HRO Providers – Are You Sweating Yet?

You may be sweating because it is deep in the dog days of summer, hot humid and hazy. Or perhaps you are sweating and fretting wondering when the recession will end. Instead, as an HRO service provider, you should be sweating to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running as the recession truly begins to end.

At the Federal Reserve’s annual retreat last week, Chairman Ben Bernanke, said, “The prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.” And according to the August 21 New York Times, Bernanke and European and Asian central bankers were all expressing increased optimism. At the same time, Bernanke repeated his warning that economic recovery was likely to be slow and arduous, and that unemployment would remain high for another year.

Okay, so no one expects a no-sweat recovery, but we are seeing signs that the recession is ending and the recovery is soon to begin. The question is, are you ready? Really, really ready?

Did you invest wisely?

ACS is doubling down in a big way, having already invested more than $28 million in strengthening its Total Benefits Outsourcing offerings.  Infosys and Genpact are among the Indian entrants into the multi-process HRO space that are building their own platforms for technology and service delivery.

Have you managed your footprint?

Some have partnered to strengthen their geographic footprint, or fill a gap in their services portfolio.

•  Xchanging, a major U.K.-based HRO provider, is partnering with U.K’s RPO vendor Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS), to enter new markets with complementary services.

•  AMS is also the partner of choice for The RightThing, an American RPO provider looking to expand international coverage for its multi-national clients.

How confident are you in your plans for new growth?

I have spoken to one vendor who is specifically targeting the small and mid-market, and another who is looking for the single service entry point, with plans to expand to multi-process over time.

Is your vision and value proposition crystal clear?

Being all things to all people turned into a Mid-Summer’s nightmare for many early entrants in the large market enterprise play space. We have all seen the changes in direction for Hewitt, Fidelity and most recently ExcellerateHRO, to focus on areas in which they have the greatest strengths.  

Those providers which have positioned themselves for changed buyer expectations in the new competitive post-downturn environment, and those that can show a cost-effective plan for HR buyers to get back on the path of strategic HR transformation will benefit from the their sweat equity as the frozen corporate decision-making begins to thaw. Are you sweating yet?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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