The RPO movement in APAC

Simon Bradberry, Resource Solutions MD APAC, shares why organisations throughout Asia are starting to adopt RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) to support their recruitment needs

What is driving this RPO movement throughout Asia?
We have seen a real surge of interest in RPO in the first quarter of 2014, in particular with local organisations or multinationals based here in Asia. It feels like there is a new wave of interest in RPO solutions driven by a recent focus on talent acquisition, attraction strategies and the increasing importance of the candidate experience. Professionals based within HR and Talent functions are notoriously busy, many are seeing RPO first and foremost as an opportunity for them to focus on more strategic HR projects and work streams if elements of their recruitment is outsourced.

RPO offers a solution that typically places specialist recruiters on-site that sit alongside a client’s HR team. Knowing that there is a dedicated team that are skilled and constantly trained to manage the recruitment lifecycle whilst representing the organisations employer brand is seen as a real plus and there are an increasing number of success stories where organisations are eulogising about the benefits that they have seen from RPO and the ease with which the integration with HR has happened. I think that these success stories and increased comfort levels with external RPO providers partnering with HR are key factors in the recent surge of interest in RPO in Asia.
What types of tangible benefits are being delivered to HR and the wider business as a result?
Typically, there are 5 key benefits organisations can expect as a result of outsourcing to an RPO provider:

  1. Increased quality of hire and improved quality of service to candidates and the business
  2. Reduced time hire, as well as reducing the time commitment from HR and the business
  3. Improved flexibility of recruiter resource
  4. Reduced recruitment costs through increased process efficiency and greater success with low cost channels, and
  5. Reduced risk

I was at an event recently where there was a real buzz around RPO, particularly with Asian based organisations. Many HR professionals were interested in how RPO can offer them an opportunity to deliver more to their business and how an on-site model works in practice, working in partnership with the HR team. I believe it is benefits such as this that is creating this wave of interest, driving the RPO movement that we are seeing today.

What are your predictions and recommendations for the next 6 – 12 months?
As organisations continue to adopt RPO and strengthen their relationships with RPO providers, I predict that more comprehensive and strategic solutions will be delivered as a result. Larger RPO deals will be established, we will start to see the management of all permanent, temporary and contract recruitment, with solutions being rolled out to other countries that the organisation operates within.

There will also be a continued focus on HR technology in particular ATSs (applicant tracking systems), and how these can and should support the day to day running of recruitment, providing real-time data to the business, supporting not only the business case for RPO but how this is supporting HR improvements, but more importantly how HR is having a positive impact on the wider business as a result.

Typically, if organisations hire 100 permanent hires a year or more, or engage a population of 50 or more temp/contract workers, then I would encourage them to consider outsourcing. Deciding to partner with any RPO provider is a significant decision for any organisation. It is important that the solution is tailored to the organisation’s recruitment needs, that there is buy-in from the business and HR team as a whole and that the operating model is set up to flex with the needs of the organisation with the ability to report on key SLAs (service level agreements), providing real-time recruitment data and results for the business.

I believe if organisations continue to work with RPO providers through a true partnership model, organisations in Asia will continue to drive this RPO movement forward, benefiting their own organisation needs and requirements.

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