Archive for the ‘outsourced learning’ category

Employee Satisfaction is Tanking…Can HRO Help?

August 26, 2010

Per the results of the most recent Spherion Staffing Services Snapshot survey, released yesterday, employee satisfaction in the U.S. is bleak. In fact, the subhead of the press release stated only five percent of those surveyed – a sample of 896 full-time and part-time working adults aged 20 and older – enjoy what they’re doing and wouldn’t consider another job. More sobering survey stats:

• 62 percent feel less secure about their job compared to a year ago

• 56 percent did not take a vacation in the past year, and of the 44 percent who did, one-third indicated they did not completely disconnect from their job responsibilities

• 30 percent worked from home the last time they called in sick

• 57 percent said their company does not help/support their effort to have a good work/life balance

• 95 percent would consider looking for a new job in the future or are actively looking, regardless of whether or not they enjoy their job

• 53 percent have had to assume additional responsibilities or workload during the recession due to co-worker layoffs, and 93 percent of those who had to assume additional responsibilities did not receive additional compensation

• 57 percent who have taken on additional responsibilities feel burdened and overworked, and another 53 percent said their job or workload affects their health in a negative manner

With this, borrowing the famous and oh-so understated line, “Houston, we have a problem” from the movie Apollo 13, seems appropriate. In this case, “Houston” is employers, senior managers and first line supervisors. And the problem – as I’ve written about and as we all know – is that lacking an engaged, committed, compensated, rewarded, respected and energized workforce, morale decreases, productivity plummets and highly talented employees jump ship. This is all too obviously a losing proposition for companies.

So what should employers do, and how can outsourcing help? While there are many process areas to cite, I’ll touch on just two here.

First, I’m currently working on a learning BPO study, and was pleased to hear from several companies I’ve interviewed thus far that they are providing performance management training to managers and senior leaders to develop, reward and retain employees.

Second, the results of a Mercer study released yesterday found that 30 percent of the respondents – headquarters representatives of 114 multinational organizations from a wide range of industries – are increasing employee involvement in design of their organizations’ benefits plans. It’s a big move in the right direction – even though only 30 percent of respondents are currently doing so – to include employees in benefits-related decisions and options, whether for health insurance, health-related assistance options, defined benefits plans, defined contribution plans, etc.

Benefits outsourcing providers are not only able to help senior leaders determine the most advantageous benefits plans for their company and their employees, with eyes on both cost-effective options and employee retention, but also evaluate and administer the decided-upon plans.

My call to senior HR executives? Don’t wait…engage your employees! And if you’re outsourcing or considering doing so, engage your provider in helping make the right decisions for your employees. I still believe that employee satisfaction = customer satisfaction = profitability.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

Online Chat Usage Increasing in HR Outsourcing

August 12, 2010

Picture this: You need to ask your bank a question. After navigating through its website unable to find the needed information and then trying to determine what you think is the correct toll-free phone number to dial, the fear sets in. Will I get lost forever in an IVR queue? Will I be on hold for an interminable period of time? Will I finally reach a live person only to be transferred and put on hold…again and again? We’ve all faced this, and it’s not pretty. But recently, after spending way too much time searching for the information I needed from my bank, I had a great experience getting an actual answer – yes, it’s true! – via its live online chat feature. After I clicked the button, the online agent greeted me in less than a minute, and within three minutes I had the information I needed, including follow up questions I had.

Granted, a key component of HRO providers’ core expertise is top-notch customer service via both websites and call centers. But what if there was another, alternative method for gaining desired information? Enter a Mercer news release issued earlier this week which carried the headline, “Mercer reports significant increase in online chat usage.” The announcement stated that use of its online chat capabilities has increased 55 percent since it piloted the offering with two clients in the beginning of 2009. 11 clients are now making the service available to their employees, and a number of clients plan to roll out the capability later this year. And usage by employees of the two pilot clients has upticked by 48 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in usage volume between 1H09 and 1H10.

Such a large increase in number of online chat sessions clearly indicates desire and demand for this type of communication – whether it be for questions on defined contribution plans, defined benefits plans or virtually any outsourced HR process. One of the reasons we’re seeing this surge is that live chat marries online ease and personal touch.

My advice to HRO providers considering adding live chat capabilities to their offerings portfolios – and I know of several that are currently evaluating the possibility – is that customer support must be absolutely world-class, employee satisfaction-focused. Within seconds responses, kept-to promises of when the answer will be delivered to the employee if it’s not immediately available, highly knowledgeable and skilled reps – not only in policies and programs, but also in quelling concerns…all of these are critical to ensuring the success of online chat. Fail in any of these areas and you’ll not only have an unsuccessful offering, you’ll have those who experienced a poor interaction blogging and tweeting about it. They will…you can be certain of it. These are tech-comfortable individuals who will have no qualms – or technological challenges – in doing so. Be prepared, start with a pilot, learn from the pilot and you may have a winning service offering for you, your clients and their employees.

Care to share your online chat experience?

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

SaaS-based HRO is More than Catching On

July 7, 2010

The current economic environment is increasingly leading buy-side organizations to up-step their usage of SaaS-based, vendor-hosted applications to underpin outsourced HR services, with the adoption of new HR technology becoming an important enabler of improved HR process cost-effectiveness. NelsonHall’s recently published HRO buyer report, “HR Issues and Outsourcing Intentions,” found that 72 percent of the HR executives who participated in the study cited increased likelihood of using SaaS applications for new outsourced services. And HRO service providers responding to NelsonHall’s 1Q10 HRO Confidence survey cited that 44 percent of client prospects are seriously considering platform-based HRO. Gasp! Can you recall the last time buyers’ anticipated uptake of – well, name it – outpaced the providers’ predictions?

To properly frame HR departments’ increased utilization or consideration of SaaS, it’s important to remember HR is typically the process area in which there is greatest organizational acceptance of use of vendor technology, driven by the traditional low priority given to HR in terms of HR investment. But this historically minimal investment is exactly the point – and much of the upside – to leveraging SaaS-based HR applications. Buyers don’t need to make a capital investment in, but have access to, the most up-to-date technology without worrying about upgrades. Add to the benefits mix the elimination of multiple – and oftentimes outdated – HR and payroll systems many medium and large companies around the world still have in force, with the resulting reduced redundancy and further savings costs.

The services provided using hosted HR applications are these days largely singular in nature. For example, the HRO services enabled by supplier-hosted SAP human capital management (HCM) services are typically restricted to payroll services and employee care. There is also an increase in the use of supplier-hosted applications that support single services including learning, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), and HR administration. For example, earlier this year MidlandHR was awarded an HR and payroll software contract by Kent County Council utilizing its iTrent software to provide several modules including learning and recruitment. And NorthgateArinso was awarded a six year contract for payroll and employee administration software by Garlands Call Centres. NorthgateArinso’s ResourceLink Aurora system will be used to support administartion of employees’ personal details and employment records, process hires and leavers, and run the payroll process for 1,500 employees.

Based on contracts I’ve seen and research I’ve conducted, I believe we will continue to see an increasingly high number of platform- and SaaS-based contracts, particularly in the mid-market. There will also be more platform- and SaaS-based HRO contracts in the large market, but they will be supported by more comprehensive BPO in terms of outsourcing of people (e.g., recruiters in BPO) in addition to technology to perform service delivery, as buyers look to maximize quality in delivery of services and further reduce headcount and costs. 

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index finds Banking, Healthcare, Pharma and Manufacturing Industries to Experience Strongest Growth

June 17, 2010

My blog last week focused on geographical HRO growth per the findings of NelsonHall’s most recent HRO Confidence Index. Today, the focus is growth by industry sector. When asked about expected changes in 2010 HRO revenues by industry sector, year-on-year relative to 2009, the HRO providers that participated in our most recent Index responded similarly to the prior quarter, with strong growth continuing to be expected in the banking (3.9 on a 1 – 5 scale), healthcare, pharmaceutical and manufacturing (all 3.8 on a 1 – 5 scale) industries.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, expectations from the state and local government sectors declined during the quarter. Addressing this drop first (always nice to end on a more upbeat note!), although a few state and local government contract renewals and new wins created some optimism in the second half of 2009, frozen decision making remains as many states struggle to pass budgets. State and local government HRO contracts are few and far between, and have an extremely long sales cycle. In today’s environment, as jobs are hard to come by and the recovery is taking longer than most of us thought or hoped, state talk of outsourcing, even without job reduction, will be hard to pass muster.

Now on to the positive. Supporting high growth in the pharmaceutical industry, RPO provider The RightThing issued a press release on June 1, 2010 stating that as hiring freezes across the U.S. begin to lift, there has been a major trend in pharmaceutical client hiring as organizations begin to rebuild their employee base. Over the last four months, The RightThing has assisted in major expansions (to the tune of 2,300 total positions) with five North American pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim.

And the NelsonHall contract database provides evidence of HRO’s growth in the banking and manufacturing industries. A hefty number of the most recently signed HRO contracts include Xafinity with BAE (pension administration), Kenexa with MphasiS (a 360-degree survey program), Xchanging with Insyte (multi-process HRO), Alexander Mann with Premier Foods (contingent workforce), Liberata with the U.K. Ministry of Justice (a portion of which is for payroll outsourcing), Hewitt with International Paper (multi-process HRO) and Manpower with Techcombank (RPO and staffing).

The continued growth in the banking industry is due to a number of factors. Hit exceptionally hard by the recession with downsizing in HR departments/across the board and in a current state of reorganization, banks are now trying to be more efficient and, in doing so, no longer want to assume the risk of investing in technology and HR staffs when they may be required to downsize again. And there are common roots to continued growth in the healthcare, pharma and manufacturing industries. In addition to reducing risk and becoming more efficient (obviously requisites for any private or public sector organization), it’s also about being able to quickly scale up and down. For example, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a new drug to prevent or cure a life threatening disease, manufacturers will need to rapidly hire staff to meet demand. Swift hiring of large numbers of employees, which has implications for payroll, benefits and learning, is often difficult for a company to do internally. HRO providers with much more abundant resources can more quickly deploy resources to meet this new demand.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

Geographical HRO Growth: The NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index Says…

June 11, 2010

Earlier this week my colleague Linda Merritt wrote about the over-arching tune and tone of optimism and anticipated growth in the HRO industry, per the results of NelsonHall’s just-released HRO Confidence Index.  Today, let’s talk about geographical growth.

When asked about expected changes in 2010 HRO revenues by geography, year-on-year relative to 2009, the HRO providers that participated in this most recent HRO Confidence Index see increased growth in both mature and emerging economies in Asia Pacific and Latin America, expect maintenance of the growth experienced at the end of 2009 in the U.S. and U.K., and anticipate higher growth in major continental economies including France, Germany, Benelux and the Nordics.

Specifically – on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 meaning a strong increase and 1 meaning a strong decrease – the geographical ratings were: 

Focusing specifically on the Asia Pacific market here (as it’s an emerging market for HRO) – and especially relative to RPO growth – data points made by Dr. Chris Chan (Chairman of the MBA Program at Hong Kong University), at the recent HRO Summit in Singapore support our HRO Confidence Index findings. For example, Dr. Chan stated:

• At 11.9 percent sustained year-over-year growth, China and Hong Kong have the world’s fastest growing economy

• The Indian economy has grown from $32 billion in the 1980’s to more than $1 trillion today

• 64 percent of Chinese, 50 percent of Hong Kong-based and 54 percent of Singaporean businesses expect to increase hiring in 2010

And it is clear that RPO activity is actually taking place and not just being talked about in Asia Pacific in 2010, with recent contracts being won by Hays, Kenexa, Manpower and Accenture.

However, hiring increase requirements in Asia Pacific come with a significant challenge, as noted on June 7, 2010 by Manpower Chairman Jeff Joerres at the World Economic Forum on East Asia summit in Vietnam. According to Mr. Joerres, talent shortages in Asia Pacific are 10 percent higher than the global average, led by Japan with 76 percent of companies struggling to source talent, attributable to an aging workforce and lack of immigration. On the one hand – as pointed out by Mr. Joerres – young people need to be encouraged to learn in-demand skills for jobs including technicians, engineers and skilled trades. On the other hand, this represents an opportunity for learning outsourcing providers to help re-train existing workers, and an opportunity for RPO providers to help source requisite talent via their rich local job banks and talent pools in other geographies, as well as develop innovative sourcing strategies. 

One thing I find very interesting is that the talent shortage problems currently faced by Asia Pacific organizations will soon need to be addressed in the U.S. and parts of Europe. Four or five years ago there was great fear that the boomers retiring and leaving the workforce would result in a severe talent dearth. While the recession has stemmed that fear, when the economy picks up and net worth restores, that exodus will begin and the talent shortage will become a reality. How should companies address this challenge? You know my answer.

In my next blog, a focus on industry growth per the most recent NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Keeping in Tune with the HRO Beat

June 8, 2010

The general economic tone seems to be all over the musical map. Some are playing pop tunes, others dirges, and many are wobbling about tunelessly. So what is the tenor in HRO? The latest NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Confidence Index – being released this week to our clients and study participants – croons that in HRO we do seem to be on the same playlist, if not singing the same tune, and the general tone is upbeat. Eighty percent of participating HRO service providers reported a slightly to much more confident outlook for the next twelve months, the highest level in the last six quarters.

HRO optimism is bopping along on expectations of peppy pipelines and up-tempo revenues pretty much across the board of service lines, geographies and industries. Reports of pipeline growth continue to rise, with RPO leading the way followed by payroll, multi-process HRO and mobility services. Lagging a bit in pipeline growth are learning and benefits administration, which are expected to remain at current levels. Mobility, which includes relocation services, is still on the dance party sidelines, held back by continued slowness in corporate relocations and market evaluations and financing issues in the real estate market. 

Although declining, reports of frozen prospect and client decision making are still a dragging foot in the pace of signing new deals. While the new deal tempo is a bit of a slow waltz, expectations of growth in revenues are doing a nice quick step. Service providers have several ways to grow revenues, and there is greater new client contract activity – especially in RPO – along with some expansions in scope and services within existing contracts. Interestingly, although learning outsourcing has yet to see a solid pipeline boost, service providers expect their revenues to increase in the learning process. This reflects that, because HRO contracts are heavily priced on volumes, when client activity levels increase, so do revenues on existing business.

There is also some upturn in contract values, with 40 percent of service providers seeing increases in contract values. The level of multi-country contracts remains strong as companies continue to focus on standardizing payroll and other HR processes across geographies and business units, a likely factor helping to increase the average contract value.

We have a long way to return to volumes of old, so this feels more like preparations to return to growth rather than the sustainable breakthrough we all want. Service providers modify their general optimism by putting out one to several quarters before we see the full impact of the upturn.

That said…HRO buyers, feel the beat, start moving and loosen up that frozen decision making. It is time to get back into the dance. HRO service providers, fine tune your footwork, take your current clients and new prospects for a sweep around your fresh and expanded dance floor. They are playing your tune.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

The Abundant Value Proposition of Learning 2.0 Portals

May 19, 2010

In my February 11 blog on “The Buzz about Learning 2.0 Portals,” I referenced research conducted by Expertus and Training Industry, Inc. which found that within the next two years, 45 percent of survey respondents plan to upgrade their existing learning portal and 14 percent plan to launch a new learning portal. And based on the results of a Learning BPO research study I recently launched, this comes as no surprise as the value of learning portals is becoming increasingly clear.

Learning 2.0 portals have a lot of functionality and can deliver significant benefits to the end-user company and its employees. Here is just a sampling of what I found to be noteworthy capabilities per a recent demo of Expertus’ customizable, web-based, social learning platform:

• The ability to consolidate learning information from what may be multiple legacy systems into one portal to view:

«   All mandatory company training programs along with due dates, a brief description and time required, and a click-of-a-button launch of a selected training program

«   Recommended learning and ratings by peers who have already taken programs. Imagine the value of this, for example, to a salesperson who has to quickly learn about a new product for an upcoming meeting with a prospect

«   The latest blog on topics related to specific interest areas or job functions

•  The ability to obtain insights from and ask questions of peers via a chat feature within the portal

•  The ability to access subject matter experts 24 x 7 – via the portal – for assistance when new learning programs are launched and a question arises. Imagine…no more needing to determine who to email or call and then waiting for a response, or getting caught in an IVR menu jungle

•  The ability to link training to talent management and create career paths and development plans, etc.

Need tangible proof of the value of learning 2.0 portals? One Expertus client achieved in four months a 388 percent increase in course registration volume, a 178 percent increase in new courses offered, and an increase of 123 percent for new learner registrations.

Of course there are many learning 2.0 portal providers in today’s marketplace, including Norway-based Edvantage Group which just yesterday announced a contract to provide a learning portal for MOT. MOT is an educational organization working with young people in Norway and South Africa to improve school environments via social learning methods such as peer-to-peer communication, exercises, stories, role playing and dialogues with other young people. 

A word of advice here to buyers. If/when you decide to implement a learning 2.0 portal, don’t pick a provider based solely on its technology offering, as technology is only as good as it is used. You’ll want a provider that can teach you how to or manage for you: 1) putting all the different learning environments, curricula and social networking functionality into the portal; 2) ensuring that content is continually updated; and 3) communicating the value of the portal throughout the enterprise, and conducting virtual learning demonstrations on how to use and best leverage the portal.

You’ll also want to make decisions on other portal-based aspects such as whether you want to provide all employees with unlimited access to learning or add in certain restrictions, whether all courses will be free or some will be fee-based, etc. A savvy learning provider can guide you through these types of decisions and build them into the system for you, as required.

Have you implemented a learning 2.0 portal? If so, I’d very much like to hear comments on your experiences, what worked well, what didn’t, what challenges you encountered, how the portal has been received by your employee base, the value you’ve achieved to date, etc.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

HRO Confidence Continues to Pick Up (some) Steam

April 22, 2010

Results from NelsonHall’s just-released quarterly HR Outsourcing Confidence Index – which gauges the health of the HRO industry via input from a wide range of HRO service providers – indicate the higher level of confidence we began seeing in Q3 2009 has continued into Q1 2010. 27 percent of providers are much more confident in the growth of their business over the next 12 months as compared to the previous 12 months, 40 percent are slightly more confident, and 33 percent are as confident. That we didn’t see any “less confident” responses is a good sign in and of itself!

Looking at relative revenue and pipeline growth in Q4 2009 as compared to Q4 2008, in ranked order by specific HRO processes on a 1 – 5 scale (with 5 being strong increase), providers stated:

RPO:  4.6 revenue growth; 4.4 pipeline growth

Payroll: 4.0 revenue growth; 4.0 pipeline growth

Multi-Process HRO: 3.8 revenue growth; 4.0 pipeline growth

Benefits administration: 3.5 revenue growth; 3.0 pipeline growth

Learning: 2.8 revenue growth; 3.0 pipeline growth

The providers also stated average HRO revenue growth was 16 percent in Q4 2009 compared to Q4 2008, and pipeline growth was up 40 percent in the same 12 month period. All these numbers – which are consistent with what my colleague Linda and I heard at NY HR Week earlier this month – indicate the HRO industry is picking up a bit of steam after being in a figurative bed-ridden state for the past two years.

Need more evidence of an HRO industry recovery? A resurgence of contracts signed in Q1 2010 – including KellyOCG’s multi-year RPO contract with Novartis Pharma France, NorthgateArinso’s managed payroll and hosted HR software contract with Johnson Service Group, Ochre House’s RPO contract with Agilent Technologies in EMEA, Ceridian’s contract with Fifth Third Processing Solutions for payroll and HR services, and Xafinity’s contract for pension administration services with Loganair – tell part of the story. And up quarterly earnings reports – such as Manpower’s 12.5 percent revenue increase in Q1 2010 as compared to Q1 2009, and SeatonCorp’s 26 percent increase in the same 12 month period – tell us even more.

All of this shows the HRO industry is gaining momentum, and there’s a brighter prospect for HRO in the year ahead. We may not be sprinting by the end of the year, but the cast is off, the walker is gone and we may be off crutches by December 31!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Kindergarten, HRO and Learning for the 21st Century Workforce

April 8, 2010

“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Ah…if only it were as simple for the 21st century workforce as the title of Robert Fulghum’s book! Opportunities for learning the skills necessary to excel in one’s selected career have become more challenging in the past several decades – think of the skyrocketing costs of a university education! – and since the beginning of the recession, employers have significantly cut back on their training programs.

This is why I was very pleased to see just this week three HRO service providers’ announcements on what they are doing today to help both clients and the public at large to improve their learning skills. A quick look at these three examples:

First, Manpower sponsored the “Skills for the 21st Century” knowledge track at the Ashoka Future Forum. According to the announcement, the track was “designed to harness the intellectual power of thought leaders across all sectors to create a common vision for how to prepare U.S. talent throughout the education system, and how to build a culture of lifelong learning among adult workers that ensure the U.S. workforce is able to adapt as rapidly as the global economy is changing.” And during a session entitled, “Putting Adults on the Path of Being Changemakers,” Manpower gave a demonstration of MyPath, its free online career development and social network.

Second, Expertus expanded its collection of free learning webinars. Intended primarily for corporate training professionals, the company has just added three new webinars: “Numbers Don’t Lie – 4 Truths of Learning Measurement Success”; “9 Ways to Trim Operational Expenses to Fund Strategic Learning”; and “Secrets of Successful Learning Systems.”  The gratis webinars are available as recordings and come with presentation slides.

Third, RWD established the Vanguard Leadership Forum, a “center of innovation that provides access to thought leadership around improving the way people work.” The Forum, available free of charge to RWD clients, will focus on topics including Leadership and Team Development; The Performing Organization; Performance-based Analysis and Design; Knowledge, Content and Learning Management; eLearning and Mobile Learning; Simulation and Gaming; Workplace and Social Learning; and Learning Technologies and Tools.

Why was I so encouraged by these announcements? The technology we utilize in our jobs, the way we operate and the skill sets required to perform our jobs are dramatically different than they were 30 years ago, 15 years ago, five years ago, even one year ago, and they will undoubtedly continue to change. Thus, helping foster an environment of continuous learning is imperative for:

•  Current employees and candidates looking for jobs to continually learn new skill sets, including career development and how to leverage social networks

•  Employers, as they need to know how to implement better ways to learn, with better technology and to do so cost effectively. Further, to maintain competitive advantage, employers must adopt a culture of continuous learning

By looking at just these three examples, it appears the tide is turning to a renewed acknowledgement of the importance of continuous learning and improvement of employee skill sets. Yes, we all learned not to run with scissors and not to drink finger paints when we were in kindergarten. But, wise employers create a learning culture, and wise employees seek out learning opportunities that will launch them into and keep them in the top quartile.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Keeping Your HRO Confidence UP

February 16, 2010

UP is a lovely animated Academy Award Best Picture nominated movie. UP refers to the balloon journey undertaken by seventy-eight year old Carl to fulfill a dream. It also refers to the journey of keeping your spirits up along life’s detours.

NelsonHall’s January 2010 HRO Confidence Index reflects continuing supplier confidence buoyancy in their business prospects over the next twelve months – with some slight bobbles. Compared to 1Q 2009, when the Index had deflated to a low of 90, vendor confidence is soaring with a 4Q score of 153. The bobble? 3Q 2009 was at a slightly more optimistic 159 on a scale of 0 to 200.

While there is improvement, reality is setting in that the recovery will be in an uncertain, low-growth environment. HRO vendors are still facing headwinds that will drag on sales. There is still some lingering buy-side frozen decision making, declines in volumes and scope of activity in existing contracts, resistance to contracts requiring initial client investments and unrealistic client pricing expectations.

Even with pipelines and confidence up, some buyer buffeting will continue. Buyers facing uncertain recovery in their own businesses will continue to look for cost advantaged deals with a clear path to ROI within 12-24 months. Throughout the recession and now as recovery begins, the transactional and basic services have shown strength, especially payroll and benefits administration. That is likely to continue throughout 2010 with some pick-up in multi-process HRO and learning.

Activity is rising in RPO, but the hard hit segment will take a while to recover from the decline in bread and butter hiring volumes and a thus far jobless recovery. According to an AP news article by Jeannine Aversa, normally the current uptick in temp jobs, up for the fourth consecutive month, is predictive of a coming return to staffing permanent positions. But given the so far tepid recovery, expect to see an extend period of increased use of temporary labor over a return to hiring.

In quite a change of the prevailing winds, the emerging market geographies are expected to be the higher growth markets in 2010. China and Asia Pacific have the highest expectations for increased revenues by HR vendors, followed by the U.K. and other parts of Europe including France and Germany. Optimism is also up for Central and Latin America. The U.S. trails in expectations, a sign of an anticipated slow recovery.

In UP, Carl does finally get to where he needs to be, picking up new friends along the byways. HRO is headed in the right direction and vendor spirits are up…may they also win many new client friends along the way.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall