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Understanding RPO: What technology can RPO bring to your organisation?

By Shane Little, Managing Director APAC and ANZ, Hays Talent Solutions

The recruitment landscape is ever shifting for most organisations around the world, and doubly so in the dynamic and often complex labour markets across Asia. While Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is gaining traction as a long-term solution to hiring challenges in the region, unlike more mature markets like the U.K., U.S. and Australia, much ambiguity remains around its actual value proposition. In this series of blogs, I will both simplify and exemplify how RPO can help organisations strategically source the best talent for their company, build employer branding, enhance productivity and agility, and ultimately, provide a tangible return on investment by driving timely and cost-effective results.

In the first part of this blog series, I addressed the question I encounter most when speaking with clients based in Asia: How is RPO different from staff augmentation? In this second part, I will address the second most common question asked: What technologies can RPO partners provide along with their services?

Understanding what technology your organisation needs

There is no doubt that technological advancements and innovations are having a profound impact on business functions across industries, including HR and recruitment. In fact, the world of recruitment technology is moving so fast that many organisations consider it to be a ‘silver bullet’ that can overcome challenges and improve candidate experience during the recruitment process. But while it is true that businesses can essentially plug in a technology to automate most steps of the process, doing so wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems.

This is because before beginning a conversation with RPO providers on what tech stack they are using or what automation is included in their technology process, organisations need to first ask themselves a crucial question: What problem are we trying to solve?

Mandating technology without answering this question can easily lead to a complicated and costly path for organisations seeking RPO services or looking to deploy technology into their internal recruitment function. This is why we guide our clients here in APAC to first build a baseline understanding of their problem statement, allowing them to understand what they are trying to achieve, following which they can critically evaluate what technology they need from those available.

If you are part of an organisation currently or potentially seeking RPO services, here are five ways to start identifying and understanding the role technology needs to play in your journey.

1. Begin with asking why

The process of identifying technical needs begins with asking yourself or any involved users and stakeholders some questions around the recruitment process. This can be as basic as what is working well, what is not working well and what you would want to change. This simple exercise will still prove as a starting point that can help identify some key subject areas that technology could be the answer to.

2. Gather data from systems and users

Once subject areas have been established, there needs to be data to quantify and further investigate any challenges. This data can either be collected from existing tech systems, or it can be canvassed from key users of the recruitment process, such as hiring managers and recent joiners. Important areas to cover include time to hire, quality of hire, cost of hire, and the experience of the candidate and of the hiring manager. It is advised to run a few exploratory sessions with key users, as they can uncover issues that non-users don’t necessarily think about in the first instance.

3. Consider your organisations tech roadmap

Once the data and issues have been identified, the next question I would ask a client is: What is the technology roadmap or strategy for their organisation, broadly speaking? Are they trying to build a single ecosystem entirely within one framework like Oracle or SAP, or are they open to a variety of different technologies with, say, open APIs that integrate easily with each other? In addition to this, organisations should also know if they are looking for a technology that can be a part of their processes for the long term, or one that can solve a short-term problem.

4. Examine your current technology

It is vital that organisations be fully aware of the capabilities and complexities of their existing technologies before they seek new ones. For example, some organisations may be using a legacy applicant tracking system; while others could be managing their processes through Outlook and Excel. Those with legacy systems would first need to investigate if it is possible for them to shift their data from their existing platform to a new one.

5. Conduct security and compliance checks

Likewise, investing in a new technology needs to be prefaced by a security and compliance check. It is crucial to be aware of your organisation’s IT and data security requirements as it decides what technologies are even possible to implement in the first place. In addition to this, consider where data will need to be hosted, and what security restrictions and expectations your IT department would have around SAAS platforms in particular.

A surprising number of organisations do not stop to consider these five areas and are simply interested in recruitment technology because the market suggests it’s the right thing to do. But those who pause and consider all or some of the points above will be far better placed to ask and understand what technology RPO can bring to their organisation.

In my next blog, I will address an area that is crucial to understanding the true value of the RPO model: how to align talent acquisition with strategic sourcing.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences with, thoughts and comments on the role of technology when it comes to RPO services in Asia.

Have more questions about RPO? Visit our FAQ page or get in touch.

About this author

Having worked in the recruitment and staffing industry for 15 years, Shane has a track record of running successful staffing businesses across a variety of different sectors. Shane takes pride in his ability to identify and develop talent whilst at the same time creating lasting partnerships with his clients.

As Operations Director for ANZ and APAC at Hays Talent Solutions, Shane is responsible for the delivery of market leading Talent Solutions to a range of clients across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. This involves the leadership and development of talented sales, delivery and operational teams whilst maintaining senior client relationships. He has a unique insight into contingent workforce models having been involved in early stage PSL arrangements, first generation programmes and mature solutions looking to take the step into SOW management.


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