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Post-recession reality sees RPO come of age

Post-recession reality sees RPO come of age

10th November 2011, London – The RPO Alliance Special Interest Group within the Human Resources Outsourcing Association and Alexander Mann Solutions have come together to launch advice to businesses on optimising their recruitment processes in response to the current economic outlook.

Amidst continuing economic uncertainty, many recruiters are turning to Recruitment Process Outsourcing. The & lsquo;Are you ready for RPO?’ report examines business’ need to improve the way that they recruit and has developed this advice paper for them, based on the experiences of leading brands including Santander, Siemens, Citi, PPG and M&G to name a few.

It highlights how RPO is a trusted solution and demonstrates how recruitment units are serviced better once it’s in place. New business structures, strong organic growth, expansion into emerging markets, absorption of acquisitions have meant that recruitment teams are under more pressure to align the recruitment strategy with the overall global business strategy.

Tom Marsden, director of professional services at Alexander Mann Solutions explains:

“With volatile hiring numbers recruitment can sometimes become a challenge for HR departments and companies may be reluctant to rebuild their in-house recruitment capability while the economic outlook remains uncertain. This is understandable, but many companies still have a critical requirement to fill skills gaps and grow their business in new growth markets. RPO can support companies flex to meet these demands and in time, can grow to provide a direct link between business strategy and the acquisition and deployment of talent, helping the HR function to focus on core activities like workforce management and talent retention.”

For recruiters considering implementing RPO, the report contains the following guidance:

Get the whole business unit on-board: Implementing a new approach to recruitment will only be successful if you have the full support of other business units. Internal changes will have an impact on everyone, so it’s important you can demonstrate how the recruitment team will be better serviced once it’s in place, not just on a micro level, but looking at how employing RPO will reap business benefits in the long-term.

Work closely with procurement: All new team structures ultimately have some upfront costs involved. Work tightly with the procurement department to show the financial rewards gained once RPO has been functioning for a while. The economies of scale available far outweigh the initial investment.


Sell RPO to internal stakeholders: Changes to in-house processes can often cast initial doubt to internal stakeholders it’s your responsibility to put their mind at ease. When selling the prospect of RPO to other business units, tailor your pitch to make the benefits of RPO relevant to them. For instance, key to the ongoing success of an organisation is the quality of its people. A resourcing solution run by experts ensures that high calibre candidates are identified and hired.


Look beyond the bottom-line: Focusing only on the cost-element of RPO underplays the full benefits it can offer such as the diversity of hires, reduced time to hire and the quality of hires. While an RPO solution is likely to deliver cost savings through economies of scale and improved efficiency it should not be approached as a & lsquo;cost-cutting measure’ for the short-term but rather as a long-term solution to meeting your organisation’s staffing needs.

More than just a quick fix:  While RPO can be introduced in & lsquo;burning platform’ situations it shouldn’t be approached as a & lsquo;quick fix’ when an organisation needs to take on significant numbers of staff or when a crisis hits. RPO a long-term permanent fixture, providing organisations with a team of specialist recruiters that ensures that your organisation’s staffing department benefits from unique insights on the latest recruitment trends and competitive information.

Bridge capability gaps: There’s a lot of talk about skills gaps in the general workforce but this can also apply at a recruitment level due to the fast-moving nature of recruitment and the specialist knowledge that is often needed to fill specific roles. Most RPO providers are right at the forefront of this innovation, with an in-depth understanding of what it takes to build and maintain a talent pipeline and the latest technology and social media channels that are needed to engage with today’s talent.

Forge a true partnership: Moving to an outsourced recruitment solution is a major step for any organisation and will inevitably involve a period of stabilisation. It can take time for the business to get on board with the new approach and the implementation could uncover some unexpected practical issues that will test the partnership but this will ultimately lead to better mutual understanding of the client’s needs. A solid partnership is central to a successful RPO solution so it’s important to work with a partner that shares your values, has strong chemistry with your team and can act as a true extension of your brand from day one.


Faye Holland, Managing Director, European & Asia Pacific Operations, SharedXpertise, Global Executive Director, HROA, said: “The choice of RPO is strongly associated with growth, change and an increasing need for flexibility. Once a successful partnership is established, the range of recruitment activities and services it includes often extends in new, and often unexpected, directions as the RPO model  can quickly adapt to the changing needs of the business.”

Debbie Reeves-Malvagni, Head of Resourcing, Europe at Santander added: “We traditionally like to outsource activities which are not core to our business – and recruitment is not core. Our people however are core to our business and RPO providers keep us current on the latest recruitment developments and trends and bring in market intelligence on what the competition is doing. This gives us confidence that we are doing the right thing when we’re engaging with key talent and that we have a strong talent pipeline for the future.”


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