RPO & StaffingTalent Acquisition

Waltz or Tango?

How recruiting process outsourcing can stay in step with talent.

By Elizabeth Rennie
 
There’s one sure thing about the RPO business, good talent is always on the move. That’s because it’s always being chased. Social technologies have made the chase even more dynamic.
 
Having just completed my first RPO market analysis during which I interviewed nearly 50 leaders in the industry, I’ve evidenced first- hand the plethora of service developments that are underway in the RPO market as well as increasing use of commodity services aimed at standardizing the sourcing components.
 
RPO is continually morphing to chase the talent. The rate of change of RPO is directly linked to the rate of change of social media and social networks. Aside from overall market conditions, outlined below are some developments in the industry that slow down the growth of RPO, as well as the accelerators that have led to a solid expected growth of about 15 percent in 2013.
 
A Gentle Waltz
Some factors are decreasing the market share for RPO.
 
The connectivity of social media. Line managers can use their own social networks to find people. LinkedIn has empowered recruiters and hiring managers. Companies have less reason to outsource if they can use existing company and employee networks. Given referrals are commonly known to be the best hires, it would seem logical to simply hand the task to the line manager.
 
The power of automation. There are now numerous automated recruiting tools like Joberate (global), Vonq (NL), Adver-Online (NL), and HireMojo that post job content of employers on all kinds of channels. They use some logical structures to facilitate smart matching. Others drive paid traffic from search engines to the jobs on the websites of employers themselves using search engine technologies (On Recruit for example). These tools handle the advertising and sourcing aspects of recruitment and can be customized to meet specific needs.
 
An increase in contingent labor. IT in particular has also seen the rise of statement of work services. In addition there is an overall increase in the contingent workforce in IT. That has meant permanent hires are no longer the only option to get the best skills, as people follow networks.
 
Despite the industry specific considerations above, RPO is still growing strongly in 2013. Something to consider: Finding talent is easier today with social networks; the difficulty faced by companies is attracting available talent, particularly where larger numbers are needed to support peaks in demand. To cast the nets wider and to identify available talent requires what we might call a tango.
 
The Tango
An RPO engagment can support company-wide resourcing initiatives from which hiring managers can be supported in a coordinated way to better fulfill hiring needs.
 
Access to candidates is more sophisticated. There has been an increase in the use of external demographic and labor market data to support sourcing strategies. To “fish where the fish are” requires social and mobile tools, including texting with candidates and leveraging employee referrals through mobile. Plus, pipelines of pre-qualified passive candidates should be nurtured.
 
Leveraging brand management. Branding and talent attracting strategies are gaining traction in companies. First, companies are starting to recognize that employer branding is different from company branding. Organizations like Mars have a clever strategy: They inform candidates that when they leave Mars, they will join a very strong alumni group. These benefits from leaving can be as important as the reasons of why one may join. Company brand and networks are another way to attract employees.
 
Smoothing the exit. The tango has a beginning, middle, and end. Talent identification can apply to internal hires as well as external hires. Further for departing employees, some companies are using RPO teams to assist outgoing employees to find new jobs. In this way, leaving negotiations can be easier and more comfortable for both parties. Conducting exit interviews are important to help find out why employees are leaving in order to provide steps to prevent this in the future, and retain new candidates.
 
Measuring Success of the Dance

RPO KPIs have not changed considerably. These include reduced time-to-hire, increased candidate and manager satisfaction, reduced attrition, improved performance, meeting diversity targets, and reduced costs. RPO can still achieve these goals and there are new tools to accelerate the process. By using brand, mobile, and social technologies, companies have demonstrated that KPIs can be further improved and companies can stay ahead of competition.
 
The challenge: Companies requesting RPO services of one year or less cannot expect to reap the full benefit. Brand and candidate pools take time to establish and develop. This requires investment and longer term partnerships to be in. Analytics must also be a factor in the equation since they determine the measurable value. Ultimately, the pace of recruiting industry change is measured by the pace of uptake of analytics.
 
Elizabeth Rennie is HR outsourcing research director at NelsonHall.
 

Tags: RPO & Staffing, Talent Acquisition

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