Both sides of the RPO equation have evolved. It’s time to meld expertise and innovation into an effective talent acquisition strategy.
By Jeanne MacDonald
The role of the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider is changing. Gone are the days of a simple one-size-fits-all approach, and instead we herald an era of tailored talent management solutions that directly feed into a company’s business strategy. As the expression states, you are only as good as your best people, and the boardroom is taking note. In order to survive in an increasingly competitive economic environment, measures need to be taken to ensure talent acquisition is being addressed as
a top priority.
As a result, the role of the chief human resources officer (CHRO) has become increasingly valued among the C-suite. Securing this well-earned place at the executive table brings with it a degree of pressure around contributing value, formulating new strategies, and designing an innovative operating model for the business. When it comes to talent acquisition, RPO has a role. Aberdeen research recently found that more than 50 percent of businesses are considering an element of RPO or full-scale RPO into their talent acquisition strategies. This continues to drive home the need for an on-set strategic partnership between the RPO buyer and its provider.
Today’s sophisticated buyers expect their provider to become an integral part of their workforce. RPO providers must have the capability to fully immerse into an organization to understand its recruitment challenges. Working closely with the CHRO allows access to a company’s entire business infrastructure, providing the strategic assessment team to fully delve into operational performance and current talent strategy. Before there may have been some reluctance, but this is essential to enable a better understanding to foster the best possible solution. Often members of the consulting team will even stay on during transition to ensure seamlessness.
Practitioners are also taking steps to increase their internal involvement. Organizations that have a dedicated internal contact that executes an appropriate level of joint diagnosis and examination is a worthwhile investment and will lead to the most customized solution, yielding the best possible results for both parties. This ‘internal champion’ operating among the C-suite can effectively communicate the overall holistic framework of the business, and work with RPO provider to develop an effective strategy.
As the CHRO has become more sophisticated so have the nature of the solutions. They are more complex and no longer restricted to talent acquisition alone. New research from the Aberdeen Group shows that best-in-class organizations are deploying next-generation solutions that offer innovation and in-depth functionality across all areas of recruitment.
It is critical that the RPO partner provide consultancy in areas that are intrinsically linked with talent acquisition that achieve better overall outcomes, efficiencies, and ultimately a reduced cost per hire metric. This involves a host of services extending from building strategic talent communities, developing an organization’s employer brand, strategizing workforce planning, and integrating competent HR technologies. This is where RPO comes into its own, building on its expert knowledge of the recruitment market and providing innovation in areas critical to meeting the business’s immediate and long-term strategic and financial objectives.
The importance global organizations place on innovation can no longer be underestimated. In fact, recent research from Futurestep shows that employees are demanding innovation at every stage of the employee lifecycle. With more than 75 percent of employees expecting employers to innovative in the way they retain and engage their staff, organizations need to formulate a plan in order to secure an edge over their competitors. But they aren’t. While 77 percent of HR professionals in North America think that demonstrating innovation in recruitment and talent management is crucial to achieving growth targets, an equal amount—76 percent— confirmed their organization should be doing more to demonstrate innovation in this way. So what is stopping the CHRO?
In the United States, research showed the significant barriers to adopting best practice methods were a shortage of financial investment and lack of senior buy-in. The role of the CHRO is to make the case to the board that innovation is crucial to standing out from the crowd and winning the war for talent, while maintaining growth and profitability.
A partnership with an RPO provider can help. Their market expertise in implementing innovative practices across the board will ensure to attract and retain the best talent available. Other benefits include keeping motivation and productivity levels high in order to drive growth in a continuingly challenging economic climate.
And in a market as competitive as the U..S, securing and keeping the very best talent is crucial. Innovation isn’t a tick-box exercise, or a whim of a tech-savvy HR manager, but a technique to help gain competitive advantage through talent, which is a company’s greatest asset. For the CHRO, being able to take guidance from the RPO partner means the design of a customized and effective business strategy to achieve these goals.
As talent, knowledge, and leadership become the currency of competitive advantage for organizations around the world, the role of the CHRO is more critical than ever to achieve business success. While the CHRO will understand the needs of the business, a strategic and objective third party with a specialized skill set and expertise is an essential addition to meet the needs of high-performing companies. With this, the role of the RPO provider is becoming more that of a consultant, advising organizations how best to compete effectively in the business space. In today’s tightening talent market, the strength of your talent acquisition function will make or break your company. This only becomes more complex when you look at global organizations examining at their talent needs around the world. As the CHRO and an RPO work together, such challenges and demands can be addresses and dealt with effectively.
Jeanne MacDonald is chief global sales and solutions officer for Futurestep.