A Steady State in HRO for 2Q 2011

After several quarters of new HRO activity, the pace settled down a bit in the second quarter, but was still plenty interesting. Here are several samples from 2Q 2011.

Capita stands out for its volume and breadth of HRO activities. It is the largest MPHRO provider in the U.K. according to the NelsonHall MPHRO 2011 market report. Capita was awarded preferred supplier status by NHS in North Mersey, providing a potential of up to £27m by offering a mix of HR, payroll, and RPO services to 12 Mersey NHS trusts. There were also two awards for occupational health services, which it is expanding into the more holistic well-being services. An acquisition was also in the mix. Team24 was brought in to enhance medical RPO capabilities, further strengthening a market segment in which Capita is rated third in the U.K.

I like to look at the mix of new partnerships, offerings, and mergers and acquisitions to see where vendors are placing their bets on expansion and growth. Global remains hot and deal activity is there to keep hopefuls in the game of capturing new markets.

A leading example is ManpowerGroup’s strategic moves in China. It purchased REACH HR in south China, added Xi’ an Fesco with its 10k associates, and partnered with the city of Kaifeng in the Henan Province to add coverage in the west and north central area of China. To top off this spree, ManpowerGroup aligned itself with China’s Ministry of Industry & Information Technology (MIIT) for a five year plan.  It will develop a talent exchange center, enabling ManpowerGroup’s local partners to provide workforce solutions focused on manufacturing.

Remember that China is not a market you can just jump into and Manpower has been on the ground in mainland China for 17 years. It has the needed relationships and is well-positioned to benefit from the development expansions now moving into inland China.

Other APAC activity included Australia. Mercer was awarded a superannuation pensions administration contract by RBK. Also, Towers Watson is partnering with Link Group to enter the superannuation market in Australia which is not big in numbers, but each group plan can have a large number of members. Finally, Futurestep opened global service management centers in Australia and New Zealand.

Elsewhere in APAC, Genpact was selected for a five year learning content development contract by JobSkills in India; Merce r launched a flex benefits offering in Hong Kong, and is partnering with PayrollServe to offer its HR services in APAC; and ManpowerGroup acquired Web Development Company in India to strengthen IT recruiting.

With plenty of recent HRO deals in implementation and early stabilization, along with perkier volumes and special projects in existing contracts, service providers need to focus on balancing delivery performance with new acquisitions. Compared to some of the things we have experienced in HRO, a steady state is not such a bad thing!

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

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