In this day and age, finding talent with the right mix of skills and personality to fit the organization's culture, is not that easy. For consulting and professional services firms it is even more difficult, as their reputation comes in to play. In an article by Consultants 500, they list some of the largest causes or disruptors this industry is facing. For example, increased competition, deregulation, globalization, changing client demands, and technology and artificial intelligence.
“That best talent drives digital innovation, is the catalyst for business transformation breakthroughs, and nurtures durable and profitable client relationships” according to TalentRISE, a Chicago based Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) company. Client relationships are what keeps consulting and professional service firms in business.
“As Deloitte Consulting CEO Janet Foutty, wrote in a recent article, businesses must “focus relentlessly on talent acquisition and retention, and do everything to make sure their culture celebrates excellence. Find new models for talent acquisition, such as open talent approaches and crowdsourcing platforms. The most talented people want to be part of something exciting, something where bold thinking is rewarded, and something where openness and leadership are encouraged.”
The decision organizations are now facing is how to efficiently find the best talent to uphold their changing client demands. “Traditional staffing models in the professional services and consulting industries are reacting to changing client needs” states TalentRISE.
Suggested: A Common Sense Guide to RPO for Consulting & Professional Services Firms
What’s the answer?
TalentRISE’s eBook provides the answer, “As models change, talent needs change. Hiring people who can fill these roles is not yet in the wheelhouse of many traditional recruitment departments.” Creating a partnership with an RPO will help organizations push through the tough labor market and into the competitive future.
“While the initial rationale for RPO is often to reduce hiring costs, estimated by Everest Group to range between 10 to 30 percent, the true value of RPO extends far beyond hard-dollar cost savings.” The level of services agreed upon between the organization and the RPO will determine the level of the partnership. An RPO can provide a partnership in many areas to increase an organization’s success. There are four types of RPO’s: discrete process, on demand, project, and program.
Some of the areas an RPO can assist are, mergers and acquisitions or scaling up or down talent to meet client needs. An RPO maintains a pipeline of talent, but also has the ability to find that niche position that requires a certain skill set. They already have the technology in place to assist and maintain efficiency. As “consulting leaders are increasingly looking to shore up margins by working more efficiently outside of the traditional wide pyramid staffing structure. That means hiring talent who know how to harness digital insights, services and tools for coordinating and collaborating.”
Rules for Success
According to TalentRISE, once the organization has decided the type of partnership with an RPO, there are seven rules that should be followed to have the best outcomes.
- Be present at project setup and implementation. This is the first strategy session that should include practice leaders. This critical step is for all involved to get on the same page. The RPO team will need a lot of information to include, but not limited to business strategy, culture, current human resource processes and policies, job descriptions, and the ‘ideal candidate’ profile. The goal of the meeting is to set mutual expectations.
- Respect the role of the service delivery manager. This is the most important role on the RPO side. This person is the go-to guy/gal. The service delivery manager is responsible for the engagement with the RPO and the daily contact. The client side should also have an internal project manager, with authority, to assist in navigating internal issues and make decisions.
- Invest in the Partnership. This means exactly what it says. Without the full commitment of time and energy from both sides, the partnership will not be as successful. The ROI on any partnership is based on the effort produced. For example, a recruiter cannot do it all. Have them focus on what is really important to the organization, and let others do what they do best in terms of efficiency and cost-saving measures.
- Immerse the RPO team in your culture. By doing this, the RPO team will get a feel for the type of candidate that will ‘fit in’ to the organization’s culture. “ The RPO team needs to be able to showcase your organization’s culture accurately, consistently and honestly so they can share meaningful and compelling content to potential candidates.”
- Establish expectations and manage meaningful metrics. The implementation meeting and throughout the first 90 days is where the client and the RPO should discuss what they want for a successful outcome. The human resources team generally has metrics they are currently using. For example, cost-to-hire, time-to-fill, etc, but the business metric tied to staffing is what is paramount. An example of these is to measure turnover, or being understaffed.
- Be flexible and adapt accordingly. As a consultant or in professional services, it is known that the clients’ needs are ever changing. The labor market does not stay the same each quarter, so the flexibility of an RPO’s ability to adapt to unplanned situations provides a far more cost-effective approach.
- Communications and training. When implementing a new partnership that will change the current way of doing things, everyone needs to be involved. “The classic rules associated with any change management process certainly apply when implementing an RPO.”
Following the seven basic rules provided in the original eBook by TalentRISE, will allow the RPO and the client to get the most out of their partnership. To learn more about RPO for consulting and professional services firms, read TalentRISE’s eBook here.