Do you know your RPPs from your RPO?
The latter is a well-established acronym in the recruitment world. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is just what it sounds like – the outsourcing of some or all of an organisation’s recruitment processes to a third party. So, rather than contacting a new recruitment consultant or fielding their cold calls every time a new hiring requirement comes up, an organisation with an RPO agreement in place simply contacts their preferred supplier and lets them handle it from there.
Sounds convenient, right? While there are multiple advantages to an RPO approach, it’s not always plain sailing.
Recent news has highlighted how process outsourcing can lead to a dangerous loss of control. The damage caused by the collapse of Carillion underlines how risky it can be to hand over management of a particular function to a third party.
Similar dynamics can be at play with RPOs because the customer/supplier relationship is not as close as it could be. Not only does this mean that issues can go unnoticed for too long, but it also limits the recruiter’s in-depth knowledge of the hiring business’s culture and goal. Without this, the recruitment provider may not be as effective as an in-house hiring function. They may struggle to find people with the right cultural and personality fit or to make strategic recommendations regarding a long-term workforce growth strategy. And while an RPO deal will usually have service level agreements (SLAs) attached, these are typically tied simply to filling roles in a certain amount of time, rather than having them sensibly aligned to business goals and objectives.
This is the background that has fuelled our vision for Recruitment Process Partnerships, or RPPs. These deals are much more focused on turning a recruitment provider into an extension of the hiring business’s own team. Agreed for an extended period at a time, usually over a year, they make the recruitment agency an integral part of both day-to-day operations and long-term business goals.
Three main models of RPP are available, with myriad iterations between them. This is, above all, a flexible and bespoke approach to recruitment which enables even relatively small organisations to take advantage of recruiters’ specialist experience and resources, in a highly tailored way.
Nevertheless, RPPs aren’t right for every business, and not every organisation that enters into one makes a success of it. To really benefit from an RPP deal, it’s vital to choose the right provider, and to go into the process knowing exactly what you require – and what is required of you.