Posted tagged ‘SourceRight Solutions’

Customer Service More Important than Ever – Even for HRO

January 21, 2011

Spherion recently released its new customer service survey results conducted by Monster.  Results show that nearly three quarters of consumers make a purchasing decision based on customer service, second only to quality and price.  That’s huge!  As a former quality trainer and college adjunct, I’ve been studying customer service for quite some time.  According to prior research by TARP, Technical Assistance Research Program, the figure was close to two-thirds, which indicates that the demand for better customer service has gotten even stronger.

Consumers are fed up with the lack of good customer service and thanks to more service provider competition, buyers don’t have to put up with bad service.  Consumers can simply go elsewhere.  Granted when it comes to HRO, the switch is not as easy, since it cannot be done by each individual client employee, but collectively, they can make their voices heard through internal communications that the provider may not be aware of immediately (which is why SLA’s alone don’t always tell the whole story).  Here are just a few things HRO service providers should do to keep clients happy at the individual participant level; otherwise this would be a white paper, not a blog!

  • Ensure polite, courteous, and responsive service representatives in everything you do, e.g. Are you as responsive with a tier 2 inquiry or problem that needs the help of an SME as you are tier 1?
  • Be easily accessible, e.g. when providing an 800 number for clients for particular service questions, if there are several prompts that must be selected, why not include the prompts to select in the original communication.  Test your own IVR as a user.
  • Have user-friendly technology.  For websites that may be infrequently used, e.g. checking pension cash balance or 401(k), is there an easy way to check and reset passwords for users that can’t remember?  Are you providing simple instructions for infrequent transactions, e.g. annual enrollment?  Also, web information changes over time, so periodically check for broken links and user friendliness.

In my current RPO market research study, a track record of delivering quality customer service, including obtaining client references, is one of the top vendor selection criteria, as it was in my recently published learning BPO study.  The Spherion survey is a reminder that customers will not be shy about sharing bad experiences.  It’s best to be certain you know how your client’s employees really feel.

The good news is that HRO providers are, for the most part, providing a high level of service.  For example, SourceRight Solutions, SFN Group’s RPO unit, was the top enterprise RPO provider in HRO Today’s 2010 RPO Bakers Dozen and it was rated number one in quality of services by provider clients.  SourceRight Solutions was also only one of four companies to increase the satisfaction of existing customers while growing its customer base (the others included Kenexa, Pinstripe and AMS).  I tip my hat to SFN Group for conducting the survey and for walking the talk!

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

RPO, MSP and Continent Labor Contracts Gaining Ground

September 10, 2010

In my April 16 blog “An RPO and MSP Combo: the Best of Both Worlds,” I wrote about the value of workforce solutions that are rooted in both RPO and Managed Service Provider (MSP) services to meet the dynamic and evolving needs for both contingent and permanent employee hiring. We’re now seeing an increasing number of these types of contracts being inked, and some providers are partnering to gain the breadth of offerings needed to win to-be-awarded deals.

Recently awarded contracts include:

• SourceRight Solutions’ – originally an RPO provider – multi-year deal with Siemens for provision of contingent labor procurement programs in the U.S.

• An MSP and RPO agreement between AMN Healthcare and Hendrick Medical Center

• Alexander Mann Solutions’ three-year recruitment, contingent workforce and employer branding contract in the U.K. with aerospace and defense engineering firm Cobham

Recent partnerships and M&As for the RPO/MSP combo include:

• The RightThing with ZeroChaos to provide contingent labor services alongside RPO. The RightThing, which was always considered a pureplay RPO provider, partnered with ZeroChaos to enable it to provide a broader range of recruitment solutions in today’s moving-target hiring marketplace

• AMN Healthcare acquiried Medfinders for its clinical workforce managed services program

• SourceRight Solutions and Hays, per their strategic alliance announced in 1Q10, launched WorldSource, a new service offering to manage and integrate global RPO and MSP programs. (And SourceRight Solutions also further expanded its own MSP offering)

The primary driver of escalating contract and partnership activity in this HRO segment is clear: as companies remain cautious due to continued low consumer confidence and ongoing market uncertainty, they are hiring more temporary employees and utilizing more contingent workforces than on-boarding new full-time hires. And let’s not forget buyers’ increasing desire to keep their portfolio of service providers to a minimum, particularly when in the same service line.   

The bottom line is that vendors and buyers both win with the right workforce combination that best meets clients’ organizational objectives. I believe we will continue to see additional pureplay RPO specialists looking to partner to provide MSP and contingent workforce solutions to meet continued demand. And while contingent workforce solutions can be used in any industry, I believe the nature of seasonal demand and spikes in volumes will drive more of these types of contracts in healthcare, pharma, manufacturing, retail, technology and defense.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

Early Q2 Earnings Reports Indicate Very Solid Year-Over-Year Results in Staffing and RPO

July 29, 2010

With the 2Q10 earnings reporting season underway, all to-date announcements point to a good quarter for HRO, particularly in staffing and RPO. For example:

This morning, SFN Group (formerly Spherion) announced a company-wide revenue increase of 25.6 percent in the second quarter of 2010, as compared to the same quarter a year ago. And revenues for its outsourcing business, SourceRight Solutions – which provides RPO, managed service programs and professional continent services – were up 100 percent year-over-year, with its RPO services revenue up 80 percent year-over-year.

Additionally, on July 21 Manpower reported revenue growth of 20.9 percent year-over-year for 2Q10, and SeatonCorp on July 15 announced revenues for its RPO business increased 53 percent in the first half of 2010.

While we still need to hear from the likes of Kelly Services, Adecco, Kenexa and others, results are positive thus far, and I believe they will continue. Even though unemployment is likely to remain high throughout the year, as indicated by NelsonHall’s quarterly Outsourcing Confidence Index, demand remains strong for RPO as companies look to outsource their recruitment functions for improved quality of hire, scalability and lower cost. And even with the bad unemployment numbers, there will always be pockets of hiring not only to backfill attrition, but also in high growth industries where new jobs are needed and in companies that downsized to the bone during the recession.

Further reason for optimism: the headline of a July 19 Workforce Management article read, “Workforce Staffing Could Hit Pre-Recession Levels in Two Years at Many Large U.S. Firms.” (You can read the article by registering for free at: www.workforce.com.) The article, per results of a recently-completed Accenture survey, stated that just over half of large, recently downsized U.S. companies plan to boost staffing and reach pre-recession levels by 2012. The survey also found that only 13 percent of executives plan to reduce their employee base over the next 12 months, and that the percentage of U.S. companies focused primarily on investment in growth-oriented activities, such as hiring, will rise from 24 percent today to 37 percent within the next 12 months.

Yet, the article also stated the planned growth won’t come easily, quoting David Smith, the survey’s managing director, who said, “A lack of relevant skills may present a hurdle for companies as they position themselves for growth. Companies need to rethink how they equip employees with the skills required to be competitive today.” Hmmmm….could this signal a resurgence of outsourced learning? If I were a betting man, I’d say the odds were there.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

An RPO and MSP Combo: The Best of Both Worlds

April 16, 2010

As I read through HRO Today magazine’s recently published Baker’s Dozen Top Managed Service Program (MSP) providers, it struck me positively to see many companies such as Manpower Business Solutions, Hays, Allegis Group Services, SourceRight Solutions and Adecco on the list. That’s because those providers are also recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers.

In different mixes and offerings, the MSP solutions include contingent workforce management, program and vendor management, temporary staffing, employee process management and other services.

There are two primary reasons why provision of both RPO and MSP solutions from the same vendor is valuable to the marketplace.

Flexible Staffing Solutions from a Single Vendor

As NelsonHall and many others have written about quite a bit lately, permanent recruiting has largely been on hold due to the recession, replaced with utilization of temporary hires and contingent workforces. As we’ve also written about numerous times, HRO buyers are increasingly opting for service delivery consolidated under the aegis of a single provider. Thus, the ability to tailor multiple recruiting solutions to meet client’s evolving needs results in a win-win for both providers and buyers.

Employee Attrition

Per a Manpower study released earlier this week, 80 percent of 2,000 North American hiring managers surveyed believe less than five percent of their employees will voluntarily leave the company in 2010. But a survey from Manpower subsidiary Right Management revealed 60 percent of employees intend to pursue new jobs if there is improvement in the economy this year. This huge delta aside for a moment…while it’s not feasible that more than half of employees will leave their current jobs, what if it is more than the five percent employers expect? A contingent workforce must be leveraged simply to keep the business running.   

The bottom line is that vendors and buyers both gain value from a workforce solution that meets clients’ dynamically changing needs, whether it be for temporary or contingent employees through an MSP offering or permanent employees via RPO. Buy-side HR executives, are you ready to meet your company’s current and future workforce needs?

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Hays and SourceRight Solutions: A Different and “Right Time” Global Recruitment Alliance

March 18, 2010

On March 16, 2010, Hays plc and SourceRight Solutions announced a strategic alliance to offer global talent acquisition solutions. The two vendors will provide customized recruiting services to clients around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Over the past couple of years other partnerships have been formed to offer global recruiting solutions including: Pinstripe and OchreHouse, The RightThing and Alexander Mann Solutions, and KellyOCG and IBM. So what makes the Hays/SourceRight alliance different from the rest of these partnerships?

This alliance is similar in that recruiters can be provided in-country, but Hays and SourceRight Solutions are also offering solutions that will encompass:

•  Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

•  Managed service programs

•  Professional contingent workforce services

Hays and SourceRight will tailor recruitment solutions that can include any combination of the above, including by industry and geography, and which can be delivered by dedicated account teams with 4,500 recruiters around the world.

Further, this more highly customized and comprehensive recruitment services alliance may be coming to market at just the right time; during the recession, permanent recruiting has been largely on hold and many buy-side organizations have been utilizing temporary hires and contingent workforces due to uncertainty of their business outlook. Tailored, multiple option recruiting solutions should open many doors between Hays/SourceRight and buyers looking for a combination of permanent placement and temporary staffing assistance from the equivalent of one provider across geographies. 

I continue to believe – as I wrote in my 2007 and 2009 global RPO market analysis reports – that global presence and the ability to partner to provide global recruiting services are critical success factors for providers in the talent acquisition space. While the global recession, which resulted in staff reductions and temporary hiring freezes, has somewhat impeded the uptake, I strongly believe the time is right for a buy-side adoption increase, especially for highly tailored, comprehensive recruitment solutions.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall