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#4 five tips for working effectively with your RPO provider | RPO series.

consistently improving

Companies that seek to adopt a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program understand the potential value that can be delivered to their organization: a fully customized approach to finding and managing talent. With an organization’s internal resources working in tandem with the RPO provider, the outcome is a streamlined, efficient and cost-effective process to secure the high-quality talent the business needs. This is especially critical at a time when the competition for top candidates is broadening and talent scarcity is a greater challenge than ever before.

Signing the contract is just the first step in ensuring the employer gets maximum value from the RPO. Because the solution provider keeps an eye on changing talent and market trends, and stays ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting and HR technology innovation, the employer can consistently adjust the program as required. What’s important is that the provider and hiring company stay in lockstep and communicate continuously to align strategy with shifting business needs and goals.

Whether looking to implement a new RPO program, or seeking to improve an existing one, there are several steps a company can take to work more effectively with their RPO provider to ensure program success.

1. establish clear goals.

One of the most critical steps for ensuring a successful client/provider relationship is to lay out the goals and expectations for the RPO program. Both parties should have a clear understanding of the aspects of the company’s talent acquisition strategy that need improvement, and how the provider can deliver on those needs. The two parties can then develop service level agreements (SLAs) — such as number of requisitions processed and time-to-fill goals for each position — that provide the framework for keeping the program on target and with mutually agreed upon results.

RPO programs are integrally designed around hiring volume, so it’s important to develop a realistic forecast of the company’s talent needs. It’s also important for the RPO buyer to understand its role in the RPO program, and include the right stakeholders in the implementation to ensure the SLAs accurately address business needs.

2. gain buy-in, deliver change management.

As is the case for any major organizational process change, implementing an RPO program can be met with resistance from the internal team and thereby hinder the program’s effectiveness. For this reason, it is crucial to include and gain buy-in from all internal stakeholders, allowing those individuals to also develop a strong relationship with the provider. This can be achieved by outlining the positive impacts RPO will have on the business, soliciting stakeholders’ input and addressing any concerns that are raised early on.

A strong communications and change management plan during the implementation phase will further build internal support and
program effectiveness. Taking the time to introduce the change, communicating what it means to the organization and training users on the set of services available to them can help in this regard.

3. maintain communication with the provider.

Key to fostering a successful RPO program is to keep an open dialogue with the provider. When both teams can communicate freely about project status and potential problem areas, it becomes easier to address any challenges before they impact recruiting and overall program success. One way to ensure a steady stream of communications is to adhere to specific phases of the implementation, such as planning, discovery, design, installation and transition, and operational handover.

Taking this approach will help the company and its RPO partner to familiarize their teams and foster close working relationships throughout the project lifecycle.

4. develop KPIs and governance practices.

Creating a culture of accountability will help to ensure an optimized RPO strategy. Key performance indicators (KPIs), such as agreed upon metrics around interview-to-offer ratio, offer acceptance rate and aging requisitions, will help to illuminate the success of the program and pinpoint where remedial action is needed. A formal governance structure — consisting of a dedicated RPO manager on the provider side and an internal leadership team —will ensure that challenges and changing needs are addressed quickly.

The governance model should also clearly define the roles of all involved, specify reporting lines, identify decision-makers and establish escalation mechanisms to provide a clear process for oversight and mitigation steps.

5. implement feedback mechanisms.

Once the RPO program is in place, stability should be a priority. This can be achieved by reinforcing buy-in. Developing a communications strategy to keep all parties informed and engaged on program progress is crucial, and just as important is being able to solicit continuous feedback from those stakeholders, both internal and external. The company should also implement various ways for collecting and analyzing the results that can indicate the success of the program — for example, cost savings, abbreviated cycle times, hiring manager satisfaction and other metrics.

Based on the feedback received and early results, the employer and provider can work together to improve any areas that may be lagging and look for opportunities for further innovation. As organizational goals and market conditions often shift, constant communication will help ensure the program is adjusted as needed.

achieving RPO success.

From working together on a change management strategy, to having ongoing open communication about how to best achieve goals, a strong partnership between employer and RPO provider is essential to maximizing the benefits your program delivers. These tips can help your company build a strong foundation with its RPO partner; one that not only delivers continuous and measurable recruiting results, but also helps align the talent strategy with greater organizational goals.

Want to learn more about how you can get the greatest value from your RPO program? Download our RPO Playbook, a practical guide to answer your questions and help you get started.

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