Four HR practitioners provide the scoop on the state of RPO.
By Debbie Bolla
Chantale Canal-Stewart is lead talent acquisition manager at WellPoint. Since 2008, the health benefits company has worked with The RightThing for recruitment.
Patrick Crane is director, HR services, for VWR International. The lab supply distributor has engaged Pinstripe to handle end-to-end recruitment of nearly 800 annual hires in North America since 2009.
Valerie Egan is head of resourcing, North America, for Linde. SourceRight Solutions has been handling between 400 and 500 annual hires for the industrial gas supplier for three years.
Ginger Maness is HR Manager, recruiting and support services for Weatherford. KellyOGC has delivered more than 2,000 placements to the oilfield products and services company in 2011.
HROT: How has the RPO model changed in the last two years?
Maness: Our RPO model has evolved. In the beginning, with another RPO provider, we were new to outsourcing our recruitment and had changed the structure of our reporting functions. We began with a rotating recruiter in the Houston area who would monitor our service delivery. Their team in the United States and India would search our applicant tracking system database and source the boards to find additional candidates. As our understanding of what RPO could provide evolved and we continued to grow in the number of positions we needed to hire each year, we moved to our current RPO provider.
The model evolved to dedicating a recruitment manager in Houston at Weatherford’s headquarters and hiring a team of 15 dedicated recruiters, located throughout the U.S., based on Weatherford’s locations and volume. This allowed for our two companies to integrate our teams and brainstorm on the best recruitment strategies to be executed on a local and nationwide scale. This included building a program to run local career events with our two teams, managing 15 events in one year, resulting in approximately 300 hires for expanding product lines. Along with searching and posting to common job boards and oil/gas specific sites, our current RPO provider has recently expanded to targeting military bases, technical schools, and local community organizations. They continue to build oil and gas networks within LinkedIn and Twitter, and recently launched our first virtual career event.
Our model is now a partnership where we collectively continue to review our processes, structure, and tools to determine any efficiencies we could gain and technology enhancements that would improve consistency, compliance, and better service to our Weatherford hiring managers. We continue to advance the way we recruit, the partnership within our product lines, and the level of RPO talent on the team.
Egan: It has changed. What we need from the model is more experience with the recruiters that we have. Over the past two years, we have geared up and are hiring. Three years ago, we went through a hiring freeze and were only hiring basic position hiring to run the business. Now we are getting into new business for us as a company, for example clean energy, so we need recruiters who have different skill sets to find people within our industry of oil and gas. SourceRight is working well with us on that.
Crane: We’ve added some services, including off-boarding, which was the most significant change. Currently, we are talking to them about extending the contract as well as providing global services—a global technology system for applicant tracking and job searches. We’re in close to 30 countries, and most recruit on their own, so there is very little employment visibility across the company and very little sourcing of people across Europe.
Canal-Stewart: It’s difficult for me to say right now. We definitely did see a decrease in turnover, but we’re not sure if it’s through the process or workflow that The RightThing has been able to bring in or the economy. The scalability of staffing and being able to work in high spike times and remove staff and deploy them elsewhere during slow times has been realized
HROT: Do you look to your RPO for navigating talent retention?
Crane: That is one of the metrics they measure as part of the “quality of hire” metric. We bench line that to what it was prior to our engagement. It went from about 95 percent to 98 percent [retention after six months]. The cost of recruitment is high, and the cost of losing someone that you put so much time in to find and to train is huge, so retention is very important. If you turn over the same position every six months, you aren’t moving the business along.
Egan: We want to make sure we have the right talent in place. For every hire we make, we want to make sure it is an employee we’d like to retain.
Maness: Our main focus with our RPO provider has been attraction and engagement of candidates, with a limited scope on retention. We rely on the RPO team to properly source, screen, and inform candidates about the opportunities at Weatherford. This allows our hiring managers to interview qualified candidates who truly understand the demands of the job. Our ultimate goal is to identify talent that will connect with and exhibit long-term commitment to the organization. In addition to what our RPO partner brings to the table, Weatherford continues to grow organically, demonstrating our commitment to our employees’ career advancement.
Canal-Stewart: I do. Turnover has decreased, but I am not sure if it’s because of what The RightThing has put in place, or if it’s because there weren’t any other jobs out there. They did put things in place that did assist in turnover—for example, a telephone interview template that took 30 minutes to screen a candidate to really assess not only their background and experience but also some soft skills and whether they can handle call center volume. These are important to know and help determine whether someone will be successful with us. So have we seen a decrease in turnover? Absolutely. At one point even, they did at no cost, exit interviews, to get a better understanding of why people were leaving.
HROT: What metric is now most important to your organization, and why?
Canal-Stewart: “Time to fill” is very important, especially with customer service. For new hires, they fill based on the start date and how many are needed. The RightThing is filling that metric between 95 and 98 percent of the time. Manager satisfaction is also important. That is a survey that goes out after a new hire is completed to see if the recruitment was to their liking. Did they get enough candidates? Did the candidates meet their needs?
Crane: “New hire satisfaction.” That is the first impression of the company through the recruitment process. So many people make the decision if they are going to stay in a position because of the on-boarding experience. That drives the success of the person down the road. Pinstripe implements SilkRoad’s Red Carpet, which is an electronic on-boarding portal. New hires, managers, and HR business partners log into this to view the tasks they have to perform to complete all the first-day activities. It allows the person to be as productive as they can the first day they arrive. The on-boarding activities begin when they accept the job offer, which is typically three weeks before they start. Once they accept the job offer, that triggers all the activities that need to happen—ordering a desktop, getting them into our systems, filling out paperwork. The days of the first day being lost are over. To measure new hire satisfaction, every new hire is surveyed within a month of being hired, 20 questions that go through their experience, and we ask them to rate their experience. Our metrics went up from 50 percent satisfaction to close to 90 percent.
Maness: “Cycle time” is still our most important metric but not so important that is compromises our commitment to diversity, quality of candidate, and compliance. We continue to look at cycle time from different angles by breaking it down into sub-cycle time, so we can find further efficiencies and eliminate redundancy.
Egan: “Time to fill.” That is what managers complain about. We measure on average time to fill per month. We worked with SourceRight to decrease the time to fill. For our exempt positions, it was 65 days. In our new contract, since SourceRight knows our business, we think it should come down a little.
“Quality of hire” is also important, which we measure by satisfaction survey that our managers and new hires fill out. We give them the opportunity to offer feedback for improvement in the process. We look at these results every quarter to try to remedy the areas of concern.
HROT: How is technology improving talent acquisition?
Crane: Web optimization technology (Jobs2Web) allows for passive candidate search through every source on the Internet that’s about potential candidates. The key is not to find the people who are actively looking but those who aren’t. Those who are very successful in their jobs and add the most value—those are the people we want to go after. There are a variety of ways to communicate with them through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s a very effective way to introduce passive candidates to VWR.
Canal-Stewart: We’ve upgraded to Taleo 10. We’ve had a lot of system improvement and technology improvement, and they’ve been at the table with us learning and integrating with our current technology. They also have brought in technology to assist in the recruitment process, such as the scheduler, where they are able to have candidates tell us the best time to reach them for interviews, with email submissions to send out at a minutes notice.
HROT: How is social media changing the game?
Egan: This is really helpful to us. Recruiters can reach out to networks and groups to find the passive job seeker. As a company, we don’t have a policy to use Facebook. Our vendor can use these social media avenues to find candidates for us. It can be difficult to find candidates for the newer jobs in clean energy. These types of people aren’t necessarily looking for jobs. Our recruiters are pretty skilled at finding good candidates through social media sites.
Maness: Social media has been a game changer because of the speed to market it provides and our ability to communicate opportunities to passive candidates. However, we cannot ignore the challenges associated with social media such as the lack of control over marketing content that may not follow our corporate branding guidelines. With the ever-changing social media environment, we constantly are learning, adapting, and in tune with the creative source this avenue provides.
Crane: The ability to do online chat is really cool. As someone is filling out an application online, we can monitor what they are completing, and if recruiters are very interested in them, they can send an instant message in real time. The recruiter can offer the candidate assistance with any questions they may have. That’s really impressive. It’s great that we can show that much interest in a candidate. Its so much different from the cynical feeling many people have from not hearing after submitting an application to a job.
Canal-Stewart: We are a professional organization, so we have to go through several steps and processes to get social media for our current recruitment, whereas the RightThing can step in. They actually posted one of our positions on Craigslist, and we were able to, in a very remote area, get a lot of candidates to apply. They have really imbedded that in our organization.
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