While in the US it’s been common for RPOs to work in a partnership with internal talent teams, in Europe oftentimes companies had either fully outsourced recruitment, or worked exclusively with their own in-house teams. This has been changing, Sweeney says. “I think one of the growing areas across Europe is internal teams using RPO as strategic partners. Organisations build an internal function that can manage fifty percent of what they see as business as usual, and then they bring in a partner for the rest. Across Europe we’re seeing this happen much more often.”
“It’s about tapping into the knowledge, capability and insights from a partner that has tools that you may not want to invest in, as well as the ability to scale those tools.”
This is as much about the ability to scale up as it is about technology, Sweeney explains. “For us it’s easier to redistribute some of our resources for a short-term project within the context of a broader solution partnership than it is for organisations to do themselves. But it’s also about tapping into the knowledge, capability and insights from a partner that has tools that you may not want to invest in, as well as the ability to scale those tools. Doing that with a partner is just easier.”
Pandemic accelerating trends in TA
The pandemic has accelerated these trends in different ways. Many companies are seeing a surge in applications from people that have lost jobs or are on benefits while organisations themselves often have to increase hiring after a temporary freeze. “They don’t have the infrastructure to support that”, Sweeney says. “They have neither the people nor the technology. What we’ve seen so far this year is a huge upswing in the amount of consultancy projects that we’ve been requested to support organisations on.”
“You can go and find that talent anywhere, but you need the right tools to understand where that might be.”
On top of that, working from home is changing the talent pool. Geographical limits that would hamper talent sourcing in the past have rapidly melted away. To take advantage of this development requires specialised knowledge and tooling, says Sweeney. “Talent is now available wherever for whoever wants to go and find it. You are no longer limited to a small number of cities in which you have a physical presence, you can go and find that talent anywhere, but you need the right tools to understand where that might be.”
‘Not everyone can have a specialist in-house’
RPO-providers can help out to accomplish this. WilsonHCG has invested heavily in innovation teams that have expertise with the many technologies in the marketplace. Sweeney adds that this goes beyond just the implementation.
“As internal functions have got smaller, the ability to have the luxury of a specialist who knows the area has become far more challenging.”
“When I think about the capability that’s needed internally to manage that effectively, it’s not just understanding how those technologies work, it is about how do those technologies actually mesh together”, he says. “And again, as internal functions have got smaller, the ability to have the luxury of a specialist who knows the area has become far more challenging.”
RPO: a growing capability
Ultimately, organisations will have many different reasons for working with an RPO provider. For some it’s about scale, for others about the capabilities, Sweeney concludes. “Or it’s about just not seeing themselves as experts when it comes to hiring because their specialism is their own market.”
“They would rather focus on their own business and have somebody come in whose business it is to do hiring really well, and build that function for them. I think the trend in Europe reflects what we are seeing everywhere and that is that RPO is definitely a growing capability.”
Bio: Craig Sweeney – SVP Global Strategic Talent Solutions at WilsonHCG
Craig Sweeney is Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Talent Solutions, at WilsonHCG. He leads new client development across North America, as well as the EMEA, APAC and LATAM regions. Since joining WilsonHCG, Sweeney has been instrumental in the company’s international growth, ensuring the global solutions WilsonHCG delivers are tailored to the needs of each region. He spends a lot of time consulting with clients and works alongside his team of regional leaders and global subject matter experts to develop innovative talent solutions to ensure customers have diverse and passionate people to support their business goals.
This interview is part of a series of interviews our reporter Djaja Ottenhof has recently conducted about the value of the RPO market in Europe in 2021. Sign up for the ToTalent Newsletter to receive the full white paper The Value of RPO in Europe 2021: How RPO expands in an emerging market upon release.