LinkedIn recently published partner Jason Krumwiede’s article, “Disruptive Recruiting Delivers Value to Retailers Beyond Bucks.” Read the full article below.

With unemployment historically low at 4.3% – and expected to decrease even more – talent battles in retail/eCommerce are being fought on the front lines as the industry experiences massive disruption. The daily news confirms this, chronicling the rapid growth of e-tailing; a “Clash of Titans” as Walmart and Amazon face off on everything; traditional brick-and-mortars filing for bankruptcy; and the ever-changing omnichannel customer experience.

As disruption prevails, traditional store hiring models are being challenged, slapped around, or even – KAPOW! – completely blown up and replaced as retailers turn to companies like ours to support field and store level hiring.  Just-in-time recruiting is becoming a compelling finance tool for CFOs as they look to effectively manage payroll spend of seasonal employees. Competition for skilled hourly talent is fierce. The “shelf life” of quality applicants can be as short as a week before accepting another offer.  Disrupting your retail hiring may be just simplifying your employment message/brand, streamlining the application process, deploying a new technology (AI, video or chat) or pulling in a recruitment services partner a.k.a. RPO to attract and onboard quality talent.

In my opinion, integrating RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) or RPO hybrid models into the overall talent acquisition strategy is essential in today’s market, not optional for retail. RPO is a form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external provider, essentially serving as an extension of the company’s human resources department. In 2016, Global RPO market grew at 16% to reach a cumulative market size of US$2.85 billion, according to Everest Group.

But beyond dollars and cents, “not everything that counts can be counted”, as Einstein once said. So, if you’re evaluating the business case for retail RPO, consider these three business drivers that deliver ROI: (1) scale, (2) quality and (3) speed.

Behind Door # 1 Is Scale.

Manage the spikes in hiring volume, whether cyclical, seasonal or because you’re transforming the customer experience where upskilling talent is critical. Working with an RPO allows you to nimbly scale up to hire seasonal employees, attract and recruit for specialized roles, or staff up for new stores and markets. When you’re facing fluctuating needs, RPO offers an on-demand, efficient, variable-cost solution to accelerate candidate identification, skills assessment, culture fit and onboarding.

And Behind Door #2 Is Quality.  

Store managers don’t set out to hire bad employees, but urgency to fill a slot can result in poor quality hires and high turnover. That’s why an RPO back office engine, engineered to quickly identify and screen the best-qualified applicants, can add immeasurable value by building local talent pools in advance of need. The RPO team, focused on “sourcing, assessing and pitching” the opportunity to the right individuals, move candidates efficiently through the process while applying behavioral assessment tools and methods proven to increase the likelihood of post-hire success. General managers spend their valuable time interviewing and selecting quality candidates, not posting jobs, sifting through applications, leaving voicemails and other low-value tasks.

Lastly, Behind Door #3 Is Speed.

Job vacancies can impact customer experience, lower morale and hurt your bottom line. It’s estimated that Walmart generates approximately $200K in revenue per employee, so you can see how serious this really can be! When speed is of the essence, an RPO can be just the hiring accelerant you need, particularly in volume situations, such as new store openings or seasonal spikes, when many similar roles need to be filled. Done right, an RPO can compress the hiring cycle while also increasing the potential for better hires.

To Sum Up

No question about it: viewing recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) through a cost lens alone can obscure many of its most critical positive impacts. To thoroughly evaluate how RPO can help your retail business thrive in disruption, look at the totality of the benefits – that are tied to scale, quality and speed. Ultimately, RPO solutions can help you effectively scale staffing while making better hires who more closely match your talent strategy, culture, and values—exactly when and where you need them.

Jason Krumwiede

About the Author

Jason brings twenty years of leadership, business development, consulting and management experience in Talent Acquisition and Human Capital services.

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