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RPO themes to look for at CWS Summit 2011

With the CWS Summit right around the corner, we're working hard to prepare our team and yours to get as much value out of the event as possible. With that in mind, while you're at the show and thinking about what's new and different, be sure to take a look at the changing landscape of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO).

Here are some themes to keep an eye on:

  • Cost is no longer the most important driver of RPO adoption. Like many early iterations of a new business model, cost savings motivates early adoption. However, over time, these businesses must adapt beyond cost to add value and innovation as well as meet market demands. This is where we are with RPO. Clients need more strategic alignment. They're looking for workforce planning and management platforms, improved metrics, and the potential to expand into new markets and countries.

  • Scalability and specialization are much more prominent. The market is split. While we have many workers unemployed, we also still have a gap of over three million open positions across the U.S. Why? Because skills shortages still exist across fields like technology, bio-tech, energy, aerospace, etc. As long as these gaps exist, companies will seek a competitive advantage recruiting them. RPO provides valuable services, including talent mapping, specialized sourcing, social media expertise, talent community building, and coordination.

  • Reach is important, but ability to execute locally is paramount. No matter how good your strategies or presentations are, actions speak louder than words. Providers need established operations, knowledge of localized practices, solid networks and relationships, and brand recognition in the market in which you're hiring.

  • RPO is not just for the enterprise. In some ways, mid-market companies can benefit from RPO more than larger enterprises. Scalability and unpredictability are big concerns for any company, but even more so for small and mid-sized organizations. RPO provides an opportunity to scale and broaden reach, leverage platforms with greater economies of scale, and strengthens focus. Your company might not be able to buy a tech platform or deliver a process as effectively for single use. But an RPO can maximize its effectiveness because it serves many clients with repetitive process management.

  • Technology and methodology continue to evolve and consolidate. More RPOs have taken on the attributes of the managed service provider model. Simply put, clients want more productivity out of their employees and providers. RPOs are managing more processes, partners, and relationships across the U.S. and the globe. People want solid program management. Not just recruitment process execution.

  • Integrated talent management is becoming more real every day. Metrics, performance management, forecasting ... Companies need real-time, just-in-time scenario planning. RPOs have these competencies and access to market data that is extremely valuable.

  • Don't overlook point of service RPO models. Clients benefit tremendously from partnering to manage candidate screening, recruitment coordination, talent community building, offer administration, onboarding, etc. But many RPOs can unbundle their services and offer a single or multiple point of service model for ongoing or project-based recruiting. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing.

  • Avoid the hype! Great marketing and thought leadership is fantastic, but execution trumps everything. Just because you've heard of an RPO provider or seen them at an event, doesn't mean they're a great fit for your organization's needs.

  • Beware the behemoth. The biggest RPO provider isn't always the best. You could get lost in the sea of the largest clients.

  • Program management is the ultimate success factor. Make sure your RPO has a solid program management foundation, maturity, methodology, and experienced talent.This post was written by Doug Lubin, a successful Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Practice Leader and Consultant, who brings over a decade of expertise building sustainable solutions for clients and partners.  Doug helps firms develop high performing talent acquisition and management strategies locally and globally.  Learn more about Doug.


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