SHRM – Making RPO Work

October, 2016

Creating and maintaining a successful partnership between HR and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) firms requires aligning expectations from the start, activating a strong governance model and allowing the RPO provider the flexibility to produce.

Trust is at the core of a fruitful engagement between HR and an RPO provider, but many companies are reluctant to let RPO in, fearing a loss of control, said John Younger, chairman and CEO of Accolo, an RPO provider based in San Francisco.

“There’s just so little awareness or understanding of how RPO actually works to benefit companies,” Younger said. “There’s a fear of losing staff or control of the recruiting function, and uncertainty about how to make a case to senior management about making the change in the first place.”

One big problem is the confusion around what RPO is and does, Younger said. “Frankly, that’s what’s stunted the growth of the industry. RPO is not contingency search, retained search, contract recruiters or candidate research. Sourcing companies are not RPO. That’s just throwing bodies against the requisition.”

RPO can be broken down into three main types:

  • Full-service, where the RPO provider manages end-to-end recruitment solutions across the organization. 
  • A hybrid model, where the client retains its in-house recruitment team, but engages with the RPO firm on an ongoing basis to manage hard-to-fill roles or intermittent spikes in demand
  • Project-based, where an outsourced provider is engaged for a specific project.

“At the core of determining the appropriate RPO model is aligning business strategy with your talent strategy,” said Trish Healy, vice president of RPO Operations, North America for Futurestep, a global recruitment solutions firm based in Los Angeles. “What is the business trying to do and how can talent support that?”

To read the article on making RPO work in full, featuring Futurestep VP, RPO Operations, North America Trish Healy, please click here.