New research shows the drivers of RPO are changing as the marketÂ matures.
By Nikki Edwards
Fact: The world of work is changing, and so is the worldÂ of recruitment. The accelerating pace of technologicalÂ advancement and the global shortage of talent areÂ probably the two most significant factors driving thatÂ change. So too are preferences for a more consumerizedÂ and personalized experience and having a socialÂ media presence. Alongside are the complexities ofÂ working with a multigenerational workforce, an agingÂ workforce, economic and political uncertainty, and theÂ emergence of next-generation industries and jobs.
So how do organizations assimilate these factors andÂ ensure that recruitment processes are fit-for-purpose forÂ the 21st century workplace?
RPO partners have had to adapt and continue to adaptÂ to these changes in order to survive: HR and TA teamsÂ expect them to be at the top of their game. AdaptationÂ means offering new services, enhancing existingÂ services, and putting significant monetary investmentÂ into technology and tools. In 2019, tech platforms helpÂ enable the ability to deliver competitive recruitmentÂ services.
In contrast, RPO partners report that the gap isÂ widening between their expertise and rate ofÂ adaptation and their customersâ knowledge ofÂ market trends and rate of adaptation. While HR andÂ TA are well versed in the advantages of leveragingÂ recruitment expertise, they are not keeping up withÂ the accelerating pace of change. In a candidate-drivenÂ market, basic errors are being made: Organizations areÂ failing to respond to job applicants (ghosting them)âor are taking too long to respond to candidates soÂ candidates are now ghosting them! Missteps like thisÂ will jeopardize their ability to find, attract, and keepÂ talent, which ultimately will put their long-term survivalÂ in doubt.
To get a better understanding of the current state, lookÂ at those roles that have input into the hiring of talent,Â and ask: Are responsible team members up to dateÂ withâand usingâthe latest recruitment technology,Â tools, methodologies, processes, and skills required toÂ source, attract, and hire talent effectively to the best ofÂ their ability?
If the answer is no, hopefully that is incentive enough toÂ act. But an in-house team, focused on their day-to-dayÂ corporate challenges, is not likely to have the in-depthÂ market knowledge required. The level of expertise willÂ likely need to come from a HR services partner.
Organizations partner with RPO vendors for a varietyÂ of reasons. NelsonHallâs 2019 RPO research showed thatÂ the top driver is their flexibility to support organizationsÂ during peaks of hiring activity. For example, leveragingÂ RPO during the opening of a new call center wouldÂ eliminate the need to hire in-house recruiters andÂ then end their contracts some time later. RPO partnersÂ typically offer a variety of programs depending onÂ needs, including project RPO, staff augmentation orÂ âtry-before-you-buyâ services for short-term needs (lessÂ than a year in duration), and long-term, end-to-end RPOÂ programs.
The research found that organizations also leverageÂ RPO in order to use their expertise to source talent andÂ get advice on appropriate technology and tools forÂ their needs. RPO partners also have experience hiringÂ candidates with specialist skills in a specific industryÂ sector and can deliver the best talent based on theÂ nuances and challenges of the sector as well as access toÂ the talent pool.
While most organizations have existing technologyÂ in place and often a limited budget to spend onÂ new platforms, RPO partners can provide advice onÂ where to focus on enhancements, like robotic processÂ automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning,Â and analytics. Plus RPO partners are agnostic: TheyÂ recommend the best tools to overcome the hiringÂ challenge whether they have proprietary technology orÂ they are third-party offerings. Gone are the days whenÂ RPO engagements would only include specific platforms.Â Smaller organizations with limited existing tech haveÂ the ability to seek out RPO partners who focus on SMBs,Â as they offer multifunctional recruitment platformsÂ aligned to organizational size and spend expectations.
Standardizing recruitment processes is another driverÂ for organizations. RPO partners can help make processesÂ more efficient, especially for multinational and globalÂ organizations that leverage a plethora of localizedÂ processes and technology. Aligning processes can alsoÂ ensure a great and consistent candidate experience.Â Some reduction in the number of platforms used may beÂ advised, but RPO partners can offer a platform layer toÂ sit across all technology, providing a standard interfaceÂ or portal for candidates. This gives the perception of aÂ unified system while existing technology and additionalÂ tools have been integrated behind the scenes toÂ deliver the required functionality and user experience.Â NelsonHall research finds that driving efficiencies savesÂ between 10 percent and 33 percent in time-to-hire ratesÂ and a quick-apply process sees application completionÂ rates that exceed 90 percent.
Despite organizations facing budget cuts, this yearâsÂ research finds that saving money is no longer a topÂ driver for using RPO. However, RPO can decreaseÂ costs, often between 20 and 50 percent, and can tailorÂ offerings based on budget availability. OrganizationsÂ seeking more low-cost solutions can leverage offshoreÂ support or more automated services using recruitmentÂ platforms.
Organizations that have leveraged RPO partnersÂ over multiple contract cycles find they have moreÂ sophisticated drivers for continuing to use theirÂ services. When competing for a niche pool of talent,Â it is all about getting to that talent quicker thanÂ competitor organizations and securing the topÂ candidates. RPO partners have expertise and insightsÂ on talent availability by producing heat maps showingÂ concentrations of talent availability. Then, they leverageÂ tools with complex built-in algorithms to find potentialÂ candidates, engage them in a timely manner (maybeÂ building relationships over time for potential futureÂ opportunities), and refine those processes over timeÂ by using machine learning. Research shows that RPOÂ partners record an average increase of 17 percent inÂ candidate engagement. Some technology deployedÂ looks at âsuccessfulâ hires (retained employees) andÂ uses sophisticated algorithms to find similar candidatesÂ in a bid to replicate hiring success and career longevityÂ of those candidates within the organization.
Those organizations with long-term RPO partnershipsÂ do not rest on their laurels; they grow and evolve theirÂ hiring practices, making continuous improvements,Â adapting to whatever hiring challenges are thrown atÂ them.
Nikki Edwards is HR outsourcing principal research analyst forÂ NelsonHall.