As the weather gets colder and the holidays draw near, I often think of Jimmy Buffett’s song “Fruitcakes,” and a few lines in particular stand out:
“…Relationships! We all got ‘em
We all want ‘em. What do we do with them?
Here we go, I’ll tell you.”
He goes on, but the core message of those lines puts me in mind of both personal and professional gratitude. I propose that it is those relationships and the gratitude they can create that provide the basis for success. While our daily routine can include a flurry of “to-dos” from appointments, meetings, and problems, it’s the season to step back and reflect. We can get caught up in the flurry of scheduling, brushing up against others doing the same, and living a transactional life, instead of a grateful and full one.
As 2013 draws to a close, consider choosing to pay more attention to the opportunities we have each day to positively impact someone else. Decide to support the people and organizations that give back to you. Be thankful to them in action as well as in spirit. Put as much energy into developing positive relationships with the people around you as you do in checking off items on that ever-present to-do list.
It’s simpler than you think to let others know that you appreciate their efforts, service, excellence or follow-through, and it’s easy to find joy in the good works of others. Too often, we are more likely to notice price, poor service, tardiness, or misaligned expectations – both in the office and at home. Taking time to notice the positives instead reinforces the successful aspects of a relationship.
A few easy ways to demonstrate gratitude and develop a commitment to relationships include:
- Share thanks with co-workers, friends, and service providers who bring remarkable value to you
- Acknowledge the astonishingly quick check-in during your travel stay
- Thank the travel agent or coordinator who goes above and beyond
- Comment the meeting planner who has thought of everything
- Recommend the craftsman who listens, provides a creative solution, and works ahead of schedule
- Thank the leader or co-worker who shares an article or report with you
- Tip the barista who remembers what drink you like and how you like it
- Praise your kids – and their teachers – for their good grades
- Make a habit of regularly calling your loved ones
- Recognize an employee, co-worker, or business partner for their work on important projects
Take some time this holiday season to pay attention to and be grateful for the people who make you smile, the business partners who work with you to create great results, and to appreciate the benefits they offer.
Relationships – we all got ‘em. Now what are you doing with them?
As the economy improves, retention is becoming more critical for organizations. With half or more of Millennial workers planning to leave their current role[i], and nearly 40 percent of the total workforce planning to look for a new job within the next 5 years[ii], it is imperative the employers have a strategic retention plan in place, as the cost of replacing skilled employees can have a serious impact on the bottom line. The average cost of turnover is 30 to 50 percent of an entry-level salary, 140 percent of a mid-level employee’s salary, and up to 400 percent of a senior-level salary. For organizations with historically high turnover, the costs can add up quickly.[iii]
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can provide results that last long beyond a new hire’s start date. By creating a holistic talent solution with an organization’s HR business partners, RPO can have a long-term positive impact on talent, strategy, and turnover. Aligning strategic talent and recruitment plans with an RPO solution can help improve initial hiring results and retention.
In many cases, the cost of turnover is not realized in immediate hard costs, but through hidden costs that have longer lasting effects on an organization. In addition to the financial cost of finding a new hire, the lost productivity and knowledge, damage to morale, training time and the increased workload for remaining employees all raise the price of turnover in ways that may not be obvious. Mitigating these impacts is as important to organizational success as reducing the initial cost of turnover.
Developing a recruitment solution that addresses the entire employee lifecycle is a way for employers to increase retention rates. Identifying top quality talent early in the hiring process and ensuring the candidate will be a good fit reduces the risk of bringing on a bad hire. RPO partnerships broaden the ability to develop a hiring solution that meets those goals through a recruitment process customized to the specific needs of an organization. Successful RPO solutions align with a client’s talent needs, as well as candidate needs, providing support throughout the entire recruiting, hiring, and on-boarding process.
A holistic RPO partnership also produces effects lasting long past the on-boarding of a new hire. Aligning RPO solutions with overall talent management can create a candidate and employee experience that incorporates effective interactions throughout an employee’s tenure with an organization. An integrated RPO provider has the ability to positively impact aspects of the employee experience like training, performance management, and retention activities.
Although RPO solutions are typically portrayed as stopping where the hire starts, engaging in a deeper partnership with a provider can help organizations manage their overall employee engagement and lead to better retention. RPO providers that work with organizations across an entire talent cycle can implement learning and performance management solutions that create a consistent experience for employees, increasing satisfaction and engagement.
RPO providers can offer cost-effective and productive technology solutions for training and performance by maintaining a new hire’s information in the same tracking system throughout their employment. This creates easier interaction with employee information and progress throughout their career, enabling managers to more accurately assess the employee and assign necessary training.
A consistent candidate experience from application through on-boarding, along with a continual employee engagement program throughout his/her career, provides a stronger experience and enables an organization to create a better, more satisfying work environment for its employees. If an employee is satisfied with his/her workplace, the level of engagement will be higher and the employee is likely to be far more productive and focused on his/her responsibilities versus looking for the next opportunity.
There once was a time when organizations only thought about branding as a tool to assist with growing their business and selling products. However, with the continuing challenges in finding talent and keeping up with candidate expectations, it’s necessary for organizations to take that same methodology and find ways to use it to attract top talent. For most organizations, the biggest question is not “where to begin,” but rather how to get the budget and resources to keep up with today’s changing social networks and technologies. While implementing and executing a strategy does not happen overnight, you can certainly leverage your current brand strategy as a starting point.
Think about branding your organization’s products for consumers, but shift the focus to branding your organization itself for talent. Just as companies invest countless hours into understanding why a consumer would want to buy their products or services and then work diligently to craft messaging that promotes it, the same is true from a business-to-talent perspective. What is it about your organization that stands out from the competition? What is your Employer Value Proposition?
As with product consumers, what’s important to one employee many not be to the next. Create focus groups with different members of your organization to drill down into each employee’s motivations. You may find that the most important things to some employees are not necessarily the organization’s products and services, but the intangibles such as the ability to grow and develop, working side-by-side others with the same passion, or even volunteer opportunities that create commitment and drive. What compels your employees should be integrated into the key messages that drive your employment branding and communications. Want dynamic people? Show them your organization and employees are dynamic!
Just as your organization spent time and resources creating the perfect website to carry your brand, it is equally important to invest in your career site. Getting talent to the career site landing page is no longer enough. There must be a compelling catch that entices them to learn more, and ultimately apply. Posting pictures and stories on your career site helps to create a more personal and relatable message for candidates, and it provides a great way to showcase your current talent. Create talent networks so that individuals can opt into a forum to learn more about opportunities. While a candidate may not be interested today, they might be more inclined after learning more about the organization. This can be a valuable strategy for future engagement, or even referrals.
It’s also vital to ensure your mobile strategy is up to speed. Research shows mobile internet searches are expected to exceed PC/desktop internet searches by 2014[i]. Today, consumers expect the optimal experience, which is why companies are putting mobile friendly websites in place – the same is now true for candidates searching for jobs. Mobile optimization reduces the time it takes for pages to load, ensuring that candidates remain on the page, and increases engagement. When pages on a career site are not optimized for mobile use, potential talent may abandon that site – and may end up on a competitor’s site. Today’s talent wants to be able to apply anytime, anywhere. Getting top candidates into your talent pool requires enabling mobile access to your career site.
Finally, with over 699 million daily active users on Facebook[ii] and 200 million monthly active users on Twitter[iii] alone, we can be certain that social media is here to stay. While many organizations are already using social media to brand products and services, it’s equally important to leverage that resource for connecting with active and passive jobseekers. A common complaint from organizations is that they don’t want to open up an avenue for public complaints – however, companies and employment are being talked about on social media whether or not they use it. Social media creates the opportunity for better control of the Employer Value Proposition, and builds a two-way street of interaction with potential talent.
Building a strong social media presence is not just a question of resources. It’s also an issue of internal engagement and branding. There are people in your organization today who can become your social media champions. Tapping into that talent increases their engagement and provides opportunity for increased relationships with other talent. Additionally, utilizing internal resources for social media oversight may create opportunities for strategies that you might not otherwise have considered.
Consider these statistics:
- 89% of employees who admit they’ll look for a new job in the next year say their mobile device is an important tool and resource for their job search[iv]
- 64% of candidates report they check the company’s social media channels prior to an interview[v]
- By 2014, 36% of the workforce will be Millennials – by 2020, they will be 46% of the workforce. 65% of Millennials currently working say that the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job[vi]
- 3 in 5 job seekers have searched for jobs on their mobile device in the past year[vii]
- CareerBuilder tracking shows that as much as 40 percent of mobile candidates abandon the application process when they are notified they are about to encounter a non-mobile friendly apply process[viii]
As talent and their expectations continue to change, it is becoming increasingly important for competitive organizations to have a strategy in place to market to candidates, not unlike that which is used for consumers. The companies that succeed will be those that develop the ability to successfully address today’s talent market.
[iii] Crunchbase, Twitter, 2013
[viii] CareerBuilder: The Hiring Site, Forty Percent of Mobile Candidates Abandon Non-Mobile Apply Processes, March 2013
Beginning my recruiting career in the military, the experience and skills I gained there have continued to assist me throughout my recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) career. During my six-year military tenure, I worked on the HR side of operations— three of those years in recruiting. Based on my time in the military and civilian recruiting, I can see extraordinary benefits for companies interested in recruiting veterans.
While not a military recruiter in the traditional sense, I was responsible for working overseas and recruiting local residents to work on American bases. These local-nationals were typically government employees brought onto the base to work and to help maintain positive relationships with the surrounding areas. To recruit these individuals, I had to develop a strong sense of who could work well cross-culturally and in a military environment.
Upon transitioning out of military life, I joined Selective Staffing, the RPO company that was the predecessor to The RightThing. As a result of the strong recruiting and HR skills I developed through military work, I was able to assist the organization and its clients in identifying top talent across multiple industries. My experience with following military guidelines and compliance requirements, as well as working with diversity initiatives, contributed to my success in civilian recruiting work.
Why Hire Military Veterans?
There are many reasons that organizations should look at developing a targeted veteran hiring program – my own experience is one example, but there are countless other reasons veteran hiring is a good option for companies. For starters, military veterans come from a background that instills a solid sense of work ethic that will remain part of their character as they transition into civilian life.
Additionally, military work gives people a well-rounded outlook on business life. Military life can be seen as rigid and robotic, but service members are trained to be very self-sufficient, learn strong teamwork skills, and take accountability for a lot of responsibility all at once. It’s crucial for military members to be able to juggle various types of work, maintain training outcomes, and easily assess the big picture under high pressure – all characteristics that are invaluable in civilian working life.
Military service creates workers with a strong sense of pride in their work – veterans are comfortable working hard, long hours, and ensuring that the work that gets done is done well. Military work also enables veterans to leave with a good sense of when it’s imperative to take a leadership role, and when it’s time to follow the directions that were given. In a time when employers are scrambling to find experienced talent, military veterans offer a strong pool of candidates with prior and proven experience.
The saying “Look, Think, Act like a solider” is a motto used to help guide service members even through times when they’re not sure what to do. The phrase assists members of the military in building a high level of professionalism in any situation, a mode of working that helps reduce stress and improve outcomes. This attitude easily transitions into civilian life, where veterans are easily able to adopt a culturally-appropriate professionalism. Military veterans know well that you’re never off-duty in how you represent an employer, which is a beneficial quality in today’s interconnected social world.
Veterans offer pride in and respect for the work they do, bring strong leadership and teamwork to a company, and bring numerous unique skills to the table. Recruiting and hiring veterans is not only a sound diversity hiring option that will improve employer brand, it also provides employers with numerous business benefits.
A friend of mine is a Six Sigma green belt at the local facility of a global manufacturer – a company that has been focused on continuous improvement since before it was called continuous improvement. The shop focuses on the science of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control), but recently, my friend relayed a story to me that showed the importance of investing in people as well as measurements.
My friend was working on a project to improve the consistency of material loading, as product was frequently loaded into carts backward. This caused delay and issues at the point of use, slowing down the entire process. At the start, it seemed like a simple analytical problem: Find out why the carts were being loaded backwards, determine a remedy, implement the strategy, and follow up. While there were several simple and straightforward-seeming solutions, their implementation continued to fail.
The DMAIC method wasn’t working, so my friend went to talk to the operators, and he placed the focus of the conversation on getting their perspective instead. He listened to what they cared about, and let them walk him through their concerns. The issue for the operators wasn’t the carts, but their computer terminals: due to a setup issue, the operators spent so much time seeking workarounds to constant problems that they were too frustrated and rushed to check the direction of the product as it went on the carts.
After listening to their concerns and reengaging the focus on continuous improvement, my friend worked with programmers to learn how the issues could be corrected and reconfigured to meet operator needs. Once the new configuration received feedback from operators, it was rolled out across all terminals. Almost immediately, the carts were consistently loaded correctly, and the operators experienced significantly reduced job stress.
Once the operators’ true concerns were heard, a process issue was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. The process of focusing on and building relationships improved outcomes – not just individually, but for the facility and the organization overall. When my friend provided an avenue for direct feedback as opposed to solely conducting analysis, he helped create improvements that brought positive results beyond the initial objective.
The lesson my friend learned is one that forms the basis of our work at The RightThing – it is people that drive change, which means you have to spend as much time with people as you spend analyzing their results if you want them to invest in you. This is one of the reasons that Terry called all employees of The RightThing relationship managers when he started the company: He recognized and encouraged the importance and power of relationships to demonstrate both competency and interest.
It takes time to care about people, but the payoff is as tangible to the business as it is to the individuals it affects.
Recruitment Process Outsourcing – RPO – is not outsourcing. This might seem counterintuitive, since the word is right there in the acronym, but when you engage in an RPO partnership, you are not removing recruitment functions from your core infrastructure. Instead, you are making a bold decision to initiate process improvements and help ensure successful delivery for your organization. You are engaging in Recruitment Process Augmentation.
The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association defines RPO as: “when a provider acts as a company’s internal recruitment function for a portion or all of its jobs … a properly managed RPO will improve a company’s time to hire, increase the quality of the candidate pool, provide verifiable metrics, reduce cost and improve governmental compliance”
The definition is correct, but it’s only the minimum starting point for a true RPO solution; RPO is more than just the oversight of your recruitment functions. As your strategic partner and a subject matter expert on talent acquisition, your RPO partner should also be monitoring the industry and talent trends, informing you of opportunities, and making recommendations for process improvement, technology solutions, and best practices.
A strategic RPO provider will not limit the relationship to simply processing transactions, but hopefully will become a champion and promoter of your brand as an employer of choice. They will develop and manage processes that advocate for and leverage your employee value proposition to help attract the best candidates. With proper change management, RPO can be seamlessly integrated as an augmentation to your organization, tailoring solutions to meet your individual needs.
Whenever an organization considers modifying a process as critical as talent acquisition, there is an element of risk associated with the change. A desire for improvement is at the heart of the decision to explore RPO: there is a goal to be met, and RPO has been chosen as a means to that end. Engaging an RPO can be a dramatic transition, often accompanied by concern or resistance from internal stakeholders.
A critical step in helping to ensure successful engagement and buy-in is regular, open communication with key business stakeholders, acknowledging that the business needs will be adequately and proactively supported to assist with continuity and future success. If they feel informed, well-supported, and understand that the desired outcome is business improvement, the groundwork is in place to help ensure that the talent acquisition program will achieve your organizational objectives.
A successful RPO becomes an extension of your organization, rather than a separate entity. Whether your RPO partner assumes the role held by in-house recruiters, supplements their efforts, or manages a portion of the process, RPO should become an integrated component of your talent acquisition program. Your RPO partner is responsible for providing the consultative insight to develop and execute a recruitment process with an eye on progress. The ability to embrace new technology and best practices adapted to the ever-changing demands of a complex recruiting landscape are key elements of recruitment process augmentation, and will help keep you ahead of the competitive curb.
Creating a successful RPO partnership requires both client and provider to set out the appropriate terms for the relationship at its start, and there are numerous factors to consider. The contract is the bedrock for the entire relationship, and appropriate service level agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the framework on which the partnership develops. Correctly established contracts and SLAs/KPIs can ensure that the partnership starts off strong.
The length and pricing models of RPO contracts can affect the success of the partnership. During the recession, RPO contract length shortened to an average of 2.5 years according to Everest Group Research. Now that the economy is moving again, contract lengths have returned to the 3-year range. Many contracts retain buy-out options, which allow early cancellation of the contract with a fee.
Two pricing structures dominate the contract landscape. First is a straight 50/50 cost-per-hire (CPH) model, where half of the cost is paid when a requisition opens, and the remainder when an offer is accepted. This model requires a minimum hire threshold, which allows the RPO vendor to offer a discounted rate based on volume while still creating a proper margin outcome.
The second model is built around fixed costs plus a variable CPH. Organizations looking for less variability in overall cost structure have 50 percent of the program cost billed through a monthly management fee. This structure also requires a minimum hiring volume to maintain efficiency.
RPO platforms that incorporate an applicant tracking system (ATS) as the system of record add another component to the pricing model, and the technology fee can be billed as a fixed monthly fee. Other considerations include whether or not the client wants RPO team members onsite, which also involves monthly billing in addition to CPH costs.
Deciding on the appropriate contract length and billing model is crucial to building an RPO partnership that is geared for success.
SLAs and KPIs
SLAs and KPIs are the reporting and metrics that bind the client and vendor, and help monitor the progress and performance of the partnership. There are specific considerations to be made around SLAs and KPIs, and some important differences between them, which help determine their importance.
SLAs are the primary drivers of the RPO partnership, and business-imperative metrics should be included in the contract as SLAs. RPO providers are held accountable for meeting SLAs, generally through putting fees at risk. Common SLAs include time-to-fill metrics or other metrics focused on efficiency, diversity and quality. A common measurement of candidate quality is an interview-to-hire ratio: hiring managers interviewing 10 candidates per 1 hire are not being presented with high quality applicants. An interview-to-hire ratio of 3:1 is much healthier.
Satisfaction surveys are another important SLA. The RPO provider is branded as the client within the marketplace, so it is important to have a strong candidate care program that ensures a positive experience for all applicants. Additionally, it’s important to measure hiring manager satisfaction to ensure the RPO relationship is providing the appropriate results on the client side. Net Promoter Survey scores are an important internal measure of how well an RPO provider is doing.
KPIs are important metrics and measurements, but may not be mission-critical. As a result, KPIs are not tied to fees. However, KPIs are useful for monitoring the RPO process, including technology performance and sub-cycle times. These metrics are often included in weekly, monthly or quarterly reports through executive dashboards or as ad hoc updates.
Once an RPO relationship has been established, there is typically a 180-day stabilization period. During this time, clients and their providers should get accustomed to working together, and begin to set goals and metrics for the rest of the relationship. Choosing the right pricing structure and establishing effective SLAs and KPIs helps both client and provider get the greatest benefit from the partnership.