The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development offers some valuable advice on outsourcing any HR process: “Don’t outsource what you don’t understand”. This is just as valid, if not more so, for outsourcing something as crucial as recruitment.
The wrong way to approach recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is to think that it will fix something that is broken. More likely, you will simply be passing on a faulty process to a third party. Here are some issues to consider before embarking on an RPO contract
1. Why are you doing it?
Simply moving into RPO because your competitors are doing it will not necessarily guarantee a return on investment. Think about whether or not there are aspects of recruitment you cannot manage in-house because of the scale or a lack of expertise, and if there are areas in which cost-savings need to be made.
2. What elements of your recruitment process would benefit from outsourcing?
With your provider or your shortlist of providers, look carefully at your recruitment processes and come up with a “diagnosis” of what could be improved through outsourcing. Perhaps you feel you lack control over disparate resourcing processes or want to reduce the money spent on recruitment agencies.
3. How will you measure its success?
RPO deals rely on key performance indicators and service level agreements. Consider what it is that you want to measure. Come up with realistic targets.
4. Is outsourcing the right answer?
Is there just one specific area you want to improve such as a graduate recruitment programme? In that case, RPO might not be right for your organisation and it may be worth approaching a consultancy that will manage this process on an ad-hoc basis.
5. Who carries the risk? Think about how you and the provider will share the risk and build this into the contract. A few companies even offer their RPO provider the chance to share in any gains made from the deal (for example cost-savings), so consider this.
6. Is cost-saving your only incentive? This is not a commodity purchase, it is a high-value relationship that may last several years and change the way your organisation recruits. Focusing purely on driving down cost may not mean you get the best value out of the relationship.
7. Who will have control over outsourced processes?
Avoid creating a buyer-supplier dynamic, implying that one party has more control over the other. Working as a partnership will reap rewards and enable any issues to be discussed fairly.