The labor market challenges of today, an evolving technology landscape, and a broader desire to rethink talent acquisition are driving many people leaders to consider a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnership. An external TA expert can deliver significant value, allowing your company to fill positions faster, with higher-quality candidates, while providing remarkable candidate experiences and an efficient hiring process.

But like any transformational effort, it requires collaboration, transparency, commitment and most importantly, time. An RPO implementation should balance the need to get results quickly while also creating a sustainable program that solves long-term business goals.

While this may require a longer timeline, a good provider is willing to take the time to get it right. Here are five reasons why RPO implementations may take longer than expected.

5 important steps of a successful RPO implementation graphic

Surveying People and Discovery 

Because internal TA teams wear many different hats at their company, they may not have the time to critically assess their existing processes to form a baseline understanding of what needs to change and how. An RPO partner will often conduct a “discovery phase” to better understand the employer’s challenges and opportunities as well as the best plan to move forward with.

During the early stages of an implementation, your transition team will identify and speak to various stakeholders across the business and hold advisory sessions to unpack current nuances of hiring, including existing resources and constraints. The team will also collect and document historical TA data and current TA processes to identify areas for improvement. This may include a full review of the current applicant tracking system (ATS) as well.

Your partner will also examine the scope of the project or business, type of solution being deployed, and general business climate to put together a proper implementation plan.

Obtaining Organizational Buy-in 

RPO is not for quick fixes or one-off hires. Your provider goes all-in with you to transform the TA function in ways that will return long-term sustainable benefits. However, at the onset of a partnership, leaders may have competing priorities or a resistance to change due to previously unsuccessful initiatives. 

Collecting information during the discovery phase allows your provider to address these corporate and social barriers to change and better explain what solutions need to be put in place and why to win the collaboration of key stakeholders.

Once they’ve achieved broader buy-in, an RPO partner will help the company:

  • form a shared vision across all stakeholders based on what they want to achieve 
  • set expectations on who may be impacted by changes 
  • define realistic, measurable, achievable, and relevant parameters for success 

At this point, your provider will also present and seek approval on a complete plan of the partnership parameters and service expectations. Your team will also look to redesign any processes which may make recruiting more efficient and effective, including employer branding and advertising.

Training and Collaborating with In-house Teams 

Internal TA and HR teams play a valuable role in an RPO partnership, but they need the time, resources and training to adapt to new processes and potentially, changing job duties. 

RPO partners learn about a company’s culture to develop the right narratives and put the messaging in place to get teams on board as “change champions.” These team members must understand how they may benefit and why they should commit to the common goal. Often, providers will need to address any negative feedback loops, explaining to stakeholders why certain processes may not be the most effective or need to change.

Your provider can also provide the specific training needed to ensure hiring manager and recruiter adoption and acceptance of new technologies and processes, sometimes offering incentives to encourage participation. These trainings may vary by region or division.

Working with IT and Managing Technology Integrations

Having the right technology systems in place is essential to track the success of an RPO project and keep stakeholders happy. However, because many companies lack the funding and resources to invest in tech, it can take time for a new provider to tailor and deploy fully integrated technology infrastructure that delivers on efficiency, usability, candidate experience, and reporting capabilities. 

Your RPO team will spend time reviewing and optimizing existing technology solutions. In many cases, they may need to work with third-party tech vendors to add new capabilities necessary for positive TA outcomes, including solutions that account for not only recruiters and hiring managers but also the candidate experience.

While there’s plenty of new, exciting technology in the market, choosing the right solutions requires a thorough analysis of your company’s current and future needs. Adding new solutions to your existing ecosystem will also require more testing stages and training sessions for any end users.

Ensuring Lasting Change 

Although it’s exciting to see an implementation through to completion, there are still steps an RPO partner must take to ensure that these worthwhile changes to their talent acquisition process are sustainable in the long term. 

During the stabilization phase, an RPO partner will seek to troubleshoot any issues or roadblocks that occurred during launch. They will also conduct continued team trainings to encourage compliance with new processes and tools. Asking for feedback from internal TA teams and end-users of new technologies to see what is working effectively will help make sure none of these stakeholders revert to old processes. 

Your provider will also track key TA metrics, along with user adoption, to understand program successes and opportunities for improvement as the company and its TA function mature. 

At the heart of every RPO partnership are humans. The right provider will spend the time and resources to earn trust and form fruitful working relationships with their client partners, creating a strong talent acquisition function that delivers long-term results. 

From market planning and candidate generation to technology adoption and data analytics, we can help you get the most from every aspect of your talent acquisition strategy.