Types of RPO Engagements: Enterprise RPO (Part 1 of 5)

by Allison Reilly

enterprise RPO services

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services can seem incredibly confusing to anyone who is not familiar with these emerging solutions. The RPO industry is not yet standardized, especially when it comes to services. Providers use different terminology to describe services, and different providers offer all or a subset of these services. This makes it challenging both for RPO providers and customers. 

In this series of blog posts, we will provide an overview of the types of engagements between an RPO provider and a customer, as well as provide some common terminology on RPO services, both for customers and providers. We will cover five (5) different RPO engagements; these are: (1) Enterprise RPO (long-term company-wide, and job/location specific), (2) short term project RPO, (3) point-of-service/limited RPO, (4) consulting RPO, (5) emerging RPO services. This article is the first in the series and will cover the first type of RPO services: Enterprise RPO. For a complete overview of this topic, listen to Matt Rivera in this RPOA Leadership Forum presentation: RPO Core Services: It's not one-size fits all.

Enterprise Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Enterprise recruitment process outsourcing, also known as full service RPO or fully outsourced RPO, is the company-wide outsourcing of all or most of the recruiting functions. An RPO provider, in this case, would be taking over responsibility and accountability for all elements of sourcing. Accountability is crucial for enterprise RPO because the provider designs, from beginning to end, a program that will meet the needs of the customer. It’s also crucial because the RPO provider is also responsible for managing resources and meeting certain metrics defined for, and with, the customer..

Two Types of Enterprise RPO

"Fully outsourced is the key term here," said Matt Rivera, director of customer services at Yoh. "What you want to make sure you're buying is outsourced service and that you're okay with all that comes with it." If a company-wide outsourcing of your recruiting is what you're interested in, then there are two types of enterprise RPO that you should consider:

  1. Long-Term, Company Wide - This is where a company hires an RPO provider to handle the entire recruiting process, everything from the process itself to technology and the results. One of the most important things to come out of this type of arrangement is employment branding since RPO can be a good vehicle to improve that brand when recruiters are out in the marketplace finding great candidates.

  2. Job/Location Specific - This is very similar to the long-term arrangement, except that it's just for a certain job function or for a certain location (i.e. headquarters, an R&D facility, a call center). The RPO provider focuses on filling positions at corporate or on filling only the call center positions. The provider still has ownership of the process and the results, but they may or may not use the technology since they aren't handling every position for the entire organization.

Is Enterprise RPO Right for You?

Obviously, completely outsourcing your recruiting function isn’t ideal for everyone. Outsourcing all or most of your recruiting functions is huge for both the customer and provider. The types of customers that would be best suited for enterprise RPO, or who would most benefit from a company-wide outsourcing would include:

  • Companies very familiar and/or comfortable with outsourcing as a company culture or strategy.
  • Companies with a large, sustained need for recruiting – typical enterprise RPO contracts last two to three years.
  • Large companies (i.e. thousands of employees, Fortune 1000 companies).
  • Companies with multiple locations and want to standardize their recruiting processes, and/or with some locations that don’t have adequate recruiting resources.
  • Mid-sized companies experiencing aggressive growth or expansion. River notes that “enterprise RPO is increasingly popular with mid-sized companies, as this solution is perfect if you don't yet have centralization in your recruiting process, or if you don't have the resources to handle the aggressive growth or expansion”.

"One of the key things we stress in this type of engagement is that [the customers] are very familiar and comfortable with outsourcing," Rivera said. "This is outsourcing, in some part, what the HR organization does. They need be comfortable with this as part of their strategy and as it fits in with their culture." Rivera said that companies have tried to do this when they weren't comfortable, only to back peddle and to take on more responsibility. This limits the effectiveness of the RPO solution.

If jumping in completely or outsourcing everything right away doesn't fit your company culture, or if it seems like too much too fast, then you can start with a smaller engagement then scale up the solution. That's much easier to coordinate from both perspectives (customer and provider) than the other way around, especially since enterprise RPO is meant to handle a large, sustained recruiting need.

In our next blog series, we'll cover the other type of RPO services. To learn more about enterprise RPO, or the other recruitment process outsourcing engagements that providers offer, then view this hour-long webinar now.

View Webinar

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