The job market, much like the housing market and stock market, can seem a bit mad and hard to read these days. From skill gaps, talent shortages, and surging resignations; to empowered job seekers and TikTok recruitment; the pandemic certainly shook things up in employment, and many companies and their talent acquisition teams are feeling understandably overwhelmed. While the instinct for some is to hire fast and furiously to get ahead of the competition, right now might be the best moment to make time for the diagnostic advantages of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO).
Outsourcing Is Not What Defines RPO
While it may be generally known as the outsourced version of talent acquisition, RPO is more accurately defined and distinguished by its diagnostic, holistic and deeply interwoven approach to optimizing recruitment to deliver full-time employees. Staffing and contract recruitment, for example, can be categorized generally as an outsourced talent solution (workers recruited and/or managed by a third-party partner), but they are not RPO.
What Sets RPO Apart? The Deliberate, Diagnostic Start.
In this recent RPOA Webinar, “Making the Case for RPO,”John Hess, Advanced RPO’s EVP of Operations, and I were invited to share with HR and talent acquisition leaders what sets RPO apart from traditional contract staffing and contingent recruiting options. While there were numerous distinctions to cover, one of the most important ones we addressed was velocity.
RPO, in its early stages, is not a speedy solution, especially compared to contract staffing and contingent recruiting where there is a capped database of individuals seeking employment. It is deliberate and diagnostic at the start because that’s how the most promising opportunities for enhancing the recruitment life cycle can be identified and addressed in order to deliver top talent into the organization.
Speed, of course, has its place in recruiting. And it’s especially valuable in a tight job market where strong candidates have numerous options. Why then should RPO and its deliberate start merit the consideration of businesses competing for talent and eager to build top teams? Because RPO reaches high recruitment velocity, even top velocity, and even better results once good diagnostic work is done.
RPO’s Diagnostic Advantage
The case for slowing down to embrace RPO centers on the diagnostic approach a strong RPO partner uses to begin and maintain any engagement. Rather than jumping to solutions or assuming an understanding, an effective RPO provider does the work of a meticulous detective or a considerate doctor. They listen, ask questions and research to find out what’s wrong and what can be done to build a highly optimized recruitment life cycle.
This diagnostic process recently solved a highly disruptive auditing issue for one of Advanced RPO’s insurance provider clients. A diagnostic recruitment review revealed that standard government audits often resulted in mandates to rapidly hire a number of specialized healthcare professionals, which added unpredictable stress to already busy hiring managers and HR teams.
Advanced RPO researched the audit reviews and established a proactive protocol for pre- and post-audit meetings to ensure fast, informed reaction time to any new hiring needs. This new approach removed the recruitment stress and workload from the client and accelerated the required recruiting and hiring work by feeding all relevant information directly to a dedicated recruiting team in real time. In the past an audit-mandated requirement to fill 20 nursing positions would have monopolized HR and hiring managers’ schedules and taken a great deal of time. Today, all new audit-driven positions are filled in a matter of weeks.
Business Objectives. Business goals and objectives are the foundation of any workforce strategy. The diagnostic work behind RPO starts with knowing the business vision and plan by answering these questions:
- What are the short- and long-term goals of the business and how does that shape the workforce and its evolution?
- What skills are needed to meet those objectives today and how will those needs evolve?
- What talent challenges and needs are impacting the company’s ability to achieve its business goals?
- What skill or leadership gaps threaten the fulfillment of the business strategy?
State of the Workforce. Where are the greatest challenges facing the workforce and its recruitment engine? Where are its strengths? Many times, the challenges are the reason the business has sought out a different recruitment solution, such as:
- Lack of candidates
- Hard-to-fill roles
- Skills gaps
- Need to increase diversity
- Geographic limitations or requirements
- Wage pressure
- Market competition
- High turnover
- Low satisfaction
- Weak value proposition / employer brand
Recruiting Process & Results. A full study of the recruitment process allows RPO experts the chance to assess what’s working and where efficiencies and excellence can be gained. Factors the study might look at include:
- The business drivers that trigger a hire
- The requisition approval process
- The alignment of the hiring process to the business
- The level of engagement with candidates
From the technologies and team members leveraged in each process step to the results achieved, the RPO diagnostic gathers a comprehensive picture of recruitment’s current state and output.
- Technologies: tracking, sourcing, assessment, onboarding, etc.
- Team members who play a role in recruitment, from hiring managers to HR
- Stats: applicant rates, pass rates, candidate quality, acceptance rates, time to fill, turnover, hiring manager, candidate satisfaction, etc.
The Marketplace. While the diagnostic approach starts deep on the inside examining business goals and workforce alignment, the final analysis goes out into the marketplace. A careful look at competitors, talent sources, economic factors, and wage pressure is critical to understanding how effectively the business is competing for talent and what could change to improve recruitment results.
Diagnose, Fix & Full Speed Ahead
While it takes time on the front end, good diagnostic work reveals data and insights RPO partners need to build customized recruiting programs that overcome workforce challenges and deliver sustained, substantial workforce results. And, once the informed and optimized recruitment program is in place, that’s when everything accelerates, and the ROI of the deliberate start pays off in improved hiring and a better workforce.