HR Service Delivery - including Talent Acquisition (TA) - has long used a variety of models, from internal centralized or de-centralized to internal shared services, outsourced partners, offshoring and a hybrid mix of some or all of the above. We have seen massive shifts in the way HR functions operate and deliver services to their organizations due to the pandemic. HR leaders had to turn their attention from talent acquisition to crisis management and communications, hiring freezes and adjusting to the new normal. As CHROs and Talent Acquisition leaders continue to manage through change, the structure of TA functions must be reevaluated to ensure they’re set to continue delivering strategic talent and results to the business. This is a unique opportunity to reset and rethink how your organization accomplishes TA and consider how your TA structure can support short-term initiatives – or transform for long-term success.

What’s the best talent acquisition model?

Finding the right approach for talent acquisition is much less about “in-house” or “outsourced” and more about answering the question: “What is the best way to deliver a modern and effective experience to our candidates and internal stakeholders?” And do so within budget constraints, allowing the organization to deliver on its strategic and operating plans. We have experienced an accelerated rate of change in talent markets and the way people work. Considering continued technological innovation and the global environment of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, flexibility is key for your TA model to shift in response to external changes.

Developing a world-class function is extraordinarily complex and gets more complicated every year.

  • Temporary and permanent changes to how and where work gets done – How will our workforce look moving forward? Does our way of work match the preferences of our current and future talent?
  • Hiring demand fluctuations, often with little warning – How can we be equipped to scale up and down our recruiting as needed?
  • Hundreds of HR technology tools in the market, and growing – What capabilities do we need? Which solutions make sense for us to invest in? How do we optimize each tool?
  • Regulation and compliance – Are we keeping up with local, state and federal employment law changes?
  • Marketing and Attraction – How do we connect with the talent we need?
  • Reporting & Analytics – Are we doing a good job hiring the talent our business needs? How can we be more effective?

Understanding the unique needs of your organization, hiring managers and your candidates will help inform your decision-making around the structure of your TA function.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Internal TA

Internal TA teams play a key role in shaping their organizations’ future workforce. In-house teams provide expertise on talent trends, talent management, workforce planning and retention. But organizations often struggle to invest in TA and HR to support the growing number of resources required to keep up with the rate of change. With continued advancements in technology and analytics capabilities and HR technology, some organizations have gained greater confidence in their ability to deliver all aspects of talent acquisition in-house through increased investment. The limiting factor, however, is that technology changes rapidly. Internal teams often struggle to keep up with the evolving tech and the expertise required to maximize it. Plus, complex recruiting challenges can’t be solved with a point solution offering a “silver bullet.” Many organizations fail to experience the advertised benefits, leading to a growing graveyard of underutilized or abandoned HR technology.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) also is an aspect of TA operations to be evaluated. Business leaders need to determine how they want their future workforce to look and how they can attract, engage, hire and retain a pool of diverse talent. Establishing a strong strategy for DEI is important, but turning strategy into operational reality is where many in-house TA teams struggle. In-house teams often lack the resources and bandwidth needed to make significant, tangible process in this area.

Operational agility – the ability to flex and scale with hiring demands – is the biggest current challenge for internal TA teams. It’s difficult to predict broad patterns and trends in the talent market, even as many industries and organizations begin recovery. It’s even tougher for employers and internal TA teams to predict what roles they will need to fill, when they will need to fill them and how many positions. TA teams need to be equipped to scale up quickly and cost effectively, on demand.

Given the unique situations for every business, organizations would be smart to focus internal know-how on providing strategic direction. Internal TA is well equipped to set the direction, and external providers can help add scale as the demand for recruiting resources changes. As organizations determine the best structure for their TA function and the investments required, they should base decisions on gaining the greatest business impact for every recruiting dollar spent.

The Power of External Talent Acquisition Partners

Global talent leaders across industries turn to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) providers to gain expertise and cost efficiencies. RPO providers work with clients to recruit more effectively, while assuming accountability for results. The pandemic further reinforced the benefit of outsourcing aspects of recruiting to build a flexible and scalable talent acquisition function.

Organizations who outsource in full, or in a hybrid model, benefit from a trusted partner who helps manage the complexity of TA operations and navigate the constantly changing technology ecosystem, regulatory environments and dynamic talent markets. And with the uncertainty surrounding talent markets and long-term talent needs in many industries – external partners allow the flexibility to scale resources and investments up and down as needed.

Working with the right RPO partner can allow TA leaders to manage the many continued changes, as well as the evolving expectations of stakeholders. The partner provides an expanded knowledge base from the experience of working with many clients, while also allowing organizations to leverage their own internal resources to deliver on business strategy and priorities. An RPO partner always remains available to scale up or down the recruiting team to support what’s needed at any given time. Driving innovation and providing scalability, RPO can help TA teams with the people, process and technology to deliver great candidate and hiring manager experiences and achieve better recruiting outcomes.

Strategic TA leaders are reconfiguring their functions to deliver flexibility, quality and measurable value for the business. A Recruitment Process Outsourcing partnership offers the control and transparency needed to create better candidate and hiring manager experiences. The result? A sustainable, competitive TA function that’s ready for anything.

In-house Recruiting vs. Outsourcing: What to Consider

Creating a successful TA model relies on the right planning and a collaborative approach. Outside partners can provide the guidance needed to make your model work. Cielo depends on years of experience to provide insights into designing the best solution for any individual situation. And figuring out which model makes the most sense for you requires identifying your success factors and what you need your model to achieve. From there, you can assess your current capabilities – and figure out what might be missing.

When you know what you lack and what TA improvements are most important for your business, you can create a future roadmap. A detailed implementation plan will shortcut your road to effectiveness, with a thorough business case for the changes and a change-management plan. Bridging the gap between your ambitions and the right plan to accomplish them will accelerate your team’s ability to achieve business goals faster.

An Effective, Inclusive Future

Ultimately, you need to control your recruiting. You need to champion your organization’s vision for a successful bounce back and an equal, inclusive and diverse future for all candidates and employees. But this doesn’t necessarily mean keeping or bringing back every aspect of recruiting in-house. Taking back control means taking the steps to think differently about your organizational design. It means finding the right resources – internal and external – that will support and enable your process and lead to better outcomes.


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