CEO’s Letter: Any Given Sunday

Why Al Pacino understands RPO better than many buyers.
In the steroid-pumping NFL film, Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino plays a top NFL coach who gives a stirring speech to his locker room of alpha-male football players saying, “On any given Sunday, you’re going to win or you’re going to lose.” He goes on to tie success into personal resolve and “manhood.” Feminist complaints aside, that speech should be given by every CEO in the RPO Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey Enterprise List to their teams. But the truth is that practitioners need to embrace its message more than providers. There is a bizarre and unexplainable fascination with the top five!
We don’t understand it at HRO Today Global. There are 13 companies on the list and on any given Sunday, any of them could beat any other provider for a particular deal. We give HR and procurement a lot of data to match the size and scope of the needs of their deal and to help them pick to whom they should submit RFPs. Yet the buy side insists that any of the companies at the top of the list can perform any deal regardless of size and industry. Let’s step aside from top five for a moment and just look at one through 10. No. 10 is the venerable IBM Kenexa Recruitment Services -one of the pioneers of the RPO service offering (full disclosure: they’re my alma mater). Does being below number five mean that they are not big enough to do your deal? After all, they are just part of a company nicknamed ” BLUE”. Can you fill in the blank?

The RPO industry is rife with opportunity and considerable growth. If you look at the list, some companies are stronger in one hemisphere or industry than another, but all are global, and all are of very high quality. Another example, Randstad Sourceright, in the heat of an effort to globalize their client delivery, drops out of their typical top-five spot this year because clients get anxious during periods of change. Randstad Sourceright has very high raw customer service scores, but it is transitioning to expand offerings on a truly global platform that will improve its customer delivery. This one company may have equal revenue to any other two providers combined. We will feature one of its biggest deals in our upcoming HRO Today December issue as a cover story. But it never occurs to us that because they are not in the top five, they are unworthy of a cover.

WilsonHCG, as another example, focuses on the hardest to fill and most strategic positions but ignores deal size in search of a certain kind of deal they can do very well. Seven Step provides recruiter training to corporations and other RPO firms; PeopleScout handles some of the largest programs in the industry; and Cielo is a top provider in the healthcare industry -one of the hardest verticals in RPO -and ranks second overall.

All 13 companies on the enterprise list are excellent choices for your RFP consideration.

The focal nonsense about wanting a “top-five” firm needs to disappear if for no other reason than because there are more than five firms now competing at the top of the market. These are the top 13 in an industry that claims more than 500 providers.

I think it is time for both providers and practitioners to recognize the wonderful truth that there are a lot of great choices in the RPO industry and that there is depth and quality on this bench. So if you’re going out to bid, look at all of the numbers – not just the placement on the overall ranking. Your choice should be based on cultural fit, vertical expertise, capabilities to scale and, lastly, pricing model. That will get you a winning deal.

If you let more than five into your tournament season, you, like Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino in the movie) will find that on any given Sunday, any of these providers can do a great job for you.

Elliot H. Clark
Tags: global-autumn-2016

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