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Is RPO the future of recruitment?

5 February 2016

Even with advanced technology, a job is only ever as good as the people who work on it. Over the past decade, the Facilities Management (FM) sector has seen significant changes to business models and service delivery, making better recruitment a lot more competitive, difficult and quite frankly, necessary. From construction to healthcare, education to engineering, the FM sector covers a spectrum of industries, each demanding their own criteria.

Jarrod Mollison, Business Solutions Director at Datum RPO, looks at the cost of getting recruitment wrong and how Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can help within the Facilities Management (FM) sector.

According to the UK Facilities Management Market Development Report published by Market & Customer Insight (MCi), the FM market is predicted to rise from £10.7bn to £117bn by 2017. As it grows, so does the importance of getting recruitment right or wrong. Therefore, companies justifiably want and expect the best every time.

Anyone responsible for fulfilling FM contracts will understand that the cost of labour is the largest expenditure for businesses after premises or capital equipment, since it is generally the core to service delivery. Most of these labourers include temporary workers such as those on fixed period contracts, agency temping, casual work, seasonal work, and other temporary work. According to a report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), since the recession in 2008 to 2014, the number of full-time workers has risen by 0.3 per cent (19 million), whereas the number of temporary workers has risen by 20 per cent (1.7 million). Furthermore, a TUC analysis showed that over a two year period between December 2010 and December 2012, nearly half (46 per cent) of all new jobs created were for temporary workers.

As a result, cost climbs to the top of the priority list as managing this is crucial and can spell the difference between profit and loss on a contract. Considering that most FM contracts require the recruitment of large numbers for a short period instantly, it becomes clear how quickly the costs per recruitment stack up. For temporary workers, there is the additional element around the time it takes to find, assess and initiate new employees on projects, especially if they then have to be replaced. And as we all know, time is money.

Quite simply, it is vital for any business to get recruitment right. This means that the process should not only be followed correctly, but also it should be done well. One solution to this is a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider, which can reduce costs by streamlining the recruitment process and find better candidates in less time. This is especially useful in a FM market dictated by efficiency and the need for a skilled and temporary workforce; and any service that saves a company time and money is worth exploring.

RPO is a recruitment service that offers an alternative to the traditional methods provided by agencies or in-house. It is the process whereby a company transfers all, or parts of, its recruitment process to an external provider. It has become a popular solution over the past decade; it is the progeny of what was known as human resource outsourcing and aims to provide a solution to the cost of a corporation’s staffing needs. As the name suggests, RPO is the partnership agreement between a company with recruiting needs (RPO buyer) and a company with recruiting services (RPO provider).

The service offering of an RPO provider differs greatly based on who provides it. In some cases, the service provider will offer an end-to-end solution and take on a client’s entire recruiting function. In other cases, the RPO provider will propose specific services or supplement the recruitment chain already offered in-house. This can include candidate research, auditing, process mapping, technology consulting training and compliance.

In essence, RPO providers govern the recruitment process and thereby are accountable for its results. However, RPO is not about delegating recruitment responsibilities to someone else and should not be considered a one-time fix. If the recruitment process is flawed within an organisation internally, hiring an RPO service will not solve this forever.

The bottom line is that getting recruitment wrong is not an option. Any business operating in today’s challenging and ever-changing FM environment will need to plan ahead and design scalable solutions that deliver cost-savings and help the business invest in future talent.

However, cost is not the only factor in recruiting for the FM marketplace. Each member of a team carries with them the reputation of both the company they work for and the recruitment service that put them there. Being part of a team means that it only takes one member to obstruct productivity. A well-skilled demotivated team is no better than a badly skilled motivated team.

Some organisations have still not come to grips with paying for such a service, remaining comfortable with the status quo of taking on all supervision and hiring responsibilities in-house. But with the increasing pace of the facilities management sector, and in particular the turnaround of temporary workers, a recruitment process outsourcing service that is aware of market fluctuations, centralised rates, quality control and IT infrastructure can help keep companies ahead of the game.

The requirement for workers will never change. Recruitment for any business is an investment – and the business needs to make sure that they are making a profitable return.

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