It’s All About Change Management

December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

When James Carville struggled to get then candidate Bill Clinton’s first campaign off the ground, he was trying to determine what was wrong with the country. He did lots of fancy analysis and brainstorming sessions and then he stumbled on his famous phrase,” It’s the economy, stupid!”  Whenever I look at RPOs that aren’t going well and have done the root cause analysis and brainstormed a dozen reasons why,  at the end it comes to me, its change management, stupid!   Whether you have decided to RPO a part of your organization, a small project or wall to wall, change management is essential to success. I advocate a fairly simple model that encompasses a business case, leadership alignment, communication/mobilization and training.

Business Case: The first part of the change model is to understand why you want to make the change. Is it cost savings, efficiency, quality, increased capability, access to the latest social media and sourcing tools?  Moving to an RPO is not always about the hard core savings, but you should at least be able to demonstrate to Senior Leadership what your current costs are, what will be outsourced and what you want to remain in house.  By analyzing your cost structure, you can help the RPO vendor understand whether they can indeed save you money.  You can also estimate efficiency savings and how that can turn into hard core savings. Reducing time to hire which can translate into faster time on territory equates to real top line revenue. The business case should also include the intangibles like quality and increased capability.

Leadership Alignment: Just because HR has decided to move to an RPO doesn’t mean that you don’t have to align your leadership across the business. We all know Senior Leaders who are okay if you RPO someone else’s division, but not theirs.  It’s important to have a stakeholder map and understand who needs to gain buy-in.  Socializing the business case with Senior Leaders is also helpful.  One common mistake is leaving middle management out of the change model. These individuals do most of the hiring and it is essential that you take the time to gain their support.

Communication/Mobilization: What is the key message you want to communicate?  Simply announcing an RPO contract to the business can conjure up horror stories regarding bad outsourcing deals.  How do you tailor your message to talk about the partnership and a different delivery model to acquire the best talent?  As always you want to emphasize what’s in it for them:  faster sales reps on territory, higher quality candidates, access to new social media tools, better sourcing techniques to mine passive candidates, etc.

Communications can also tend to be one way so it’s vital to think about how to better mobilize the Hiring Managers.  Could you ask a Senior Leader from one of your high volume recruiting divisions or a Hiring Manager from one of your difficult to fill groups to be on the RPO selection team?  Do you have Hiring Managers on the team to map the new process?  Think of creative ways to involve them in the decision making and implementation so they feel their voices are heard.  These leaders will then in turn sell RPO to their peers.

Training: Training Hiring Managers on the new RPO process and technology is often the first time they interact with the new RPO team and should therefore be delivered in the most convenient manner. A cumbersome training program can quickly equate in the minds of the Hiring Manager to a cumbersome recruiting process.  To help form a true partnership, the training should also provide an opportunity for feedback  and ongoing changes to improve the process.

There are many change management models out there, so whether you use the one described above or another one that has worked for you in the past, remember it’s all about the change management.

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