There's growing consensus the economy has turned a corner. With management believing the end of the recession is near, they're beginning to inject capital back into their companies. In the aftermath of unprecedented layoffs, the first step will be to rebuild their core workforce.
But that is not without its own set of challenges. Human resources professionals continue to face the largest talent glut since World War II, with 14.5 million Americans unemployed. Add to that prevalent under-employment, and many recruiters are buried in an influx of resumes from largely unqualified applicants, and sorting through them is stretching time and resources thin.
Moreover, HR professionals are being called on to evaluate every area of the workforce, and hire people who require minimal training and can have the strongest impact on business. They're looking at labor-related expenses against operational realities, with the objective of increasing workforce efficiency.
In an environment where companies are looking to create an optimal level of productivity and skill using as few bodies as possible, outsourcing is an excellent solution. Organizations are turning to third-party workforce solution providers for talent acquisition to ensure a steady stream of qualified employees, minimize training investments, and give managers more time to focus on their core competency.
Outsourcing talent acquisition can remove a heavy burden from HR and hiring managers' shoulders. But it's crucial to find a trusted partner that understands the operational side of talent fulfillment and can train the organization on how to maximize the program. Partners should focus on improving internal processes to achieve workforce efficiency, including training. It should be a two-pronged process—not only to train the talent that comes into an organization, but also to train the hiring managers and HR executives on their roles in the talent acquisition process with a partner.
Here are some guidelines on how companies can benefit the most from outsourcing talent acquisition:
Supply chain management. Outsourcing talent acquisition gives HR one source to recruit talent, rather than searching through dozens of job boards and hundreds or thousands of resumes. Look for a workforce solutions partner that has teams of specialists in specific industries, such as technology or pharmaceuticals. This makes the partner better positioned to identify talent with the skills needed to drive a company's business and sharpen its competitive edge.
Quality matches. One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing talent acquisition is workforce solution partners pre-screen candidates. By providing a short list of candidates that meet all these requirements—from skill sets to industry experience to personality traits—outsourcing partners typically reduce time-to-fill by 15 to 20 percent. For most talent requests, a good partner should be able to begin candidate flow in about a day to get the process started expediently. In addition, work with your talent partner to establish and administer on-boarding training so that, once hired, employees are able to hit the ground running. Plus, by having your partner handle all on-boarding, you take it off the plates of your current employees.
Training. Look for a workforce solutions partner that considers everyone involved in the talent acquisition process—including HR, trainers, and hiring managers. With a comprehensive talent acquisition program, the partner works directly with hiring managers to understand the culture of the organization, as well as the best methods for training. The partner should set-up organizational workshops and identify policies currently in place, as well as recommend those that should be implemented to make the overall training program better. Then, set up guidelines that establish key objectives that align with the company's business objectives and culture.
Considering your company's culture is key when developing a training program—some organizations train entire departments on everything, while others keep the training program more specialized. Programs will differ by organization. By understanding the company, and the bandwidth involved in the process, establish a training program that fits the needs of the organization. Remember that training should extend well beyond the hire. By training the users of the program first, the entire process will run more smoothly. When a hiring manager knows how to maximize interactions with a partner, leverage technology, and tap into an optimized talent supply chain, the hiring process becomes less of a burden. Proper training will allow the hiring manager to focus where additional resources are needed—on core responsibilities. Also, by bringing in a partner specialized in sourcing, screening, interviewing, and background checking, the hiring manager only needs to set aside time to meet with the best candidates.
Measurement and reporting. Workforce solution partners also should provide regular reports on the performance and results of the talent acquisition program. One good approach is to work with a partner that incorporates technology to track performance metrics. Technology bridges the gap and provides visibility into this complex process. Hiring managers and HR, along with vested stakeholders in other departments, can log in and view progress on an open position in real time. Another good benchmarking tool is manager surveys of employees' performance. Whatever method is used, seek programs with high visibility into the talent acquisition process to ensure critical deadlines are met and projects are delivered on-budget.
As the economy begins to recover, many HR professionals want to be better prepared for market extremes. Whether it's a talent glut, shortage, or somewhere in between, outsourcing can help create the workforce efficiency companies are looking for.
Lou Panico is director of customer integration for Yoh, a workforce solutions unit of Day & Zimmermann. For more information, visit Yoh.com or www.theseamlessworkforce.com.