Posted tagged ‘Futurestep’

SaaS versus BPO

March 14, 2013
Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

The HR Outsourcing Association (HROA) just completed a series of webinars on SaaS and HR BPO. There was a wide range of HROA industry experts bringing their real world experience on each panel including Accenture, ADP, Aon Hewitt, Futurestep, IBM, ISG, NorthgateArinso, Oracle/Taleo, and more.

SaaS or BPO is Not the Question

The conversation was largely about the difference between SaaS and the ERP systems included in most current BPO deals. It was not about using only SaaS or only BPO. SaaS can and does fit into BPO. I expect to see lots of growth in SaaS and BPO combinations in the next few years as SaaS platforms scale and grow in handling complexity.

SaaS is a Success Story of Innovation

The rise of SaaS was also fueled by the recessionary pressure to lower HR costs. Pre-downturn, HR leaders strongly preferred the customization power of ERPs to conform to a client’s policies and processes. Now the acceptance of the speed and economic advantage of configuration and standardized processes makes SaaS a viable option for an increasing array of HR services and even HR management system infrastructure (HRMS).

BPO service providers are also prime sources of many SaaS applications:

  • SAP and Oracle offer cloud HRMS used as the core for most HRO platforms such as: Genpact Hosted HRMS Platform, Infosys TalentEdge, CGI Oracle HCM, Caliber Point Republic, TCS HR platform
  • Proprietary systems include: ADP Vantage HCM and Workforce Now, NorthgateArinso ResourceLink Aurora, Preceda, and MoorepayHR, Ceridian DayForce and HRevolution
  • Talent management applications including RPO services have been so popular that Oracle snapped up Taleo, IBM acquired Kenexa, and SAP bought SuccessFactors.

Selection and Implementation Commonalities

The buyer experience has common elements whether selecting SaaS or BPO.

  • The upfront client planning process is the same: identify goals and objectives aligned with business and HR strategies; gather cost, process, and performance data to build a business case; consider enterprise risk; etc.
  • Vendor selection: do not just select the service; ensure there is a proven record of vendor performance and solid evidence of collaborative client relationships.

SaaS is not Self-Installing

While the total time and effort may be less, all the traditional elements remain. Webinar panelists warned that even if the decision has been made to use SaaS, do not underestimate the time and effort to make a vendor selection, manage change, gain buy-in, and project management implementation.

Even though one of the advantages of SaaS solutions is faster and “easier” implementations, it will still take buyers time and effort to standardize processes and data and to determine the configurations. Make sure that as a buyer, you know and plan for the skill and effort needed. Like BPO, experience says to consider a phased in rollout starting with one service / process and bring the learning forward to the rest of the implementation.

Next time, we will explore to SaaS or not to SaaS.

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Asia Pacific, Talent2, and HRO

June 15, 2012

Asia Pacific is the emerging market of the most interest to HRO service providers, especially RPO vendors. Most of the big names in HRO/RPO are building or expanding scale there to take advantage of the higher than average growth rates. ADP and NorthgateArinso are well-established in the region, and Futurestep, GP, Kenexa, ManpowerGroup, Mercer, and Towers Watson have all made recent acquisitions in China, Hong Kong, India, and Australia as the fastest way to get more feet on the ground in this expanding market.

Still considered an emerging market, some Asia Pacific countries are already mature including Australia and Japan, while others are truly experiencing the first rush of growth. Each country has different needs and challenges and HRO service providers need to bring a lot of service line experience and local knowledge to the table. While one industry needs a high volume of entry-level employees to meet demand, another, a bit further on the maturity scale, needs management-level employees with the experience to manage and continue growth of a more complex enterprise.

Newer entrants should not forget that there are regional providers already on the ground; one of the largest is Talent2, which covers the entire area and a bit beyond. Talent2 has continued its solid pace of contract wins across the Asia Pacific region. An example from the public sector is contractor procurement and management for 13 agencies of the Queensland government. In the private sector, contract wins included payroll, RPO, and learning, and cover Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and even the Middle East.

With ~1,700 employees, Talent2 supports 30 countries in 30 languages from its 46 offices and service centers located across 19 countries. With its scale and services it should be no surprise to find that Talent2 is, according to NelsonHall, the HRO leader in Asia Pacific.

Perhaps it is reasonable then that Talent2 has attracted interest from investors wanting to take it private. Morgan & Banks Investments (MBI) and Allegis Group have entered into an agreement to acquire the company, which will remain operationally as Talent2 if the deal is successful. MBI represents current major stakeholders and Allegis is already a Talent2 RPO partner. It will be interesting to see if privatization allows Talent2 to fuel even more growth in and outside of the Asia Pacific region.

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

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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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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

HRO Staffing – A Balancing Act

March 30, 2011

Fast and flexible scaling is one of the major benefits of HRO. Scaling up is a lot more fun than scaling down, but both are important, take time, and consume resources. One of the toughest challenges in HRO is maintaining staffing and margins at the same time through the ups and downs of client demand and the overall economy.

Recent times required painful and expensive downscaling as HRO client demand and employment levels dropped, reducing volumes and overall spend. Significant expenses were allocated for staff severance and consolidation of real estate. Even in periods of growth, merger and acquisition “savings” targets are based largely on staff downsizing to reduce overlap, followed by real estate consolidation. Whether a service provider is growing organically or via acquisition, or responding to reduced demand, maintaining appropriate staffing capability, capacity, and expense is critical.

HRO is slowly recovering with RPO leading the way while some areas are still waiting for their upturn including learning and MPHRO. New deals are occurring, renewals are going well, and existing clients are once again increasing scale and scope, at least at a modest level. All good and welcome news!

HRO service providers are confident enough to prepare for a return to growth and make select expansions. At the same time, they know they need to add client load with a minimum of new hiring as pricing pressure is still intense. And this is not even mentioning the need for maintaining an experienced and qualified staff to satisfy client employees and other end-users in the ever changing world of HR.

On the upside, clients are growing in sophistication and understanding of HR outsourcing options. While onshore delivery still leads, especially for voice, acceptance of offshoring has reached the expectation that HRO vendors should offer multi-shore delivery options. Nearshore options and the use of non-voice channels like chat allow leveraging more work to selected centers, increasing the need for and the value of a truly global service delivery network.

Recent HRO service provider expansions include:

  • TriNet – Added three new U.S. offices
  • CPH – Opened a new office in Sydney
  • Futurestep – Added a global recruitment operations center in Houston
  • NorthgateArinso – Invested in a new global HR delivery center in Hyderabad, India; opened offices in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Istanbul; partnering with ICAP Group in Greece
  • Edvantage Group – New e-learning production center in Denmark.

Expanding the coverage of service locations helps avoid the war for talent and damaging attrition rates in the hottest spots as well as providing increased options for clients.

Buyers, do more than look for an SLA on turnover. Ask about the vendor’s current and future plans for managing staffing and service flexible coverage. Does your service provider show that they are at least as, or more, sophisticated as you are in workforce planning and management? They should be.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, 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

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