Three ways to determine if your talent acquisition process is ahead
of the curve.
By Beth Gilfeather
Todayâs RPO buyers demand a more exponential valueÂ proposition from providers. Simply achieving a clientâsÂ hiring goals and satisfying SLAs are not enough. BuyersÂ want a crystal ball and guarantee of their future state.Â They want a transformative RPO solution that providesÂ measurable value to both the talent acquisitionÂ department itself and the business as a whole. ThisÂ more expansive buying motive means that innovationÂ has taken center stage and has officially become theÂ core differentiator and a key selling point in todayâsÂ recruitment contracts.
Gary Bragar, HRO research director at NelsonHall,Â agrees: âRPO buyersâ key vendor selection criteria todayÂ extend to innovation, not just current recruitmentÂ capability. Clients are looking for a provider with aÂ focus on continuous process improvement, and who will continually introduce new ideas and recommendÂ innovative approaches.â
This heightened focus shines a light on the evolutionÂ of the RPO industry and raises the bar for all providersÂ to look at pioneering new ways to deliver superiorÂ recruitment services. However, while innovation isÂ a common area of focus nowadays, there doesnâtÂ seem to be a consistent definition in place. PhrasesÂ like âchallenging conventionâ and âthinking outsideÂ the boxâ are often used to describe a companyâsÂ innovative approach. But what does this mean? How can organizations determine if their approach is reallyÂ innovative? There should be more concrete ways toÂ determine what is innovativeâand what is not.
Consider these three approaches:
It must be breakthrough. You arenât being innovative ifÂ you are simply doing more of what has been done beforeÂ or only making small improvements. Solving problems isÂ not automatically innovative unless that the approach isÂ breaking new ground. Take, for example, the buildingÂ of a great sourcing strategy. Finding a new effective jobÂ board is not being innovative. That is being resourceful.Â But developing an entirely new candidate engagementÂ program is a good example of innovation. The RPOÂ provider will have done the necessary research toÂ identify the target talent pool, enact upon a thoughtfulÂ new advertising and social media program to captureÂ members, and build a creative and highly relevant yearlongÂ marketing campaign.
Buyer tip: Ask the provider specifically what isÂ âbreakthroughâ about their innovative approach.Â FocusÂ on understanding the roots of the differentiation. Is itÂ new or better information? New or better measurement?Â New or better process? New or better tools?
It must be proven. You arenât being innovative if yourÂ organization executes on a breakthrough idea that hasÂ never been provenâor worseâeventually fails. Success isÂ the key litmus test to innovation. Take heed if a providerÂ claims to be innovative before having actual examples ofÂ proven results.
Buyer tip: Ask the RPO provider for specific detailedÂ outcomes of their innovative approach. For example,Â ask for metrics around previous programs. They shouldÂ be able to show tracked benefits over time, measurableÂ wins, and a clear case of return on investment.
It must be continual. Innovation also has an expirationÂ date. There will be a point at which this idea hasÂ become the norm. If your organization built a successfulÂ candidate onboarding program that was implementedÂ more than a year ago, is it still innovative today? NotÂ likely. It needs another round of analysis to give birth toÂ an even better version.
Buyer tip: Ensure there are timelines involved with anyÂ innovation claims. Ask the provider when they brokeÂ ground with this new idea and if the concept hasÂ changed at all since inception. Any idea that is older thanÂ one year canât really be considered innovative, but canÂ still be considered successful and effective of course. AÂ good RPO provider should have a transformation teamÂ who is constantly evaluating and updating programs forÂ continuous improvement. Ask them where this functionÂ resides within their model and how it works.
HR executives need to understand what makes an RPOÂ provider an innovative company overall. ImportantÂ factors include better analytics, think tanks, and havingÂ a smart and creative staff. But donât overlook time andÂ attention. This begins and ends with the capacity of theÂ providerâs leadership team. Be sure to ask specificallyÂ how many clients are under the organizationâs assignedÂ directors. For example, a client-dedicated directorÂ with too many clients to manage will never have theÂ bandwidth to truly learn where the real opportunitiesÂ for growth may be.
A balanced and focused director willÂ be able to provide intensive everyday investment of theirÂ time to allow them to better understand the businessÂ and ultimately discover new and breakthrough ideas toÂ grow the solution.
Innovation is undeniably a key focal point. RPO buyersÂ should abide by a stricter definition of what innovationÂ is and probe deeply into these claims to fully understandÂ the providerâs approach and capabilities.
Beth Gilfeather is CEO and founder of Seven Step RPO.