Getting in-house HR to see the advantages of a recruitment process outsourcing partner is easy; getting executive support is more challenging. However, gaining executive buy-in is paramount to getting the most out of your RPO investment.

Why is Executive buy-in critical?

For an RPO partner to truly add value, they need to understand the organisation’s priorities, strategic vision, and roadmap. This vision can only come from the Executive. Proper alignment helps the Executive understand that RPO is more than a cost but rather a cultural change to ensure the company attracts the best talent far into the future.

Common RPO concerns

The RPO discussion often starts due to a large-scale project or expansion requiring the business to increase headcount rapidly. During such a phase, it’s common for executives to focus on day-to-day hiring activities and daily headcounts.

This tactical focus should be a red flag, indicating that executives want to rush to initial processes and get to work. This lack of initial understanding leaves the RPO partner not fully aware of all objectives, resulting in frustration for all parties. An established RPO partner will put processes, SLAs and KPIs in place very early in the process so that all parties have an agreed set of benchmarks. They will also establish a reporting cadence to make adjustments over time.

Presenting RPO Benefits

For talent acquisition staff, it’s easy to understand the benefits of RPO; however, they may not be self-evident to your Executive, who have a different focus. Below are our tips for gaining executive support:

  • Backup your opportunity statements with examples and data
    Your RPO partner should easily be able to provide real-world data to back their claims. Whether it is the percentage in savings, reduction in transaction times or changes in staff turnover, you need to offer real-world examples with real-world data.
  • Explain sourcing issues and their risk.
    The skills gap and the resignation wave are both terms being thrown around lately but the truth is that companies are finding it much more competitive to attract top talent, and this presents a clear risk to achieving organisational goals. A flexible RPO program gives you added reach and agility compared to your stretched internal team, mitigating these risks. Focus on these risk reductions and what KPIs will be reported on to ensure you stay on track and executives will be far more likely to support the program.
  • Explain the difference between order taking and partnership.
    There is more to your RPO partner than just being an external recruiter. Your Executive needs to understand the value additions. Your RPO partner will implement best practices, research your industry and needs, and provide an agile approach to recruitment that can adjust to your changing needs. In addition, they provide technology tools and insight to get better quality applicants, something you should quantify. The key here is to have the Executive understand that an RPO provides a long-term cultural enhancement to your organisation when compared to simple recruitment.
  • Diversity and CSR
    It’s no secret that today’s applicants are looking for more than a paycheck. They want to align with companies that display corporate social responsibility and have diversity in their workforce. An RPO partner can help you implement strategies to reduce cognitive hiring bias. They can also make recommendations to improve social programs and align with the new generation of applicants.

For your Executive to support your RPO partner, there must be alignment in the strategy between both parties. In addition, your RPO provider must demonstrate innovation and show an understanding of your market. Once demonstrated, your Executive should look at an RPO partner as an investment, not a cost, and continual reporting and achievement should cement this view over time.

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