joel Capperella is senior vice president of marketing at Yoh, a provider of professional staffing. He is also a regular contributor at The Seamless Workforce, a blog covering the latest news on workforce solutions.

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