Make Merry Across the Land of HRO

It is a time of major holidays for many of us around the world, and we in the HR outsourcing community should take time to make merry together in celebration, even as we prepare for a brighter New Year.

Yes, the recovery has been slow, but it is happening, and improved results are spreading good cheer across the land of HRO. Look at Accenture’s results for 1Q 2011 to see what is possible and happening right now for even the big players. Revenues for the quarter were up by 12 percent to $6.6 billion, with $2.5 billion coming from outsourcing, which was up 10 percent. And for the last quarter reported, both ADP and Mercer were up a healthy six percent in revenues. Each is showing it can add more volume without losing the effect of cost reduction initiatives made during the downturn.

The upturn in RPO has been dramatic, and there is plenty to stimulate the continued need to manage hiring in new and improved ways –and not just for managing turnover, but also for growth. A well integrated RPO platform of services with the people skills of real recruiters, sophisticated technology and robust back-office processing is a great way for buyers to access today’s needed staffing capabilities without bearing the full cost of investment, and still keeping costs variable with volumes. Wrap up a nice RPO present and put a bow on it!

The new business mix is changing, and Accenture is starting to see both consulting and service deals aimed at growth and new market entry. The merry point for savvy and prepared HRO vendors? This should be a lead-in to more demand for HRO beyond and in addition to cost control and operational efficiency. Bust out more than single point solutions – shine up and get ready those bundles of service for expansions in talent and workforce management.

Holidays are a time of gathering, and I have been impressed with the progress that HRO service providers have made in listening to their clients. ACS, a Xerox company, and IBM have been pioneers in gathering together customers, listening to them and letting them talk to one another, both physically and virtually. Aon Hewitt makes more the merrier, having just spent a full day with its HR BPO Client Council; and it also has councils for benefits and human capital leadership for CHROs from around the world.

My hope for the New Year is that HRO clients and service providers put the proof in the pudding to show that a strong HRO partnership is a viable and valuable path to strategic HR that improves business results for the enterprise, and in turn builds career opportunities and better lives for people around the world.

My colleague Gary and I are planning to take next week off from blogging (although we may sneak one in.) So I’d now like to thank our clients and our blog readers, and wish all merry holidays and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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