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The Paradigm Shift in Talent Solutions Value Proposition

May 2, 2017

I’m fortunate, like many of you reading this to have lived through a period of incredible development and change in the world at large. At 42 (only just!) I’m pleased to say that I still love to try new experiences, visit new places, and look at how I can do things better in both my home life and at work. That’s probably a good thing because the pace of change and development has never been more prevalent and shows no signs of slowing down.

Whether it’s how we engage with work, where we choose to do that work, the technology we use or anything else for that matter--there is an evolution happening that we either embrace or even better help to shape. The alternative is to choose that things are ‘good enough’ and decide to stick with the status quo. The latter, however, is not really choosing to stay where you are because when you stop evolving you start to regress. Few things in life are like a fine wine and improve when you do nothing to change them.

Time Changes the way we live

The thing with change is that the ease of adopting something new relies heavily on your starting point. Take the internet, and in particular how it has transformed communication. If you were born before 1990, then in all likelihood your ways of communicating were not online. Like many in this group, you use email and Facebook, possibly Twitter and maybe you are feeling cool because you now use WhatsApp. The reality is though that you are an online tourist.

Anyone born after 1990 has only ever known an online world, making them internet natives. Natives tend to find changes in technology easier to embrace because it’s what they have always known and as a result, they use dozens of different channels for connecting and switch between them with fluidity.

Time Changes Recruitment

I believe the same theory applies to the world of recruitment. Talk with a hiring manager who hasn’t changed jobs in 15 years and their default method of hiring is to go back to how they were hired themselves. Typically through a recruitment agency, possibly via an early job-board, but maybe even through a press advert! We take it for granted as recruitment experts that everyone knows there are more efficient and effective ways to hire that produce better results for less investment in both time and money. We know how the world has evolved for hiring roles at all different levels and from many different industries because we are recruitment natives, not tourists.

With talent acquisition getting harder each quarter the fixes to solve talent challenges are increasingly longer term, more strategic and less transactional. The re-emergence of university programmes, the increase in the apprentice hiring and other entry level hiring is different and needs a unique approach compared to experienced hires. The globalisation of talent has also made it a challenge for many organisations with a central hub in North America or Europe to manage the complexity of hiring smaller volumes across many countries.  The development of the gig-economy, the growth in AI and automation is also driving changes in how organisations engage talent and manage them in and out of their business. These are all drivers for seeking a partnership with a total talent solution provider.

Time changes the industry

What a lot of recruitment experts still don’t appreciate is how recruitment process outsourcing has been through a period of rapid and increasing evolution. That is especially the case with pure play RPO providers who are not held back by a legacy recruitment agency business driven by a different set of values. In a recent report by HR industry analyst Everest, “RPO 3.0 - Paradigm Shift in RPO Value Proposition”, they describe what we have seen over the last 2 to 3 years with our client partnerships. We are no longer simply a way of managing recruitment more efficiently but as a total talent solutions partner driven by our clients need to leverage us as a partner beyond their hiring.

Whilst implementing a total talent solution approach is an ambition for many organisations we are seeing a greater need for augmented solutions for organisations choosing to hire fewer people into their talent acquisition function or have a shorter term business need. In those scenarios, we establish a team that can operate as a dedicated strategic sourcing function or an end-to-end recruitment function for a particular project or geographic region. The ability to switch this on and then quickly ramp down again whilst leveraging our wider talent expertise enables our clients to deliver upon and exceed their business goals.

Hiring is still central to a total talent solution model but there has also been change in how that part of the solution is supporting organisations. Back in the early to mid-nineties RPO was all about process efficiency and low cost rather than value and expertise. It only really worked where a solution was enterprise wide on a scale of multi-thousand hires. Not today. More and more we are seeing organisations with sophisticated internal talent acquisition functions that look to RPO’s as a place to leverage scalability, market knowledge, technology expertise and employer branding capabilities. No longer is RPO the low-cost, low value option, it is the option which organisations are seeking out to do things better. And I love that.

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About Craig Sweeney

As executive vice president, global strategic talent solutions, Craig leads WilsonHCG's growth strategy and new partnership cultivation across the globe. Alongside the trusted consultants at WilsonHCG, he builds market-leading, scalable and customisable RPO solutions. Craig's relationships span all industry verticals and geographies with expertise in technology, business services, financial services, engineering, manufacturing, retail, and media.