How RPO Can Help Drive Better EDI, Collaboration and Productivity

Time to Read: 7 minutes

Updated: December 20, 2023

As a recruitment executive in today’s market, I often find myself at the intersection of innovation and necessity. How we acquire top-tier talent is changing significantly, propelled by technological advancements and a globalized market. As I witness these changes unfold, one transformative strategy continues to be a beacon of efficiency and adaptability: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can help drive better EDI and productivity.

RPO, at its core, represents a departure from traditional recruitment methods, offering a strategic approach to talent acquisition that fits effortlessly with the demands of a changing business environment. It’s more than just a solution; it’s a fundamental shift in how we perceive and execute recruitment. But, beyond the operational advantages and efficiency gains, there’s a profound societal and organizational implication to RPO that cannot be ignored.

The need to address Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) within the workforce has become more pressing than ever. US demographics are changing, and the labor force is becoming more diverse. The gender pay gap is still a hot topic in boardrooms across the country and many companies are prioritizing accessibility for neurodiverse individuals and those with visible and invisible disabilities. By 2060 it is estimated that fewer than 45% of the population will be white. And an increasing number of individuals identify as LGBTQ+. Other discussions are taking place around second chance hiring for those who have been out of the workforce for a variety of reasons as well as ways to make opportunities more accessible for veterans and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

As businesses strive for success in an environment that demands innovation and social responsibility, the link between RPO and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is the true benefit of this transformative strategy.

In this article, I’d like to explore the relationship between the changing face of talent acquisition, the strategic effectiveness of RPO, and the growing need to champion EDI. Hiring today is not just about finding the right candidates efficiently; it’s about creating a workplace that mirrors the rich perspectives and experiences that define our society.

Talent Acquisition Today

Technological advancements and the vast reach of globalization have together redefined the rules of engagement. Technology has not only changed the way we hire but it has also changed the expectations of candidates, emphasizing the importance of candidate experience for recruiters and businesses. This change has occurred against the backdrop of a growing talent shortage, especially in industries requiring digital skills. Globalization has increased competition for individuals skilled in new technologies, leaving organizations grappling with the scarcity of qualified professionals.

In response to these challenges, we need solutions that go beyond immediate needs and improve hiring processes for long-term success. Succession planning, the cultivation of a robust talent pipeline, and the meticulous crafting of an authentic employer brand are equally important. Laying the foundation for sustained success in talent acquisition.

Understanding What Makes Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Different

When you engage an external RPO partner you take a leap of faith, trusting them with some or all your recruitment processes and in return accessing specialized knowledge and resources to take your hiring to the next level. They can also facilitate streamlined recruitment processes, a reduction in the time-to-hire, and enhanced quality of your hires.

What sets RPO apart from traditional approaches is its holistic nature — it goes beyond merely filling positions. Your RPO provider becomes a strategic partner, helping with everything from candidate sourcing and assessment to workforce planning to onboarding. This not only results in cost savings but also positions your organization to adapt proactively to changing talent demands and external market forces.

Collaboration and RPO

In traditional recruitment models you may have open relationships with several different providers, each of them competing to fill roles and earn commission. Working in this way reduces the likelihood of you finding the best fit for the role. The recruiters have no incentive to learn about your organizational goals, the culture of your workplace or the needs of your teams.  It’s competitive, rather than collaborative.

When you work together with a single RPO expert, it creates a smoother process. There’s better teamwork and understanding between your internal team and your chosen provider. This collaboration isn’t just about hiring; it’s about making sure the people you bring in fit well with your company’s goals. Your team gets to share their insights, making the recruitment strategy more tailored to what your organization truly needs, and able to adapt quickly to changes in your requirements.

This collaboration doesn’t stop at hiring; it’s an ongoing partnership that makes your recruitment more efficient and sets your organization up for long-term success.

Improving Productivity with RPO

Again, the benefits of RPO go beyond hiring. By streamlining recruitment processes with RPO you can improve overall operational efficiency. With an RPO partner managing candidate sourcing, assessment, and onboarding, your internal talent acquisition and HR teams gain the capacity to focus on broader business strategies. This newfound freedom enables them to focus their efforts on pivotal core business functions, a more strategic and impactful use of their skills and expertise.

To gain a broader view on how RPO can contribute to the efficiency and success of your organization, you should be tracking metrics such as time-to-fill, cost-per-hire, retention rates and employee satisfaction rates. Taken together this data not only gives insight into the financial effectiveness of RPO but can reveal the long-term impact on the organization.

Driving EDI through RPO

HR and recruitment leaders are clear that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are vital components of business success. In fact, 98% agree that EDI is important to overall business strategy. Yet there is a huge gap between knowing something is important and embedding it into the process and practice of hiring.

RPO can help you do this. One key thing that RPO does is remove the personal opinions and relationships that can lead to hiring bias. By bringing in external experts who have the clear processes, data and smart strategies that create fairer hiring practices, you can make sure that a broader group of candidates are brought in, that successful hires are chosen for their skills and that your workplace is more welcoming to people from different backgrounds. This turns your EDI goals from dreams to reality.

This can be even more important when you are hiring across international markets. Our recent work with Microsoft illustrates this well, requiring flexibility to create branded sourcing strategies that would appeal to candidates in five separate geographic locations alongside the ability to quickly meet changing project needs.

Of course, successfully outsourcing your recruitment processes cannot happen without executive buy-in and confidence from the whole organization. Concerns often revolve around loss of control and potential misalignment with organizational culture. This can be avoided through:

  • A transparent selection process
  • Clear communication with your RPO provider
  • A shared understanding of values and goals
  • Regular progress updates

Proactive strategies for successful RPO adoption involve a phased approach. Start with a pilot project to demonstrate the benefits and build confidence. Engage internal stakeholders early, encouraging collaboration and understanding. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success, and regularly evaluate the partnership’s effectiveness.

The Future of Talent Acquisition: RPO as a Strategic Partner

We’ve discussed how RPO can support your organization through the current landscape shaping recruitment. But I also want to emphasize that RPO is a long-term solution, capable of responding to emerging trends in talent acquisition.

2024 promises to be an exciting year. Many businesses have discovered that how they nurture and support talent is going to be key in overcoming skills shortages. Rethinking talent sourcing and exploring diverse hiring channels is also going to be a continuing trend. Connecting with talent in new ways will require us to explore new mediums for employer branding and advertising. And the definition of what constitutes a “qualified” candidate is changing as well.

RPO’s adaptability and focus on strategic planning will make it even more attractive for organizations invested in cultivating ongoing talent relationships and sustained growth as well as a catalyst for innovation and change in modern hiring.

I encourage you to recognize RPO not merely as a tool for immediate hiring needs but as a long-term strategic partner capable of shaping organizational culture and success. Embrace innovation in talent acquisition by considering the holistic benefits that RPO brings – a more diverse and inclusive workforce, streamlined operations, and a resilient strategy for future challenges.

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Alyssa Thach

Alyssa is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pierpoint. She plays a key role in the continued growth and overall business strategy. Her people-first approach builds loyalty, resulting in 94% client retention for Pierpoint. During her 20+ years in recruitment, Alyssa delivered talent solutions that increased revenue growth for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. She is an ambassador for EDI with a passion for helping businesses and people reach their full potential.

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