Archive for the ‘rpo’ category

The Trajectory of Change for HR and HRO

September 28, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The 15th Annual PwC Global CEO Survey of 1,258 CEOs in 60 countries shows what CEOs want now from HR that transcends country and industry. PwC summed it up as:

  1. Protect the home market from uncertainty
  2. Attack new and emerging markets for growth.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretsky said that he skated to where the puck would be, not to where it was, anticipating the trajectory of change. This is hard for HR, which often takes years to complete a major change and looks to HRO with a focus on price and improving operational efficiency. Skating to where we needed to be yesterday is hard enough; how do we skate to where we need to be tomorrow?

CEOs Top Concern: Talent

For the last two years, the number one concern of CEOs in the PwC survey is talent. CEOs are personally concerned with developing leaders and the talent pipeline. Why? Because CEOs see that talent constraints and mismatches are already limiting opportunities. CEO talent concerns include:

  1. Talent-related expenses rising more than expected
  2. Not being able to innovate effectively
  3. Not being able to pursue a market opportunity
  4. Cancelling or delaying key strategic initiatives
  5. Not achieving growth forecasts in overseas markets.

Talent Gaps

Availability of key skills is a concern in every market outside of North America, especially for the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. This matches well with the drive to increase the global coverage of RPO.

Talent gaps are greater in some areas. In addition to global talent concerns, it is harder for some industries such as technology and pharmaceuticals / life sciences to find needed skilled talent. Of heightened concern is middle management talent. Will RPO best fit at the level of volume and skilled talent hires? Or will RPO further encroach into middle management recruiting?

The future is also about talent management and proof of HR’s business impact. This supports the movement we are seeing to strengthen talent management (TM) capabilities through M&A. Examples include:

  • SAP and SuccessFactors
  • Oracle and Taleo
  • IBM and Kenexa.

CEOs Want Proof

Proof of business impact is part of HR metrics and advanced analytics. Even what should be the basics in workforce information is not considered comprehensive enough by most CEOs; they would like more data including the return on human capital investments, the cost of turnover, and staff productivity. HRO is ready with HR analytics as one of the newest components of HRO offerings.

Today, most HRO remains pressured on price rather than on value delivered. In hockey, someone must put the puck into play. In HR and HRO, someone must pay to develop the capabilities CEOs say they want. In the meantime, HRO is doing a good job of getting ready to skate to where business needs are going.

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RPO, A Bright Future on the Path to Business Impact

September 7, 2012

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The future of RPO is bright with growth opportunities in every area of the world. According to NelsonHall’s “HRO Market Forecast 2012 – 2013,” RPO will remain the fastest growing area within HRO.

RPO is still evolving as a service line, moving from back-office paperwork administration to the front lines of recruiting, predictive assessment, and employer brand management. Contract renewals and extensions are now a regular part of the RPO news stream. Among those with announcements of renewals and extensions are:

  • Alexander Mann Services
  • Capita
  • Manpower Group
  • Novotus
  • Pinstripe.

RPO is not for the faint of heart

With great opportunity comes increased risk. Growth is seldom in a straight path upwards and RPO is also on the leading edge of any business downturn that impacts hiring. It is not uncommon to see up and down swings in revenues of 20% or more between good and bad years. RPO providers need to be ready to rock and roll incredibly fast and be flexible in responding to changes in demand while balancing its own core of subject matter expertise.

RPO is the trail blazer

It is hard for any business including HRO service lines to keep up with new technologies, global service delivery networks, social media, and open device access. To recruit highly skilled multi-generational talent anywhere on the planet, RPO needs the latest tools and technologies to bring capabilities to employers they could not easily and affordably duplicate.

RPO has a direct path to business impact

Dr. John Sullivan, a respected HR thought leader, recently said that RPO has the greatest business impact of any HR function. Dr. Sullivan is referring to The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) “Realizing the Value of People Management from Capability to Profitability” research that rates the relative business impact of different HR functions on growth and profitability.

This was a major study of over 4,000 respondents across 102 countries, comparing the difference in revenue growth and profit margins at firms with “very high capability” individual HR functions to the business impacts of “low capability” HR functions. The firms studied had been named to Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work For” list at least three times in the last ten years; their stock price growth was then compared to the stock price growth of the S&P 500. The “best companies” with great HR saw their stock price increase an average of 109% when the S&P 500 rose only 10% over the last 10 years, up to 10 times higher. Wow!

BCG found that the top ten performing HR functions in rank order were:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding and retention
  • Managing talent
  • Employer branding
  • Performance management and rewards
  • Leadership development
  • Mastering HR process
  • Global people management and global expansion
  • Enhancing employee engagement
  • Providing HR shared services and outsourcing.

In addition to the good news for RPO, the broader picture is the need for integrated talent management and the boost for HR outsourcing. Great HR can and does directly support great business results, and great RPO and HRO can be a part of that success story.

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.

Employment Branding: Business, Culture, and HRO

May 25, 2012

Yesterday, I participated in a very lively online Twitter discussion about employment branding. Branding is a common topic for businesses, particularly for corporate, product, and service identities. Employment branding is important to ensure the attraction and retention of employees that can deliver the business brand experience. Meghan M. Biro’s brand humanization concept is that it is all connected: the business brand, its culture, and its ability to attract and retain talent. That connectivity is a business opportunity for HRO, think RPO and employment branding services, and it is also an issue for HRO service providers as employers.

In an earlier blog this year, I concluded that HRO will not hinder and may even help clients achieve human capital leadership, using leadership and best place to work awards as evidence. Diversity award lists from DiversityInc.com and Diversity MBA magazine have just come out for 2012 and again we see recognition of HRO service providers including Accenture, ADP, and IBM, as well as many companies that use HRO. Here are examples from the world of RPO:

  • Alexander Mann Solutions: Citi and Deloitte
  • Futurestep: General Mills and Kaiser Permanente
  • KellyOCG: GE
  • Kenexa: Verizon and U.S. Navy
  • ManpowerGroup Solutions: Wells Fargo
  • Randstad SourceRight: AT&T and Capital One
  • The RightThing, an ADP Company: Kellogg and WellPoint.

As part of my long running theme on talent management, I believe strongly that HRO vendors can and should be leaders in creating the agile workforces of the future. Part of being a leader is practicing what you preach, which is largely what corporate and employment branding is about.

In HRO service providers often need to scale up and scale down quickly, while still ensuring a full slate of experienced subject matter experts. On top of that, many HRO service providers base client care centers and processing centers in talent competitive markets, which often stimulates high turnover and brings together workforces from very different cultures. This is the second challenge of employment branding for HRO, as employers, each service provide needs to build a differentiated employment brand and corporate culture to attract and retain the talent needed to fulfill its business brand.

Part of developing an employment brand is determining what attributes make a particular employer a good place to work and developing programs to ensure those elements are in the workplace and recognized by current and prospective employees and are aligned with business outcomes. Sounds simple, but it surely isn’t.

Buyers, ask your HRO service providers about their workforce practices to see if they practice what they sell. Service providers, in addition to client testimonials, engage and leverage your own employees as brand ambassadors.

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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The Sun is Rising on HRO in Asia Pacific

December 16, 2011

As an “emerging market” the Asia Pacific (A/P) has more and more A/P companies become forces in the global marketplace as buyers and as producers – providing growth opportunities for product and service sales for companies headquartered in other regions (usually the West).

Do be aware that the markets for services like HRO already exist and are served by local and regional providers. Hence, new entrants offering unfamiliar brands to A/P buyers will need to assess their competitive value propositions for this vast, yet very localized market with a wide range of languages, price sensitivity, and HRO needs.

One of the largest A/P regional HRO service providers is Talent2, which offers payroll, RPO, traditional recruiting searches, HR administration, learning, talent management, and HR advisory services. Talent2 has services in 31 Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern countries, and its FY 2011 (ended June 30, 2011) revenues were AU$360m, up 26% from FY 2010. In operations since 2003, the company has ~1,700 personnel with offices and service centers spread across the region.

Talent2’s growth over the years had been organic, until 2008 when it added acquisition as a growth strategy and subsequently bought PCA in Japan, a payroll outsourcing and HR consulting provider. In 2010, it acquired Singapore-based Zapper Services with payroll outsourcing and HR administration in 14 A/P countries, adding ~1,000 clients, including multinational corporations (MNCs).

Having an available range of technologies and services is a benefit, especially when there are clients that are expanding their businesses for the first time and need a foundation of basic HR services with a high degree of subject matter expertise. This is also the case for large clients in mature markets looking for top quality and performance at a lower cost. Talent2 has multiple payroll offerings and other services to mix and match to meet the specific needs of clients of many sizes, verticals, with employees in one country to pan-national or global, using a broad range of languages and onshore and nearshore locations.

ADP and NorthgateArinso are two major global players that have been in the region for many years. As the A/P HRO market expands, more players will be looking to gain a foothold. With growth in many areas and services, Talent2 will need to focus its own value proposition and investments to maximize its regional advantages against what will be an even more competitive market. A sign that the company is ready to do just that is the addition of Mary Sue Rogers, one of the leading lights in the HRO community and previously the global leader of HRO for IBM. Rogers recently joined Talent2 as the Global Managing Director of HR services including payroll, HR advisory, and learning services.

No matter where the sun sets, at the end of the day, succeeding in emerging markets is the same as achieving HRO success anywhere: provide high-quality, high-performance subject matter expert services at the optimum price that solves business problems and delivers business results.

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

Volatility Is the Future – for Businesses and HRO

November 22, 2011

According to the Talent2 APAC Market Pulse Survey, many business executives in the Asia Pacific region have come to accept market volatility as the new business norm with a large proportion feeling more prepared to respond to unstable market conditions. The just released study presents a broad view of senior business executives across Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Of the more than 700 survey respondents, more than 70% were from multinational corporations.

The goal of the study was to understand the level of business confidence and volatility and its impact on talent and people strategies across APAC. Tested by fire, 55% of the executives feel better prepared for continued market volatility. That will be needed, as the study highlights that even those countries enjoying consistent growth are concerned about another recession happening within the next year, with 97% in Singapore, 95% in Hong Kong, 87% in China, and 85% in Australia worried about another financial crisis.

Even with these concerns, many APAC companies are continuing to add employees with businesses in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore increasing staff numbers. In China, 80% of businesses have increased staff in the last 12 months, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore at 73%, then Australia (53%) with New Zealand (40%), and Japan (30%). At the same time, skill shortage is of concern in the region, with most businesses (65%) having experienced problems in recruiting due to skill shortages in the past year.

Although executives are accepting that market instability will continue and they must balance growth and cost control in the face of recessionary concerns, Talent2 points out that not much is changing in how workforces are managed in APAC. Most recruiting and hiring is focused on permanent employees, even though executives see the benefits in employing contract workers for the flexibility to scale up and down (76%) and the ability to better manage employment costs (43%). Currently, only 12% of the APAC workforce is employed on a contingent basis, compared to 22% globally.

It is not easy to move to a blended workforce that includes a greater use of contingent workers. For many of the APAC countries with faster growth workforces, employees are naturally looking for permanent jobs with higher wages. It is also hard to find all of the tools and talents needed to help from one vendor. RPO is taking off very well in many APAC areas, but vendors may not also have the technology and expertise to support building a contingent workforce.

Talent management is not just a software application. It is a critical business capability, one well suited for HRO providers that can blend technology, service, analytics, and consulting on a regional and global basis across the full suite of talent management elements. Leading HRO vendors should also be leaders in creating the agile workforces of the future. Who will we be seeing leading the way?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

RPO Continues Its Stride in Q2 2011

August 16, 2011

If you didn’t pay attention to the news and only looked at the recent financial results reported by staffing and RPO providers, you’d think that everything is fine with the global economy.  Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights including year-over-year revenue growth in Q2 2011 compared to Q2 2010 and some numbers of contracts awarded:

  • Talent2 (fiscal year 2011 for period ending June 30) +26%, RPO +57%
  • Kelly Services +16%, KellyOCG + 22.5%, and RPO ~+50%
  • Kenexa +59%, RPO + 45%
  • Manpower + 24%, ManpowerGroup Solutions +21% with 37 RPO deals closed in Q1 and 31 new RPO contracts awarded in Q2
  • Pinstripe won or extended 15 RPO contracts in H1 (revenue not reported)
  • SeatonCorp +20%, PeopleScout +95% with 9 new RPO contracts signed.

Why was growth and the number of contracts awarded so high when the sad reality of the news headlines is that there are debt problems, slowdown in GDP growth, and a continually high unemployment rate?   Well, that is precisely why!  There are several reasons including:

  • Organizations who have had to downsize are turning to RPO because they don’t want to invest in hiring recruiters and associated staff only to potentially downsize again (i.e., it’s better to outsource recruitment to a vendor that can provide variable pricing and who can scale up or down quicker than the client)
  • Obtaining  better quality of candidates and quality of hire from an outsourcing specialist
  • Allowing HR to work as a strategic partner and in-conjunction with the RPO vendor to engage employees and retain talent (instead of focusing on hiring)
  • Wanting to get out of the technology management business, which isn’t usually a client’s core competency
  • Reducing time to hire, improving hiring manager satisfaction, etc.

In addition to revenue growth from new contracts and renewals, growth comes from existing clients that have increased their hiring volumes. Other sources of growth are from contracts won in prior quarters that take several months before fully ramping up.

RPO does not look like it is going to slow down anytime soon.  In NelsonHall’s HR Outsourcing Confidence Index, published in June, pipeline growth reported in the prior quarter was higher for RPO than all of the other HRO services.

At NelsonHall, we’ve seen an increase from buyers wanting to know who we see as the leading RPO providers by country and region. Buyers, are you evaluating outsourcing recruitment, if you haven’t done so already?

Gary Bragar,  HR Outsourcing Research Director, NelsonHall

From Public to Private – RPO Can Help – Part 1

May 20, 2011

According to data from the Office for National Statistics in the U.K., in 2010, public sector employment fell by 132,000 jobs with local government accounting for the largest proportion at 66,000.  In Q4 2010 alone, 45,000 public sector jobs were lost, including 24,000 in local government, 9,000 in central government, and 8,000 in Civil Service.

It is estimated that an additional 330,000 jobs will be lost in the public sector over the next four years.  While this is, of course, not good news, especially for those workers directly impacted, employment in the private sector increased by 77,000 jobs in Q4 2010.  Thus, the article last week by Hays is timely in that more needs to be done to support workers who are transitioning from the public sector to the private sector.

Hays and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) partnered to publish a report called “The challenges of transition: from public to private.” Public and private sector employers were interviewed and in the report the LCCI and Hays identified six important steps to ensure successful transition including:

  1. Encourage better understanding – Coaching, mentoring, and peer-support schemes for public sector workers prior to, during, and after transition to the private sector should be encouraged. These would increase the retention of new employees and also enable the private sector to identify the skills available in the public sector.
  2. Incentivize the private sector – The government should subsidize recruitment and training costs for private sector employers who hire public sector employees. One option would be to adapt the Redundancy Action Scheme in Wales, which gives employers a contribution to salaries and training if they hire someone who has been made redundant.
  3. Identify regional skill gaps – Local enterprise partnerships and recruiters should work with trade associations and professional membership bodies to identify the skill shortages that will be created by future job vacancies and look at how former public employees can fill those gaps.
  4. Review on-boarding procedures – Private sector employers should review their onboarding (induction programs for new employees) in anticipation of recruiting people from the public sector to ensure successful transitions.
  5. Enhance existing support programs – Public sector employers should be more proactive in their support for workers facing the prospect of redundancy with practical job-seeking and career planning programs specifically designed to equip them for the private sector.
  6. Promote self-reliance and resourcefulness – Public sector workers should be encouraged to work with recruiting experts who understand both the private and public sector and can provide free advice on CVs, job applications, and interviews.

Public sector employees have many skills that are needed in the private sector.  However, to shift such a large proportion of workers will require specialist help.  That is where RPO providers come in. Although the loss of jobs in the public sector is more of a current U.K. phenomenon, RPO providers can help in several ways in all regions.  In NelsonHall’s recently published RPO market analysis report, the following trends are occurring:

  • Clients are seeking vendors that can help with their talent strategy and workforce planning. For example, vendors such as Hays provide workforce planning as part of their service offering and have seen an increase in the use of this service during the economic recovery.  Other vendors in the U.K. providing this are Ochre House in its contract with SAS and Carlisle Managed Solutions in its contract with Luton Borough Council.  In the U.S., Adecco’s recent RPO contract with SI includes employment branding, research, and talent market mapping.
  • Clients are looking for vendors that can provide consulting services around workforce planning, such as Fosters did in its contract with Futurestep, which includes hiring for positions in the U.K.  Part of the vendor selection criteria included the ability to provide value-added services beyond recruitment, including workforce planning.

But, there’s more to the story than just identifying skill gaps.  Take the weekend to think about it and we’ll pick this up again.

To be continued.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall