CWS 3.0: May 15, 2013

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Best Practices When Adopting an RPO Model

Are you thinking about outsourcing your recruitment process? It can be a viable approach for the right company and yield great rewards. To make the optimal decision, there are two key areas of best practices. First, you need to outline what you want to accomplish by outsourcing the function and how to go about making a knowledgeable decision to move forward. Once that is accomplished you will want to select the right recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner and negotiate a fair and equitable deal.

The Groundwork
Long before you decide to move forward with an RPO program, collaborate with your stakeholder groups to fully define why you are considering a change to your recruiting program and what you want to accomplish – efficiency, effectiveness, cost savings, flexibility, innovation, higher quality of candidates, better control of the outcomes, competitive edge — whatever combination it is, be sure your decisions are grounded here. Take into consideration the appropriate scope for your decision, specifically what function, skill, division, geography, etc. of your organization will benefit from the objectives of this change.

Ensure buy-in. Carefully assess your organization’s ability to accept and support an outsourced approach to recruitment. Keep in mind this approach will likely force centralization and a significant cultural shift. What alternative recruiting or other operational constructs have been tried before and were they successful? When decisions are made in a vacuum and then imposed on others, they are rarely successful. With that in mind, involve all stakeholders who are party to the recruiting process in the decision to move forward — senior leadership, line management, HR leadership, talent acquisition team, procurement, finance and others.

Seek advice. Consider experienced help to guide you and facilitate the best decisions. Utilizing a qualified outsourcing advisory firm and external counsel knowledgeable in outsourced recruiting solutions will allow you to leverage their experience. Caution: Be sure to select advisors who understand that effective outsourcing is a highly collaborative process built on a solid partnership model, not an acrimonious negotiation process. Also, be sure to engage all your stakeholders who bring specific and needed knowledge to the table.

Be transparent. Share and seek information openly. Keep your questions specific and look for potential vendors that answer your inquiries clearly. Provide complete data because every time a “guess” is required, both the solution design and the rates are impacted and could adversely affect the final solution. Don’t forget to give potential providers a chance to present their capabilities at some point in the process. This will allow you to fully understand what they do and get to know them on a more personal level.

The Right Partner
Now it’s time to choose right provider! This is the hardest one because there are so many dimensions and anyone can tell a good story. You want to evaluate each of the most important requirements as well as you can.

  • Solid experience recruiting and managing a pipeline of strong candidates for the skills your organization specifically needs.
  • Ability and willingness to scale the team when required.
  • Knowledgeable of industry trends, aware of the newest solutions, proficient in regularly seeking process improvements that result in greater success.
  • Good cultural fit for your organization beyond chemistry with the selling team.
     Example: Can an RPO provider experienced primarily in high-end headhunting work effectively with an industrial company?
  • Well-developed approach and specific detailed plan for transition and change management.
  • Ability to bring collaborative innovation when appropriate and necessary.
  • Proven capability in establishing a dynamic metrics analysis regimen as well as pricing flexibility for fluctuating volumes.
  • Established and understandable governance model.

Let’s talk money. Resist the inclination to focus too much on price. Is there an accurate baseline of cost to compare RPO fees against? Can you accurately document what you pay per hire now? If improved quality and speed are important factors in your decision perhaps an increase in cost is warranted.

To ensure a successful outsourced recruitment program, be sure to screen for and select the right provider. Recruiting is about the right balance of speed, cost and quality that can only be achieved with both sides working together..

Kay Colson is president of Resource Business Service, a specialty consulting firm. She can be reached at kaycolson@solutionsatrbs.com.

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Matt Rivera 15/05/2013 1:37 pm

Kay,
Fantastic overview of things to consider when moving to an RPO solution. I tell customers it's as much about process as it is recruiting. An RPO partner is not just "running" a program, they should be designing an accountable recruiting process to achieve the client's desired outcome. The change management is significant and as you note, the buy-in is critical - I think for most companies it feels more like in-sourcing than outsourcing. The RPO market has been muddled with companies saying they can do RPO and then running it like other staffing programs.

Thanks for providing some insight into what should be considered at the very beginning of the decision process. Done correctly, an RPO partner can improve processes, branding, quality and speed - especially in a slow economy where most companies don't have enough internal HR or recruiting resources to meet their needs.
-Matt


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