Archive for the ‘rpo’ category

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

Staffing and RPO Surpassing 2010 Y-O-Y Results

May 9, 2011

As bullish as I’ve been on RPO, results reported to date for staffing and RPO providers have exceeded even my expectations.  As we all know, 2009 was a down year for hiring, but then there was a big turnaround in 2010 and in RPO, most vendors I interviewed for my recently published RPO report said that revenue and hiring are back to pre-recession levels. Although hiring has picked up in the U.S., I don’t think any of us would say it is going gang-busters yet.  But in comparison to overall staffing results for Q1 2010 that averaged ~12% revenue growth, Q1 2011 has about doubled thus far.  Let’s take a look at some Q1 2011 results to date and how they compare year-over-year to Q1 2010:

  • Manpower up 24%
  • Hays up 18%
  • SeatonCorp up 25% and its RPO business PeopleScout is up 103%
  • CTG up 22%
  • SFN up 6% and its RPO business in SourceRight Solutions is up 83%
  • Randstad up 22%
  • Kenexa up 59% and its RPO business is up 56%.

I do believe that the rest of the year will be strong for staffing, but it’s hard to believe that RPO will maintain quite the same momentum.  That said, hiring will improve and I agree completely with Manpower’s findings on May 6th stating that  U.S. companies must hire again as workers are stretched to the max doing more with less.  In my view, it’s been this way long before the recession, mostly in part to how Wall Street rewards companies for their performance, but we’ve reached a tipping point and I’m almost certain this is not just a U.S. phenomenon.

But instead of just reading about it, come join us at the HRO Forum in Las Vegas May 24 – 25 that combines the HRO, RPO, and MSP Summits along with the HR Demo Show.

As a speaker, I’ve been extended an offer to invite buy-side HR execs with a 60% discount and also an offer for a limited number of RPO buy-side practitioners to be able to attend all four Summits for free, get reimbursed for travel up to $500, and get 2 hotel nights for free. If you are interested, then send me an email at gary.bragar@nelson-hall.com and I’ll send you the info/codes to register.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO – How the Garden Grows

April 29, 2011

Everything seems pretty moderate and modest in the garden of HRO so far this year. After the abundance in 2010, perhaps that is not so bad. Reasonably steady business gives service providers a breather and a chance to attend to growth opportunities by leveraging current capacities while cultivating new capabilities selectively.

In benefits outsourcing, the contract levels were good with some key wins and renewals. Fidelity continues its blossoming growth with major 5 year renewals for total retirement outsourcing contracts with HP and BP, and a new defined contributions contract with the University of Oklahoma. In the U.K., Mercer was awarded a 7 year defined benefits renewal by Saint-Gobain and it won a new pensions administration client, Loomis UK.

RPO saw a smaller crop of new awards, but is still growing, especially in North America and the U.K.  My colleague, Gary Bragar, will be heading off soon to the RPO Summit as a presenter and I look forward to hearing the latest views.

Smaller M&A and partnership activity remains perennial, continuing the pattern of growing footprints in terms of geography and specialized services. GP was the most active with the acquisitions of Ultra Training in the U.K.; RWD Technologies with offices in the U.S., U.K., and Colombia; and Communications Consulting in China. Manpower Group acquired Web Development Company in India to add to its IT recruiting in Asia Pacific. Finally, Raytheon Professional Services partnered with Baptist Health to increase training in healthcare systems.

With the blooming of HRO platform managed services, we have two trends. First is the belief that the time for HRO mid-market is finally here. Vendors are confident enough to invest in and launch new platform service offerings specifically for the mid-market. The second is growth into new fields beyond the base of payroll and HR administration systems. Examples of both trends:

  • Payroll – NorthgateArinso launched agoHRa for companies with up to 500 ee’s per country
  • Learning – IBM launched the mid-market Smart Business Learning Services and has launched Smart Business Learning Content Services
  • RPO – Mid-market grew from c. 20% of total revenue in 2008 to c. 33% in 2010
  • RPO – SourceRight Solutions launched RPO One for organizations with 100 – 5,000 employees, providing a dedicated service team, pre-configured ATS, and reporting and analytics.

Contract activity adds evidence that customers agree these services are desirable options. NorthgateArinso was awarded a 5 year managed payroll services and HR software contract by Historic Scotland utilizing ResourceLink Aurora. Historic Scotland is responsible for data entry, while NorthgateArinso will handle processing, pay runs, and produce electronic payslips. Edvantage Group won a 3 year managed learning services contract with Rieber & Son in Norway, which included Learning Gateway, Edvantage Group’s SaaS LMS, and e-learning courses. Edvantage Group also recently announced two contacts for its SaaS LMS. 

Learning has been slower to recover. Hopefully, 2011 will be the year for its bountiful harvest.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

End-to-End RPO Unplugged

April 26, 2011

New contracts awarded by RPO specialists often say end-to-end services are provided, however many times only two or three recruitment services are actually stated in the press release, which begs the question what is end-to-end RPO?  Does it really include all RPO services to the client or is it just jargon to sound good?

In my recent RPO report, I’ve defined core RPO services and identified the full suite of RPO services.  Frankly, most vendors offer pretty much all services, but who is actually providing what?

Having worked for many years on the client side, I know how difficult it can be to work through public relations for an announcement. Ultimately, when you do, how much detail you are able to provide is another story. Congratulations to Adecco for not only winning an RPO contract last month with SI, a provider of systems engineering and integration services to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and other agencies, but for also defining its full suite of RPO services that includes:

  • Applicant tracking system
  • Employment branding
  • Research
  • Talent market mapping
  • Social media sourcing strategy
  • Candidate pipelining
  • Direct, indirect, and Internet sourcing
  • Candidate screening, assessment, and selection
  • Job offer management
  • Onboarding
  • All recruitment administration.

Although you might say this is an end-to-end offering, Adecco does not call it that, but rather full lifecycle services.  I don’t really think it matters what you call it, but it’s better to spell out more than a couple of components when using robust terms.

Beyond the core services of sourcing, screening, assessment and selection, job offer, onboarding, and administration are emerging services, which include employment branding and the use of social media for recruiting. With the direction the world is headed in with the use of social media, you need to be “LinkedIn” to the appropriate social media communications to find the right talent in addition to the traditional methods such as job boards as they have not gone away yet.

There are an increasing number of clients who will look to an RPO provider for assistance in developing and communicating the right employment brand to attract and retain talent that will stay. Success in providing both basic and advanced end-to-end RPO services that deliver will also create client and vendor partnerships that last and prosper.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Recruit and Retain Employees with a Creative Benefits Package

April 1, 2011

Kudos to the Affinity Federal Credit Union.  In the Spring 2011 issue of the Affinity Connections magazine, there was an article titled “Recruit and Retain Employees with a Creative Benefits Package.”  We often write about recruitment and benefits in our blogs and this article makes the simple yet important tie-in that you need an effective benefits strategy for attracting and retaining talent.  I couldn’t agree more!

It’s not just about the money, but about benefits that include:

  • Health, disability, and life insurance
  • Tax saving ways to pay for health expenses and child care
  • Retirement plans
  • Opportunities to continue education
  • Flexible working hours, etc.

The article points to a 2010 study done by MetLife on employee benefits trends.  It states employers greatly underestimate the loyalty factor of retirement benefits, non-medical benefits (i.e., dental, disability, vision, life, etc.), and work-life balance programs.  I would also add in retirement savings plans since there are fewer pension plans and great doubts about what will be there for social security, particularly for the younger generations.

The major benefits, which are also the most expensive, are retirement plans, health insurance, and paid leave.  But, employers need to be creative and think out of the box at more cost-effective options.

The study states that 61% of employers and 56% of employees say that work-life balance programs are effective at improving productivity at work.  Examples of such programs include flex working hours and access to financial planning resources, such as Aon Hewitt’s integrated advisory offering to its DC plan participants through its subsidiary Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors.  Other ideas include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee assistance programs (EAP)
  • Matching donations
  • Educational opportunities including on or offsite employee training & seminars, tuition reimbursement, and paid time off to attend classes.

As the economy recovers, turnover will increase.  As the talent marketplace becomes more competitive again, it is important to see that offered benefits are utilized.  A benefits outsourcer or HRO provider can help with data mining to analyze benefit utilization patterns across key positions and geographies.  Also, total rewards statements help employees see the full impact of their benefits.  Modern benefits communication and decision support tools help participants know about and make optimum choices.

Outsourcing vendors, not just benefits providers, but also RPO providers who are helping their clients with talent management including attraction and retention strategies, should be engaging with their clients to ensure that they have a better benefits package than their competitors!  How do you stack up?

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Plan Ahead to Attend the HRO and RPO Summits

March 25, 2011

As a reader of our blog, you know that we don’t normally advertise events.  Rather, we provide our own commentary on the HRO market.  However, since this is the first time the HRO Summit and RPO Summit is being combined, plus MSP and the HR Demo, I thought I’d pass along the details: HRO Today Forum.

The RPO Summit 2011 is all about managing global talent and improving the business value of recruiting and staffing. The Summit aims to put the right people together to discuss how recruitment can lead the corporate agenda, including expert speakers, targeted presentations, in-depth case studies, and hands-on workshops focused on the solutions and technologies that will unleash the true potential of the HR-Powered Enterprise.

You can register now for the RPO Summit at http://bit.ly/fhSKDS and save 30% using promo code SPSAV30.

I’ll be at the RPO Summit in Las Vegas on May 24th presenting my latest RPO research with an emphasis on benefits to buyers and critical success factors to make RPO a success.

In the meantime, I can’t resist sharing some news on the RPO front. This week, Futurestep won a 5-year RPO and consulting contract in New Zealand and Australia with Fonterra, a large dairy exporter, performing ~2,000 permanent and fixed-term hires per year, demonstrating that all industries globally are engaging in RPO.  Hope to see you in Vegas!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Where the Action is At in HRO

March 8, 2011

As a follow-up to my colleague Linda Merritt’s blog last week titled “HRO is Settling in for a Good 2011,” I thought I’d write about where the most action is at thus far. If you were thinking recruitment, good guess, but it is actually benefits administration leading the way in the number of announced contracts in 2011.

In addition to Mercer being awarded a pensions administration contract by Loomis UK Ltd., which Linda also wrote about Mercer in her February 23rd blog, a number of providers have announced important contract awards, including:

Fidelity Investments, after two big five-year contract awards in Q4 2010 by AT&T and Office Depot, in January Fidelity was awarded a five-year contract renewal for total retirement outsourcing (TRO) services by BP America, Inc., a subsidiary of BP. Fidelity will continue to provide administration and recordkeeping for BP America’s 95,000 DB and 48,000 DC and nonqualified deferred compensation plans for U.S. employees. Later in the same month, Fidelity was awarded another five-year contract renewal for TRO services by HP in North America. Under this deal, Fidelity will service all of HP’s retirement plan participants, adding 162,500 participants from EDS who were previously serviced by other providers. In total, Fidelity will serve more than 135,000 DC participants and more than 192,000 DB participants for HP.

Aon Hewitt, in February announced it had gone live with eight new benefits administration clients since the beginning of the year. Across these clients, Aon Hewitt has implemented 12 services including DB, DC, and H&W and has added more than 325,000 participants and retirees to its base of 22 million participants.

Capita, in February was appointed as a preferred supplier for the administration of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) by the U.K. Department of Education. This is a seven-year, £80m contract renewal that starts in October 2011 and includes an additional three-year option. A week later, on a smaller scale, Capita won a three-year occupational health services contract by Technip. Capita will provide its Wellness Assessment Surveillance Portal, which gives centralized visibility of health surveillance records to Technip’s 3,000 personnel in Aberdeen and offshore locations.

So will benefits administration continue to be hot this year? I believe it will, though it might be hard-pressed to exceed RPO for the full year in terms of number of contract awards.  As evidenced in the examples above, there are huge volumes of benefit plan participants that are serviced and in today’s economy, clients cannot afford internal resources to manage these programs, nor do they have the expertise and most up-to-date technology. Handling benefits administration is vitally important to employees and retirees, whether it’s the ease of an annual online enrollment or the knowledge of a service center professional in answering DB and DC questions. And it’s not just large companies that need this expertise.  As I wrote in my February 25th blog, mid-market HRO is rapidly growing as well.

A final thought about what will continue to drive contract awards in benefits administration is that buyers are increasingly looking to consolidate their outsourcing services under one provider, as evidenced by Fidelity’s contract with Office Depot. This is a trend I believe will continue and from an employee and retiree perspective is a good thing. I was fortunate enough to leave my long-term employer four years ago with H&W benefits, DB & DC plans, and voluntary benefits, of which all four were provided by four different vendors. Sounds like I should play the number four!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall