How the HR and RPO Service Provider Can Build a Strong Working Relationship

How to get your RPO service provider and HR on the same team

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford, American Industrialist

As a company entering into a partnership with an RPO service provider for the first time, your HR team and RPO partner must have a solid working relationship from the get-go. Handing a large part or the entirety of your recruitment operations to an outsourced entity can be a daunting move. Companies might choose to undertake RPO services for several reasons. However, no matter the reasoning, the result is often the same, i.e., change. This can be difficult at times. You might be afraid that you may lose control.

Having said that, being cautious of change is nothing out of the ordinary; it’s human nature. The foundation of this relationship will determine how well the partnership functions and to what degree it flourishes. To help you overcome some of the more common obstacles, here are our top five tips for building a strong working relationship between your HR team and the RPO service provider.

1) Communication between the HR and RPO Lays the Foundation

Communication is the cornerstone of any RPO partnership, even before you sign the contract. The first thing you want to do is gauge if you are indeed working with the right RPO service provider. Hence, it is always a good idea to start things off with a list of concerns that you would like addressed. The ability of the Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm to address this will tell you all you need to know.

This precedent also applies to the relationship between the RPO service provider and the internal HR team. Put some thought into how you want present and future communications to happen between the two. While email and phone calls are standard, in-person meetings are also necessary regularly. It plays an important role in the reconnection efforts and reminds all parties of the people on the other side of that email. Establishing the initial mandate for communication sets the tone, ensuring that the RPO partner is available at a moment’s notice. This is crucial in urgent situations.

Getting both the HR and the RPO partner on the same page can be a tricky process, but manageable with a little planning.

Get the RPO service provider and HR working together

2) Commit to the RPO Way

One reason that companies take up RPO services is due to their expert ability to navigate the recruitment space. They are hired for their skills and processes. So, once you have partnered with an outsourcing agency, make sure that all your teams, including your HR, commit to the same. It is important to maintain consistency, especially when it is a new process. This will help prevent the introduction of confusion during the recruitment process.

It not only ensures that everyone is on the same page but also makes sure that your company is following the most streamlined approach possible. In the long run, this is exactly what you want to happen. While it may be hard to resist falling back on the old ways, try to keep the HR team from doing that to ensure the harmony of processes.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford, American Industrialist

3) Governance Is Needed Between HR and RPO

Now to continue somewhat along the same lines as the previous point, we need to address the issues that can arise with sudden change. The problem with initiating change is it can compartmentalize internal teams and cause them to work in silos. A good workaround for all this is having in place a detailed governance model, which can help introduce said change in manageable degrees.

A basic governance model will help determine the appropriate level of communication, what is discussed, meetings, and responsibilities. Such a document can also help establish a solid degree of accountability and keep both the HR and RPO partner on the same page. Think of it as a reference or guide that walks your business through the step-by-step changes that are to come.

Set realistic goals for the RPO service provider

Make sure that no matter what you aim for, that it is achievable.

4) Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Few things are as disruptive to a business partnership as clashing expectations. To get your RPO service provider and HR team on the same page, set goals and benchmarks for both sides. However, when you are setting these KPIs, deliverables and metrics of measure, make sure that they are realistic.

After you launch the partnership and get into the swing of things, you can use feedback from candidates and clients, as well as reports from the HR and other internal teams to see how effectively these goals are being met. It will also show you where you need to make corrections to keep parameters realistic.

5) See Your RPO Provider as a True Partner

Once all the communication, documents and metrics are in place, it is time to launch the partnership. Keep in mind that things will only work out so long as you view your RPO service provider as a true business partner, instead of just another vendor. They are an extension of your HR team. Instilling this mindset from the beginning can help shape the foundation for the relationship between the RPO service provider and the HR personnel. Having said that, you need to understand that building such a relationship takes time, regardless of how long or in-depth you planned.

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