Are You RPO ready? 5 Ways to Prepare for RPO Implementation

If your company has adopted a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program, you’re soon on your way to a more efficient, cost-effective and data-driven hiring process. But implementation is more than just turning on a switch. It requires a great deal of preparation, training and testing from both you and your RPO provider. If you’re not fully ready, the success of the program — and the ROI you expect to gain — might be at risk.

Thankfully, your RPO provider should work side by side with you to ensure you’re ready, bringing lessons learned, gathering feedback and providing expertise on how to get the most from day one. Still, to do your part, it helps to provide the right change leadership and be well prepared. Consider these steps to ensure you and your team are well primed to reap the benefits of RPO.

Ensure alignment between what you bought and what’s delivered. Getting ready for an RPO entails fully understanding what you signed up for. What are the parameters of the program? What are the main goals you hope to achieve? What are the KPIs to measure the effectiveness of the RPO? Being absolutely clear on the expectations in the agreement and communicating that to other stakeholders at all levels is essential to the success of the program.

Address the emotional element of change. An RPO can bring about changes in roles and responsibilities, which can cause uncertainty among your team. Moreover, in many cases, the RPO provider team is embedded in the organization, which can bring its own share of challenges. Identify change champions — subject matter experts and leaders who can inspire and empower their teams — to support people during the change, promote the benefits of the implementation and mitigate any concerns along the way.

Prepare for integration with IT. Often, the success of the program hinges on having technology requirements ready to go. That’s why it’s crucial to engage the IT department in the transition early on. Making sure any new technology can integrate with existing tech platforms and associated tools and software and work as intended is instrumental in getting the RPO program off the ground and maintaining ongoing success.

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Set up clear definitions of partnership. Working with your RPO provider on needs assessment, human-centered design will ensure mutual understanding of your objectives and the right approach to achieve them. The provider should connect with leadership as well as end users to ensure the solution best meets the needs of all stakeholders. Doing this up front will help ensure a smooth implementation with minimal business disruption, giving the confidence of having the right people and processes in place.

Identify roles and responsibilities for the internal team and the provider. As it gets closer to implementation, you’ll want to ensure full understanding of the tasks you must complete, those the provider will do and the activities that both parties should work on. Tasks for the company include identifying a counterpart for the RPO change manager, communicating internally about the implementation, appointing the project team and ensuring the implementation team has current process flows and necessary data. Meanwhile, the RPO provider should appoint their own project team, assigning subject matter experts to ensure project solution, scope, operational team and technology are defined and agreed upon.

Having an active and visible sponsor leading the program as well as leadership that supports and advocates for adoption and benefits realization is fundamental to success.

Ready, set, RPO! With an RPO in place, your organization can benefit from the efficiency of having an experienced team giving you access to qualified talent. But getting to that state requires the right preparation — knowing what you want from the RPO, understanding your role in achieving it and ensuring the best teams and tech are in place. Doing this work up front will help create a strong program from the start, with internal teams and the RPO provider eager to make it a success.

Lorna Elias

Lorna Elias
Lorna Elias is director, professional services, EMEA/Global for Randstad Sourceright.

Lorna Elias

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