Avoiding the Headaches of RPO Transition Management

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Business process outsourcing, forecasted to become a $280.7 billion industry by 2017, is a strategic approach that continues to gain traction thanks to its ability to cut costs and improve operating efficiencies. Still, the idea of "outsourcing" can stir fear within an organization. It's true of business process outsourcing generally, and as we know well, it's also true of RPO.

When a company begins working with a new RPO provider, it's not uncommon for both executives and talent acquisition staff to be a touch trepidatious about the initiative, each for their own reasons. To ensure a smooth transition to RPO, it's important to recognize and address the concerns of both groups. At Seven Step, we consider ourselves as experts in the execution of smooth, nerve-calming RPO transitions. And the most important thing we've learned about effective transition management? It's that everyone involved in the initiative, both provider and client, has to feel themselves both a stakeholder and a partner in the transition process.

Below are a few additional tips we’ve picked up along the way.

Educate your RPO provider on company policy and culture

An RPO team's ability to succeed on your behalf depends on the development of an effective partnership between the RPO recruiters and your internal talent acquisition staff. Oftentimes, developing this sense of partnership can seem like an uphill battle. Internal staff is likely to view a team of outside recruiters as interlopers at first. And let's face it, change can be scary. Worse, fear can breed negativity within your organization.

So, here's the secret to getting past what may seem to be a deck that's been stacked against RPO transition success. Make sure that the "adjustment burden" falls more on the RPO than on your internal staff. A good RPO will make every effort approach and absorb your unique culture and ways, rather than the other way around. You can help by arming the new RPO with both the hard facts of your company policies and the softer elements of your company culture. The more cultural knowledge you can impart, the better.

Also, help your RPO identify the top influencers within your organization – they may be found outside of the C-suite – so they can find common ground with your larger employee base as well. A smooth transition is built on trust, so these first steps can prove crucial to your RPO partner’s – and your initiative's! – success.

Live outside the bubble

The dreaded bubble. Every company has it in some form or another. The bubble refers to the natural way things are done at a company. Bubbles often evolve over time and can make it difficult for employees to move away from their comfort zones. You know a bubble exists when employees are asked why they do something a certain way and respond with, “well that’s how it’s always been done.”

It’s the role of your RPO team as outside experts to impartially judge the current state of operations and introduce new ideas and processes. This unique vantage point allows them to see both good and not-so-good areas that are not as evident to employees. Make sure employees are prepared for some changes to the way they’ve conducted business in the past.

Technology matters

Do not underestimate the hurdle of integrating your RPO provider with your technology. Handing over full access to email and the servers almost always takes longer than expected. Be prepared for this by knowing the lay of your technological landscape on day one.

These are just a few tips for ensuring a smooth RPO transition. Please share with us any other tips you may have below in the comments.


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