MSD partnered with Cielo to provide a project RPO solution for c.300 hires for a business-critical new finance centre in the Czech Republic.

The Challenge
MSD is an innovative, global leader in healthcare, with an extensive presence in Europe. Recently, MSD decided to create a new Business Support Centre (BSC) in Prague, Czech Republic, to provide centralised support across all EMEA finance functions. The company therefore needed to attract around 300 new employees to a new location, with advanced proficiency required in eight European languages plus Arabic.

For this business-critical project, MSD turned to Cielo to provide a project RPO solution that would meet its hiring needs for the new Purchase to Pay, Order to Cash, Operational Excellence, Financial Planning & Analysis teams, and part of the Accounts to Report team.

MSD and Cielo therefore needed to work fast to ensure that the new BSC would be staffed and functional on time.

The Solution
Given the need for accelerated hiring, Cielo immediately put in place a recruitment process that was optimised for the urgent nature of the solution. Phone interviews were followed by a single face-to-face interview involving all decision-makers, creating a shortened yet still robust process.

Due to the crowded and highly competitive nature of the Czech jobs market, alongside a multi-channel attraction campaign, open days were organised in order to attract a high volume of candidates. This enabled hiring managers to meet candidates on the day, and also allowed candidates to experience the reality of working life at the BSC, reducing time to hire. An optimised offer process was also put in place to reduce offer rejection.

The strong existing referral programme was further promoted internally, allowing Cielo to bring in known candidates already recommended by the business. Hiring manager training workshops on the power of personal networks, with managers encouraged to reach out to previous employees, embedding the mantra that “the best talent is the talent you have already worked with.”

With Cielo’s WE BECOME YOU™ philosophy fully embedded in the partnership, an excellent relationship was forged on-site with MSD, and that presence and alignment fostered an in-depth understanding of MSD’s present and future hiring needs. Using our local market knowledge, Cielo created talent pipelines for roles and language skills that would be required in future phases of the project.

The Results
The MSD Business Support Centre is now known in the market as the fastest-growing Shared Services Centre in the Czech Republic. When the Cielo team began work in February 2017, the project was four months and almost 80 hires behind its targets due to a delayed kickoff. By November 2017, we were only 20 hires behind schedule, and had gotten completely back on track – even ahead of our target – by January 2018.

The strong referral program that was promoted internally ended up accounting for 40% of our hires. The programme also led to a very good interview-to-offer ratio (almost 1:1), and the optimised offer process led to an offer rejection rate of less than 10%. Combined with the shortened recruitment process, open days and referral scheme, time-to-hire was only 35 days.

Although the original requirement was to recruit staff with advanced proficiency in one (or more) of eight European languages plus Arabic, the MSD BSC is now home to over 30 different nationalities, with 35 unique languages spoken.

Despite the high attrition levels often seen in SSCs, only four of 252 hires have left (1.7%) in the year since the project began – an excellent marker of quality of hire. As the project moves towards a highly successful completion, Cielo is now also creating promotional material for a marketing project that includes video testimonials of some recent hires, which will help MSD continue to attract the best talent possible at their new location well into the future.