By Marissa Geist, CEO

As business leaders address the fluctuating economy, they’re looking for ways to be more operationally resilient and sustainable while better managing costs. This requires close collaboration among multiple functions, as well as digital and process innovation to transform the way work gets done. It also requires the best people – and partners – to design and deliver a winning strategy.

To do this, the best leaders in human resources, TA, and procurement are partnering to rethink how to acquire talent while reducing fixed costs. An important first step is to assess the effectiveness of your current TA model. Your operating model incorporates the people, processes and technology your organization uses to find, engage, attract, interview, select and hire candidates. This article and supplementary infographic will help you evaluate your talent acquisition model options.

Understand your business’ recruiting needs

Work with your HR and TA leaders to determine your organization’s recruiting needs based on business priorities and direction. Analyze trends in demand variability across functions, roles and geographies to identify opportunities to improve the flexibility of your TA model.

Does your TA function have enough flexibility or capacity to respond to business conditions or demands? To always win top talent, ensure your TA model can flex and adapt to the ever-changing talent environment.

4 dimensions for designing TA & recruitment transformation

Once you know where the intersection of expectation and possibility lies, you can start designing. Keep these four qualities in mind as you create a recruiting model that aligns with your needs and objectives:

  1. Build: A great option for elements that require an internal dedicated headcount for the foreseeable future, like your talent acquisition strategy or TA leadership. These fixed costs are usually slower to build and harder to take down if demand for talent decreases.

  2. Buy: This is typically for technology platforms like an ATS or CRM. Buying components offers capabilities and services to improve the efficiency and performance of your current structure.

  3. Partnering: To help you gain the capabilities that are too expensive, too slow or too inflexible to build internally – like executive search, contingent labor or total talent acquisition – seek a partner. For example. a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partner provides end-to-end recruiting, technology and expertise to replace or supplement the efforts of your internal TA function.

    Benefits from an RPO solution include reduced costs, superior candidate experience, stronger employer brand, new recruitment technology, improved hiring process, better alignment between your talent acquisition and business strategies, and more opportunity to flex services up or down according to business needs.

  4. Automation: In talent acquisition, automation is best applied to specific use cases. It’s not a short-term play. It requires months to map, build and perfect. Robotic process automation (RPA) can be a way to link data without integrations.

    Plus, in the long term, you can automate administrative tasks to eliminate errors and free up funds to invest in other capabilities. At Cielo, we use bots in our onboarding process to work alongside our onboarding agents to speed up new hire starts and add more scale outside of full-time headcount.

Turn plans into action

To source providers and solutions for the new TA model, first, play out how the model could go. What if the model fails? What’s the risk to the business, and can we absorb the potential impact?

Now, consider the upside. How’s the current model performing? Where’s it succeeding? Where’s it falling short? Where are the hidden or duplicate costs? What would we want to improve, and what does that improvement look like in terms of satisfaction, potential savings and business impact?

Measure talent acquisition transformation success

Equally important to the shift to the new model are the measures and success criteria. Change comes with challenges. Plan how you’ll gather stakeholder input, show success, and keep your efforts aligned with the business. Your efforts could be seen as different, but not necessarily better.

The business case is often the most under-thought part of the design and transformation. But it’s potentially the biggest key to success.

This isn’t a one-and-done framework. Setting a regular cadence to review and adapt keeps your program healthy and ensures stakeholders trust the TA model will keep the business on a leading path. Set this cadence and expectation as part of the initial program framework to ensure it happens.

When partnering with Cielo for RPO, continuous improvement and innovation are standard processes in our client partnerships.

Keeping the right mindset

Throughout the process of rethinking a TA model and sourcing providers necessary to support the new approach, consider your previous experience with transformations. The following questions can help you gauge the magnitude and necessity of a change:

  • What elements of your current TA model are built versus bought, partnered or automated?
  • How can recent economic challenges prompt you to think differently about that strategy?
  • Do you think the business demands and expectations of TA will continue to shift moving forward?
  • How can you align TA priorities with the business?
  • How much funding is available for TA changes?
  • Could a model change deliver cost savings without losing effectiveness?

Managing the change to a different TA model

To make the TA transition successful, you need ample mindshare and focus from key business stakeholders. You could have money to invest, but your organization may be in an operational transformation that eats up the change management resources and energy. The timeline and scope of needs should consider your current situation.

Understand how much change your organization or talent acquisition team can manage at one time. If your organization’s resistant to change or already in the middle of other change initiatives, you’ll need more time, planning and sponsorship to push through enhancing the current TA model.

The status quo isn't an option

No matter what challenges the economy and talent market bring, having the right talent acquisition model in place ensures you attract the shining talent you need. Rethinking your recruiting approach now will make that function more efficient, effective and resilient, strengthening your most important competitive advantage – your talent.


Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn.

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.


Talent is the key to every organization’s success. This whitepaper outlines the critical role procurement plays in building an effective talent strategy and explores how procurement can lead a successful RFP process for selecting a Recruitment Process...

View Whitepaper