The War for Talent

ThinkstockPhotos-470444902The war for talent has been waged, but talent acquisition leaders didn’t hear the battle cry in time. Recruiting and HR teams are scrambling to realign their strategy with the greater business but, unfortunately, are finding their efforts to be fruitless. While it’s times like these when recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) has proven to deliver control in the midst of chaos, some organizations are reluctant to turn to outsourced recruiting. However, before dismissing the idea, it’s important to understand how RPO programs have evolved to support HR teams that may have been hung out to dry.

Why HR Is Set Up to Fail

The digital revolution has changed nearly every aspect of modern life; including how we look for and find the people we call our employees. It used to be that human resources had a singular focus: to manage the operations surrounding hiring, administration and training. Likewise, recruiters had one job:to deliver the best and most qualified candidates, in the shortest period of time.

Enter the Internet, and the entire ecosystem is disrupted. Nowadays, employee operations are a check box on the growing list of HR responsibilities. In addition to employee on-boarding and retention, HR now controls creating a unique company culture, many times architecting one from scratch, solidifying or improving the candidate experience and figuring out how to become more of a strategic business partner.

Also, nearly unrecognizable, is the role of a recruiter. Once a hunter-gatherer, recruiters have always had to be strategic when sniffing out their prey. Now, they have to navigate an infinitely larger terrain, often with no new and added resources.

Organizations are slowly realizing the game has changed. While they’d like to own all aspects of talent acquisition, they can’t effectively manage it all. So how is it that RPO falls into this complicated mix? Well, it’s simple actually. Whether taking out daunting administrative tasks or sourcing better quality candidates faster, RPO companies have grown from a nice-to-have service into a trusted business partner. But, it didn’t always used to be this way. Like the HR and recruiting landscape, RPO models have undergone several transformations to do what it does best: continuously deliver for its clients.


The Evolution of RPO Models

It used to be that businesses only associated RPO services with a reduction in the cost-per-hire due to improved efficiencies throughout the recruiting process. Simultaneously, the client saw enhancements in the quality of the talent, as well as in hiring manager satisfaction ratings.

As time went on, the use of digitally-based HR technologies grew more in demand, and as such, so did the sophistication of the insights and analytics collected from these platforms. Organizations either became early adopters or eventually drowned in a sea of data. At the same time, RPO providers took complete ownership of these analytics; optimizing resources and presenting its discoveries and recommendations to the decision makers. So, while the executive leaders began to see greater value in RPO, hiring managers were left to sift through the findings and allocate resources accordingly.

That brings us to present day. With radical behavioral changes derived from societal queues, like the emphasis on work-life balance and highly competitive recruiting arenas, and continued improvements in technologies, a new RPO model has taken shape. In a performance-based RPO model, RPO providers still act as consultative business partners when it comes to providing and forecasting hiring needs. The main difference is that they (and not the point person inside the business) decide how to scale the organization’s talent acquisition efforts. In true good cop/bad cop fashion, hiring managers are able to hold on to their key players as the provider scales  its resources to align with fluctuating demands. This takes the burden off of the hiring manager, and places it into the hands of the provider. Now, instead of driving the wedge between the leadership, the RPO provider brings clarity and insights to HR that would not ordinarily exist.

When viewing RPO as a strategy, it’s common for the organization to enter the RPO relationship with a level of hesitation. Trust is earned over time, and in this case, as the provider delivers for and works with the client. In the same breath, to be effective and fruitful, the organization must fully embrace the RPO program; and encourage their teams to adopt them as well. Like a candidate accepting an offer, there needs to be careful thought and consideration of your program goals and provider, before signing on the dotted line.

MORE: Debunking RPO myths

Katie Duffy

Katie Duffy
Katie Duffy brings over 15 years of corporate staffing and recruiting experience to her role as a director of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) for Yoh.

Katie Duffy

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