3 ways for RPOs to work well

By Aditya Mishra | May 5, 2019

“First comes thought; then transformation of the thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality”, said Napoleon Hill, author of best-seller self-help books.
Companies are focusing on their core business rather than frittering away their energies in the ancillary functions. They need the business enabling functions such as talent acquisition to be lean and limited to strategic planning. These enabling functions get the plans operational using a few outsourced partners to deliver the predetermined outcome at the right time. Companies are increasingly adopting the practice of RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) to make sure that the employer brand grows and the best talent comes on board. How do we make sure, RPO project works well?

Thought of RPO is the first step!

It is not easy to let go of an old practice. Companies traditionally believed that recruitment is critical for a business, complex and unique to them. Hence, this must be carried out by experts who understand their business well and be customised to suit the needs of their organization. However, over a period of time, senior leaders and boards have understood the need of outsourcing certain processes to help their business in the short-term as well as long-term.
First of all, the top leaders in an organization have to believe that they should not be spending their valuable energy and time in operational aspects of recruitment such as writing a job post, communicating to potential talent pool, screening the best among them and so on. Rather they must engage in strategic aspects of recruitment such as the kind of talent they need, the policies connected with recruitment and building capability of the line managers in selecting the best talent.
Sometimes, the operational aspects keep the senior folks so busy that the strategic aspects do not get the desired focus and hence, the process runs ineffectively. Hence, they need to have a clear idea of what should be outsourced and what should be done in-house.

Thought of an RPO to Planning the Project

It is not enough for the company’s board to think and decide that they would run an RPO. Since recruitment concerns all line managers, it is important that the senior leaders espouse the need of outsourcing recruitment to the rest of the organization. Just a few casual mentions in a few meetings or a few emails on the subject do not adequately address the need.
Line managers who select people for their own teams must understand how an RPO player will add value and function within the organization. They need to know what the potential pitfalls could be and how one needs to work with the RPO team to meet one’s business objectives. Often, it is about availability of right talent at right time for them; and for the HR team, it is about the budget and the timeframe to complete a hiring process.
Planning the communication exercise, setting the right expectations for all stakeholders and defining the measures of success of the program are critical to planning the RPO.

Turning the RPO Plan to Action

Outsourcing the work to a third party is relatively easy compared to getting the desired outcome to fructify. For recruitment, there are many stakeholders in the organization and hence, challenges could emerge from multiple quarters. Moreover, the market is volatile and very dynamic. The hiring manager might have expectations which may be challenging to fulfil.
Availability of talent is not uniform across all markets and seasons; over a period of a few months, demand for certain skills might shoot up. Sometimes, the organization might want to ramp up its teams fast, however its own preparedness to expand might be less than desired leading to poor experience delivered to candidates. The organization might not be having enough power to draw talent towards it due to issues in the industry sector or certain legacy issues. All of these need to be discussed in an ongoing basis and required course-corrections have to be carried out in an agile way.
Am RPO program to be successful, it requires executive intent, hands-on involvement of the senior leaders and rigorous execution!