Posted tagged ‘Alexander Mann Solutions’

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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Does HRO Help or Hurt in Achieving Human Capital Leadership?

February 24, 2012

Can employers be recognized as leadership development advocates and a great place to work and still take advantage of HRO services? Yes—and recent “best companies” announcements provide plenty of examples.

Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list includes a number of companies known to use HRO services. RPO examples include: American Express (Hays RPO), Edward Jones and Intuit (Manpower Group), Microsoft and Novartis (Alexander Mann Solutions), and SAS and Telefonica (Ochre House). Accenture, which provides HRO services, is on the list as an employer.

HRO clients are also among the recognized companies in the 2011 Top Companies for Leaders, another recent Fortune study in association with Aon Hewitt. PepsiCo (Aon Hewitt) and Unilever (Accenture, IBM) are among the multinationals taking the lead in developing leaders. Again we see RPO as a common talent management service selection; Eli Lily and Novartis AG (The Right Thing, An ADP Company), GE and Siemens AG (KellyOCG), and Whirlpool (Kenexa). IBM, another major HRO player, is recognized, as is Wipro. Accenture is noted on the U.S. list and Infosys is on the Asia Pacific list. ADP is included in the 2012 list of 10 Best  Companies for Leaders rankings by the Chief Executive.

Business Today has just released its 11th annual “Best Companies to Work for” in India and top companies include HRO providers such as Accenture, IBM, Infosys, Wipro, and TCS. Honeywell International (SourceRight Solutions) also made the list and is on the U.S. list for Leaders as well.

The lists go on and on and you will find companies that use HRO as well as HRO providers among the best of the best. You can be a pioneer in leadership development and use HRO in critical talent management areas. You can achieve greatness in any region of the world. You can even look to some of the HRO providers to share their own expertise as a “best company” in the human capital leadership arena.

Will HRO automatically make you the best company? No. However, HRO will not slow you down and may even provide a committed partner in accelerating your success.

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.

Oracle Buying Taleo: Is It a Good Deal?

February 20, 2012

As Howie Mandel always says to his guests after they’ve pressed the button and say “Deal!” on the TV show Deal or No Deal—”but was it a good deal?” Time will of course tell, but I do believe Oracle has made a very good deal. As the acquisition was announced just last February 9, I’ll briefly recap what had happened.

Oracle announced an agreement to buy Taleo for $46 per share, an 18% premium over Taleo’s stock price the day before the announcement, equating to $1.9 billion. As Taleo’s board has approved the acquisition, it is now subject to normal regulatory approval and is expected to close by summer. This follows SAP’s announcement on December 3, 2011 to acquire SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. I had blogged about my take on the acquisition last December 13, 2011, stating that SuccessFactors is a provider of talent management software, but software alone does not get at the core of what makes for effective talent management. First, let me state that I also feel that SAP buying SuccessFactors was a good deal, albeit a steep price, as cloud-based software, including talent management is clearly on the rise and expected to continue to grow. NelsonHall has seen a large increase in the number of cloud SaaS HR services contracts and nearly 15% of HRO contracts in 2011 also included talent management software, often performance management, mostly in the mid-market.

Getting back to Oracle, Taleo provides cloud-based talent management software as well, so this is also a good deal, but how does that make this different? Because Taleo adds recruitment capability that Oracle did not have before. And although SuccessFactors provides recruitment software as does Taleo, Taleo also has an applicant tracking system that according to NelsonHall’s 2011 RPO report is the most widely used recruitment technology and applicant tracking system, utilized by approximately 80% of all RPO vendors for their clients, Oracle’s PeopleSoft had been in sixth place. The RPO report also noted that approximately 45% of all recruitment technology was platform-based. Taleo also has a business edition, popular in the mid-market for clients seeking a more standardized solution, used by vendors including Alexander Mann Solutions and Pinstripe. According to NelsonHall’s HRO forecast, RPO will have the highest growth of all HR services through the forecast period of 2015.

In summary, I think both acquisitions by SAP and Oracle are good; especially as clients continue to focus on talent management and recognize the need to have integrated technology and processes, most importantly supported by leadership that understand this. I’m in the final stages of my learning BPO research interviews and I‘m seeing a clear trend that learning vendors are now also providing talent management software and associated consulting services to their clients along with their learning services. I look forward to aggregating this data that I’ll present at the HRO Today Forum in Washington, DC on May 1st, titled State of the Learning BPO Marketplace, including the Emergence of Social Learning.

Gary Bragar, HRO Research Director, NelsonHall

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From Public to Private – RPO Can Help – Part 2

May 24, 2011

Last week, I discussed the importance of identifying skill gaps needed and eluded that there was more to the story.  Have you considered what else is important?

Matching talent to available positions is just half of it.  It’s also important to let prospective candidates know about you and what it would be like to work for you.  This is where employer branding comes in.

Although employer branding is an emerging service, some providers such as Hays have been helping its clients with this for quite some time.  For example, Hays has a 3-year contract with Santander for end-to-end RPO services including employer branding for all Santander U.K. retail locations. Contracts are also beginning to be awarded specifically for employment branding.  For example, Alexander Mann Solutions was awarded a contract earlier this year for employment branding and recruitment advertising by U.K.-based E.ON.

Other services that RPO vendors can provide to help with the transition include:

  • Outplacement services that include career workshops
  • Robust onboarding and retention services such as Ochre House’s “Keep in Touch Program.”

The services that RPO vendors can provide are indeed important.  Manpower recently issued its 6th annual Talent Shortage Survey with its findings that a third of employers worldwide can’t find qualified talent despite the over-supply of available workers.

RPO service providers who track and understand the market for talent on a multi-country basis will have the opportunity for an expansion of services into workforce strategic planning and workforce management based on the availability of key skills and capabilities in mature and emerging markets. By leveraging its base of recruiting and staffing expertise and global data, RPO can move into a linchpin position in the talent management supply chain linking learning, career development, mobility, and contingent labor.

RPO vendors are needed more now than ever, and the opportunities for RPO provider growth are as great as the world around us.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

RPO Growth Confirmed and Back on Track

February 14, 2011

Since my January 12 blog, All Signs a Go for RPO to Grow, I think it’s safe to say we are back on track with many providers stating that volumes are back to pre-recession levels.  Vendors including Kelly, SFN, Manpower, SeatonCorp, Kenexa, and Hays all reported double-digit total company revenues for the quarter ending December 31, 2010 (Talent2 were for the six months ending December 31, 2010).  RPO revenues were not reported separately, but several vendors were able to share that RPO revenues grew 50% – 70%.

That’s certainly terrific evidence that hiring volumes from existing clients has increased and that many new RPO clients were added in 2010 by all the vendors.  In Q4 announced RPO contracts included:

  • Manpower’s global contract with Rio Tinto
  • Hays’ contract with American Express in Europe
  • Futurestep’s global contract by Cummins, Inc.
  • The Talent2 and Allegis Services Group Alliance global contract with an unnamed financial services company
  • PeopleScout’s contract extension by Waste Management in the U.S.
  • Alexander Mann Solutions’ contract with Santander in the U.K.

For evidence of an increase in demand for job movement and hiring, I point to SFN’s Employee Confidence Index, which showed the highest employee confidence in nearly a year.  Also, four in ten workers stated that they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

What do I think?  Having recently completed twenty-seven interviews for my next global RPO market analysis (to be released within the next few weeks), I can say that 2011 will be another strong year of growth for the RPO industry.  It will be tough, but not impossible, to outdo 2010.  The report will include a revenue forecast by geography among numerous other data.

I’m bullish for several reasons including the need for scalability, and I also think a new phenomenon, expected a few years ago, will finally begin to occur in the latter part of 2011 and will ramp up over the next few years.  Baby boomers will finally begin to retire as 401(k) plans have been nicely recovering to pre-recession levels, which will increase their confidence and financial security.  This will create a huge shortage of talent in the workforce.  Employers should be wise to make sure they are doing succession planning and preparing for how they will do knowledge transfer before employees leave. This provides a great opening for staffing assistance and for all the ancillary services around workforce planning and talent management. The opportunity is coming for RPO to move up the value chain from an operational resource for staffing and recruiting to a strategic consulting partner in global talent management.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Top Topics at Last Week’s HRO Europe Summit

November 22, 2010

Although a working trip for me – as a learning session co-presenter with Raytheon, and on two panels, one on learning and one on RPO – I can easily say last week’s HRO Summit Europe got great marks in my book. About 40 percent of participants were buyers – a rare occurrence at conferences these days – with the balance being presenters, providers, analysts, press, researchers, staff and others. Discussions were lively and engaging, and…need I say anything about the beauty of Amsterdam, especially its architecture and canals?

My co-presentation with Raytheon, a learning outsourcing session called, “Bridging the Customer-Provider Divide,” was immediately followed by the learning panel, and witnessed buyer questions including: 1) What role does the retained HR learning organization play, including the role of the retained learning director, HR business partners and governance team?; 2) What lessons learned should a buyer that has just implemented a learning BPO contract incorporate?; 3) Why we are seeing more selective LBPO contracts and less full LBPO contracts?; and 4) What role does LBPO play in retaining knowledge as more employees will inevitably begin to retire? 

While tracks and presentations covered the HRO gamut, two of the major focuses were talent issues and RPO. Dr. Peter Cappelli, Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business, opened the conference with a keynote entitled, “A Question of Talent.” He began by discussing that, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 24 years of service with just one company was the average tenure per employee. At the time, companies invested heavily in continuous training, and believed in lateral and upward mobility. He then moved to the sobering stats of today’s workforce. Companies of course still want loyal employees, yet very few do little to give their employees in-turn loyalty, and only one in four of succession plans are utilized. The result is organizations spending thousands of dollars in employee development, only to lose them to competitors.

It almost feels as if organizations accept this as a looming cloud norm in today’s workforce environment. But I vehemently oppose that viewpoint. If you look at the pure financials alone, conservative estimates are that it costs one and a half times as much of an employee’s salary to replace that individual due to the cost of recruitment, development, learning curve, etc. How can that possibly be perceived as good business? I am feeling like an evangelist as I’ve written about it so many times in my blogs, but employee satisfaction and robust initiatives focused on talent retention are vital to competitive advantage and business growth.

One of the largest and most well attended tracks at the conference was on RPO. I was also a member of an RPO panel discussion entitled, “Deep Dive: Driving the Future State of RPO,” along with Alexander Mann Solutions, SourceRight Solutions and a professor from Lancaster University. One question posed by a buyer member in the audience was how RPO has evolved. Each panelist, of course, had its own answer. Mine, not surprisingly as an industry analyst, is that by providing what I call “value-added services” or what I consider to be the “richer RPO services,” you are a true end-to-end RPO provider. This means: 1) services on the front end in workforce planning, talent strategy and employment branding to ensure the right employees with staying power are hired; 2) services in the middle to manage internal recruiting/mobility; and 3) services on the back end, including robust onboarding and ongoing, bi-directional employee engagement.

There are other shifts occurring, including interest in global RPO, and I will cover more on that and learning outsourcing issues discussed at the conference in upcoming blogs!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Why We’ll See Increasing RPO Contract Activity in a Jobless Recovery

February 18, 2010

We’ve already witnessed a variety of RPO contracts with 2010 start dates, including Kenexa’s with the U.S. Air Force, PeopleScout’s with US Airways and the United States Infrastructure Corporation, and CPH Consulting’s with EEF. And I believe we’ll see an increasing number of RPO contracts announced and kicked-off in 2010, despite the jobless recovery. Why this counter-intuitive expectation? Let’s look at two factors which will contribute to an increase in RPO contract activity this year.

Soon-to-be and 2009 University Graduates

According to research conducted by U.K.-based RPO provider Alexander Mann Solutions, there will be significant competition for fewer jobs among this year’s graduates, only 26 percent of graduates feel confident of finding a position this year, 18 percent of 2009 graduates wound up applying for any job and only 37 percent are limiting their job applications to positions which are in line with their long-term career goals. Further, a full two-thirds of those fortunate enough to be offered jobs said they would accept more than one offer due to skepticism of the job actually coming to fruition until they actually start and are on the payroll. Think about the havoc this economy-driven “apply for any job/many jobs/accept several job offers” rise in quantity of applications and potential loss of selected candidates will wreak on internal recruiting departments already cut to the bone.

I’m Just Happy to Have a Job – Not

RPO provider Adecco Group North America’s annual American Workplace Insights Survey found that just 39 percent of employees feel the economic crisis has caused them to appreciate their jobs more (a steep drop from 55 percent of workers who felt that way a year ago), only 17 percent of employees accept working harder to avoid layoffs, only 19 percent are willing to work longer hours, and 93 percent of workers have less confidence in company leadership since the economic crisis started. Employee satisfaction is clearly on the decline, even worse than when I wrote about it in my September 3, 2009 blog. If companies don’t step-up their hiring activity at least a bit, work quality will suffer and top quartile employees may well jump ship and join another company which has begun hiring and has a strong employee satisfaction brand in the marketplace.

Both these scenarios point to increased RPO contract activity in 2010. In-house recruiting departments may well need assistance in handling the huge influx of incoming job applications, screening and selecting the best talent, and retaining key employees, all while reflecting a positive brand image for both talent attraction and retention purposes.

So despite the jobless recovery, I do expect to see resurgence in RPO activity this year. What do you think?                

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall