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RPO case study: Cetera Financial Group hires rapidly to support new acquisition.

With limited bandwidth, HR team meets aggressive hiring goals on a tight deadline

Randstad Sourceright Cetera Financial case study project RPO

| 4 min read |

challenging acquisition leads to new opportunity 

During an acquisition, it’s important for HR to ensure the right resources are in place for a smooth transition. For Cetera Financial Group, one of the largest independent financial advisor networks in the nation, that meant hiring a large amount of new professionals, across multiple locations and in a short period of time to support a recent and unique acquisition project.
As the company works to provide its customers with the top-level financial services for which it’s known, however, it recognized there were limited internal resources and bandwidth to meet the high-demand hiring goals in the aggressive time frame required.
Adding complexity to the hiring project, the roles that needed to be filled included a wide range of job types, such as IT, compliance, legal, customer service and sales. They also spanned multiple locations, such as El Segundo, California; Des Moines, Iowa; and St. Cloud, Minnesota. With the latter two having a smaller candidate pools, Cetera would require a different strategy for each role and location while working to build brand recognition in these markets. At the same time, the company also had to manage two other important work streams related to the acquisition.
Given this unique situation – and the tight timelines involved – Rhiana Barr, Cetera’s senior vice president, Human Resources, engaged with Randstad Sourceright to implement a project-based recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program that would deliver the right talent within deadline. 

collaborative recruiting pays off

Since Cetera previously collaborated with Randstad Sourceright on several recruiter on demand (ROD) projects, Barr knew the company could handle the complexity of this new challenge.


Through an extensive project RPO program, the team implemented a fully integrated approach to sourcing talent in each location. With sourcing expertise spread across the three locations, the company had dedicated resources in the talent markets that would otherwise be challenging. And, with the RPO in place, Randstad Sourceright’s talent experts helped free up more time for Cetera’s HR specialists to focus on other work streams to support the acquisition. Randstad Sourceright also provided project management support for two additional two projects that involved converting temporary workers and acquisition transfers.
Randstad Sourceright’s RPO team worked side-by-side with Cetera throughout the engagement. According to Barr:
“We became one. Randstad Sourceright was an extension of the Cetera team. I had a trusted partner that had my back and my best interests in mind. They wanted to exceed expectations as much as I did.”
The project was also designed to fully meet the talent and communications needs of internal stakeholders. This included huddles each morning to ensure alignment, to communicating throughout the day as the project progressed.
Extensive reporting also kept leadership informed on progress. Daily recruiting summaries, for example, kept the teams aligned on progress and goals. Weekly summaries for executive leadership enabled all parties to understand where the project stood in real time, while ensuring the various stakeholders knew the status of each hire the team needed to make. 

the ROI of project RPO

When Barr’s team was given the challenge of filling these new roles to support the acquisition, they were met with skepticism that the goal could be achieved. The Randstad Sourceright team was able to meet these expectations, however, filling nearly 50 positions in nine weeks.
But the value of the RPO program is more than just reaching a number. Despite the short time frame, the Cetera team was able to showcase its brand and culture, and properly onboard employees, from an external perspective. Internally, the team was also able to demonstrate the value that HR delivers to the organization, as well as its ability to rise to any challenge.
The success of the program is reflected in its net promoter score (NPS). During the onboarding process, new hires gave Cetera a score of 29.9%, exceeding its benchmark goal of 10%. And, although Cetera aimed to have a 50% participation rate, actual participation was 69%.
Instead of relying on internal resources at a time when they would be stretched too thin, Barr evangelized the benefits of collaborating with a talent solutions provider on this business-critical recruiting project. Partnering with Randstad Sourceright, project RPO delivered the hiring results Cetera needed to support this strategic business initiative. As Barr sums up the experience:
“Don’t be afraid of outsourcing. There is a true ROI in the model for high-volume, quick turn partnership excellence. Fight for the business case. You can exceed targets with the right partnership and hold each other accountable."
"It’s also a great opportunity for the HR team to show its value. We delivered what people thought we couldn’t.”

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