Matthew Vowls, Vice President, Sevenstep

Rising Expectations for Outsourced Talent Solutions in EMEA

How Should an RPO or MSP Provider Address the Workforce Challenges You Face Right Now?

Mixed economic signals put more pressure than ever on HR and procurement to become agile in securing workers. Consider recent findings among UK and EMEA businesses:

Ignoring today's workforce realities can result in extended vacancies, poor quality talent and unmet business goals. That is why companies look to their RPO and MSP solutions for much more than basic recruiting or contingent labour management. Beyond filling roles and managing assignments and suppliers, an effective RPO or MSP partner enables companies to do what is needed to position for both near- and long-term talent success.

What exactly does positioning for success mean? To help answer the question, we compiled the following priorities, along with how those priorities translate into expectations for a provider relationship that delivers long-term value. These expectations are more than a push to keep companies ahead; they are the basic demands, or table stakes, in a competitive market where high-value talent is in limited supply.

Priority 1: See Ahead

Steering a workforce strategy requires a talent function that sees the path forward. Data about the current workforce supply and program performance is a starting point. But real visibility means pinpointing issues, gaining actionable intelligence and making informed decisions. And next-level visibility means seeing how a decision will influence a future outcome in detail, and it is a capability now within reach.

The Expectations
Simple reporting against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will not tell you where you should recruit, how much you should pay, or how to improve hiring speed and quality of talent. The value of workforce data is brought to bear through detailed intelligence combined with human expertise and predictive analytics that connect actions to future outcomes.

  • Provide intelligence, not just data. A highly adaptable data and analytics platform should be a central resource in a solutions provider's arsenal for driving change, setting strategy and steering processes. Innovation in analytics technology makes the difference between drowning in numbers and identifying the best actions for the desired outcome.
  • Stop order-taking. Start advising. The best data brings no value unless it influences action, and ultimately an expert advisor cultivates the trust needed to drive change. If an RPO or MSP simply takes orders without offering data-driven guidance, the client is missing a vital ingredient for steering its workforce strategy through evolving challenges.

Priority 2: Act Quickly

A 2022 Sevenstep and HRO Today report found that 69% of decision-makers believe their TA function focuses primarily on short-term projects, but only 7% rate their ability to react to changing business conditions as excellent. Whether scaling to meet demand, targeting new skills or locations, or mapping out a new market, companies must accomplish goals quickly. As a result, initiatives that used to span multiple quarters or years now take months or weeks.

The Expectations
An agile and responsive workforce function requires more than a back bench of recruiting or MSP staff; it requires a solution partner that quickly delivers against desired business outcomes. The provider may be asked to expand support for technology, boost employer branding, shift focus between contractors and permanent hires, or address any number of new demands. Delivering results requires the capabilities, resources and process to act quickly.

  • Bring an extended, client-ready capability set. A solution must provide resources and capabilities positioned to deploy on demand and deliver on specific needs. Resources must be more than simply larger numbers of people; they must be people trained in the fields, skills and talent types being sought. Capabilities must be more than just add-on services; they must be expert allies that quickly adapt to be an extension of a company's in-house function.
  • Apply a process that quickly adjusts and delivers. Training, infrastructure, culture and experience contribute to an agile RPO or MSP. Simply referring a client to a channel partner does not make the provider a valuable enabler of new services. Always consider the readiness of the solution provider to transition and adjust.

Priority 3: Make an Impact

Many value opportunities are missed if a workforce partner cannot connect performance to business impact. Whether it is staffing a new location or department, launching a project, expanding an organisation's capability or building on a diversity initiative, focusing on the impact makes the difference in building support.

The Expectations
A talent partner provides clients with the data to report meaningful results to organisational leaders. That information should highlight the positives, problem areas and opportunities, along with an actionable path to better outcomes for critical TA and workforce demands.

  • Move from HR goals to business goals. In the past, many RPOs and MSPs focused only on time-to-fill, numbers of interviews, ageing requisitions, quit rates, supplier performance and other engagement metrics. A strategic talent partner should take those goals further. For example, hiring a role quickly may indicate solid performance, but identifying a way to limit the hiring need by reducing turnover is a path of business impact.
  • Sustain buy-in from stakeholders. The solutions partner has a role in telling the story, conveying the progress and pointing out the issues associated with the organisation's workforce strategy. Wins in the form of on-time milestones and goal achievement are essential. And the negative has a place, too. Are there gaps in the workforce strategy or conditions that could limit access to talent? The provider should help the client bring them to light and overcome them. Vision, honesty and problem-solving are critical to building trust and support.

Learn, Adapt and Win

If your workforce function does not realise its full potential, now may be a good time to revisit your strategy for engaging a solutions provider. The market is highly fluid, and the provider landscape offers an extensive array of provider choices.

The priorities outlined here can help with assessing new options or re-setting relationships with current providers. Both are viable paths to a better workforce function, whether that includes talent acquisition, contingent and flexible workforce management, or all worker types in a total talent strategy.

The right solutions partner will give the client organisation the intelligence and resources to take in current conditions, make changes, and achieve and measure success. Learn, adapt, and win – it is not a simple formula for success but a priority that every competitive business should embrace.

Take Control of Your Workforce Challenges Rising to today’s workforce challenges requires vision, expertise, technology and resources to forge a path to the talent you need. We can help.

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