Recent global economic developments are seriously disrupting organizational goals and ambitions across the board — especially as resources shrink. Many employers are using this period of adversity as an opportunity to reflect on how they can transform their workforces to be more agile, do more with less and ensure they are fit for the future.
Without the right people in place to power their business, organizations can lose their competitive advantage and fall behind quickly. However, when budgets tighten, talent acquisition (TA) staff and recruiters are among the first roles to be made redundant — and this most recent cycle is no exception. According to research from the Randstad Enterprise Global Business Insights team, nearly one third of the all laid-off employees in 2022-2023 are from HR and Talent Sourcing departments.
In the short-term, downsizing the recruiting team may make sense. But without the right talent acquisition expertise available when they need it, employers will suffer in the long run. When it comes time to ramp back up to support shifting business priorities, they will be slow to rehire, on-board and re-train new talent, as their competitors hit the ground running. This concern is real — and it is far reaching. In fact, according to our 2023 Talent Trends Report, 1 in 4 respondents believe that making staffing cuts will put them behind their competitors in terms of profitability.
As the economy continues to throw curveballs, the ability to adjust and adapt at any given moment is crucial. Without an agile recruiting infrastructure, many businesses find themselves stuck in a never-ending loop of hiring and laying off in-house recruiters to keep up with hiring demands. As a result, many are waking up to the reality that agility is not a nice-to-have, it’s essential. In fact, 77% of respondents from the Talent Trends research say they plan to focus on workforce agility in the coming year — up 11 points from 66% last year.
With all the various constraints at play, how can businesses keep up with rapid shifts, manage cost effectively, and still maintain their competitive advantage? The answer lies in outsourcing talent acquisition. By outsourcing some or all of their talent acquisition functions, employers will be poised to build, nurture and deliver an agile workforce that addresses today’s needs while positioning the business for sustainable success for the future — even during times of uncertainty.
Here are five critical business advantages of outsourcing talent acquisition in an uncertain economy:
1. deliver a positive talent experience with a talent-centric approach
Forty-two percent (42%) of talent surveyed in the Randstad Workmonitor 2023 report say they would not work for a business whose values don’t align with theirs. And according to a report published by Forrester Research, talent-centric organizations are expected to generate 32% more revenue than traditional organizations over a five-year period. In other words, a focus on the employee still matters. With digital talent still in high demand, it’s critical for employers to understand what matters most to the people their businesses need to remain competitive in a challenging market.
While more employers are considering their people’s needs, wants and motivations, fully adopting a talent-centric approach requires an unwavering commitment to workers as individuals, regardless of level, function or employment type. They need to understand how to address the gaps between the talent they need and the talent they have — all while attracting, engaging, developing and retaining employees at the individual, team and organizational level.
Outsourcing talent acquisition can give your organization access to a host of resources that help the organization focus squarely on talent and their experiences. Drawing on global experience, local expertise, external market data and talent marketing expertise, your talent solution partner will readily understand what your target talent expects, what matters most to them when it comes to employment and which channels will reach them.
Along the talent life cycle, a partner may also offer additional solutions from coaching and skilling, to internal mobility and redeployment, to outplacement to help ensure a positive experience regardless of where people are in their career journeys with your company.
2. give talent leaders more time to focus on their strategic priorities
Talent leaders have a lot on their plates right now. Over the past two years, we’ve seen first-hand the expanded roles talent acquisition professionals are expected to play — not just in attracting, sourcing and hiring talent, but also in increasing retention, enabling internal mobility and activating the untapped potential within the organization. Research tells the story: 82% of respondents in the 2023 Talent Trends research say the role of talent acquisition has been significantly elevated and/or expanded, particularly when it comes to internal mobility, skills development and career pathways.
By outsourcing key functions or hiring for hard-to-fill roles, internal talent acquisition and HR teams can spend more time focusing on other strategic initiatives, such as focusing on improving the talent experience and factors that drive loyalty, engagement and career mobility.
With additional time and available mindshare, they can push the boundaries of traditional talent acquisition and create more impactful strategies that align with other areas of HR — and the business at large — for the long term and across the total enterprise talent life cycle. This can include creating clear remote and flexible work policies, training and development offerings, and internal mobility and career advancement opportunities.
3. get work done with all types of talent
Today’s workforce includes more types of workers than ever before — from permanent and contingent employees to freelancers, gig workers, services and more. As the workforce continues to evolve in terms of how, where and when people work, one size does not fit all. There are more options to get work done than ever before, including increased automation and robotization. While talent acquisition leaders often want to consider the whole spectrum of available talent, they don't always have the resources, expertise or internal buy-in to make that happen.
In fact, only one-quarter of talent leaders say they plan to engage more contingent, freelance, temporary, and/or services (SOW) talent. This might explain why year-over-year investment in talent branding for freelance and/or independent contractors and temporary staffing has dropped by 9% and 12% respectively, according to our Talent Trends research, but also highlights a problem.
Knowing when to engage which types of talent can be challenging. Access to external market intelligence and knowing how to review it alongside internal people analytics is critical, yet often limited within organizations. When you outsource talent acquisition, you not only get access to both internal and external data, but to the global expertise to do this at scale.
Outsourcing talent acquisition can also help organizations acquire and deploy contingent talent more quickly. This is done through the use of a branded talent pool that is more commonly known as direct sourcing. By directly identifying and acquiring contingent resources, organizations can build more agile and talent-centric strategies to engage and deploy flexible workers. This in turn produces greater cost savings and cost avoidance through these direct contingent recruitment relationships.
Ultimately, it’s about matching the right person with the right position to ensure an organization has the best talent in place to get the work done, create long-term value for the business and support business goals.
4. support mobility of your internal talent
In 2022, job changes reached a record high of 36.5% — and 30% of employees considered switching jobs according to the Randstad Workmonitor 2023 report. In other words, roughly one third of a business’ workforce is potentially mobile and looking for new opportunities. Meanwhile, it is estimated that more than 60% of a company’s future roles can be filled by current employees. But knowing when to look inward and when to go outside to fill skills gaps can be complex.
An outsourcing partner can provide organizations with solutions for internal mobility, reskilling and development programs that allow them to re-imagine how the work gets done with both internal and external talent, allowing them to dynamically shift and evolve with business priorities. By optimizing access to external talent while accelerating the mobility of internal talent, businesses can address multiple challenges while ensuring they have an additional and sustainable talent channel for the long term.
5. reduce risk, manage costs, drive efficiencies and scale quickly
Getting caught in an endless cycle of hiring and laying off recruiting resources to meet fluctuating market demand can be damaging to a business in more ways than one. Frequent layoffs come with legal risks, unemployment costs and potentially a tarnished brand and reputation. Meanwhile, when it comes time to ramp up to meet evolving business demands, without having recruiters on hand to immediately address the hiring needs, a business will be at a significant disadvantage.
By working with an outsourcing partner, employers can scale recruiting resources up and down to meet demand — bringing workforce agility to the in-house talent acquisition team without adding headcount. And with several recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) models available, you don’t always have to commit to a long-term, end-to-end engagement.
Project RPO and selective RPO give you the opportunity to outsource recruitment for the short-term, for specific or niche roles, or even to tap expertise on specific parts of the recruitment process, such as onboarding, sourcing or candidate management. This means you get access to all the same benefits of end-to-end RPO — from process efficiencies and faster time to hire, to diversity hiring and talent marketing expertise, to market intelligence — but with a faster implementation time. In fact, many organizations like this approach because it gives them an opportunity to test recruitment outsourcing for their business.
Plus, no matter what model you implement, an outsourced talent acquisition partner operates on the latest technology using the newest and most effective best practices across talent attraction and engagement. Employers get new talent in the door faster, and at the best value for investment, enabling them to start contributing to the business sooner rather than later.
thrive during disruption
Your people are your greatest asset. And with the right talent strategies in place, you can set your business on a trajectory of success, despite the economic forces at play. Bringing on and laying off team members are part of any business. How you manage those essential activities can mean the difference between a business that thrives during disruption and one that’s always one step behind. When you outsource your talent acquisition function, you not only get quicker, more cost-effective access to better-skilled workers, you also create opportunities for your existing team to focus on critical initiatives.
are you ready to gain a competitive recruitment advantage?
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