The COVID-19 crisis has forced many companies to lay off large swaths of their workforces, thanks to shutdown mandates and the accompanying economic downturn. But this state of affairs will not last forever, and when business begins to pick up again, these organizations will need to scale their workforces up to fill those talent gaps.

If you’re in this situation, you may think you can just rehire the employees you let go — but those employees may have moved on to new jobs in the interim. Even if they haven’t, they may not be interested in rejoining your company. So what can you do?

Many employers will turn to recruiting and staffing companies to assist in their large-scale rehiring efforts. This is a very effective strategy, as outsourcing recruiting frees up the company’s leaders to focus on other critical areas, like training and business development, while their businesses are staffed up again.

RPO and KPIs Go Hand in Hand

Of course, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is not something you can just set and forget. You need to monitor the performance of your recruiting partners just as closely as you would monitor the performance of an internal hiring team. So what metrics should you be thinking about in particular? Here are a few key data points to help you assess the effectiveness of your RPO partner:

Recruiter KPIs

When it comes to tracking RPO performance, you can largely rely on the same kinds of metrics you would use to track internal hiring team performance. Those include:

• Time to fill: How quickly is your recruiting partner filling your roles? Average time to hire can vary widely, depending on how hard it is to fill a role. Regardless, you want your RPO partner to move as quickly as they can without cutting corners.

• Offer-to-acceptance ratio: Is your RPO partner sourcing candidates who align with your mission and who are enthusiastic about working for your company? One good way to check is to watch your offer-to-acceptance ratio. If many candidates are turning down your offers, that suggests your RPO partner isn’t engaging the right talent pools.

• Cost per hire: This metric is particularly important in measuring RPO performance. RPO is a significant investment, and it only makes sense to outsource recruiting if you’re getting an acceptable return on that investment. If you’re spending a lot of money per hire, you may not be getting enough bang for your buck.

There are other KPIs you may want to track as well, depending on the particular services your RPO partner is providing. These three are simply some of the most common metrics to gauge RPO outcomes.

Employee KPIs

Perhaps the most important thing about any RPO arrangement is ensuring the employees you get from the process are high-quality workers. In fact, the performance of the employees you hire through RPO can tell you a lot about how well your RPO partner is performing. So, in addition to tracking recruitment KPIs, be sure to track the KPIs of each candidate you hire through an RPO.

Now, identifying which KPIs are relevant will depend on each new employee’s job. Say, for example, that you turn to an RPO partner to help hire call-center employees. In that case, your KPIs will probably include things like:

• Talk time: How long does the employee spend on the phone with each customer?

• Quality of call: Does the employee address customers’ needs in a satisfactory way on each call?

• Number of calls: How many calls does the employee make and/or receive on a daily basis?

• Attendance/absenteeism: How often does the employee miss work?

• Productivity: How does the employee’s output compare to others in the same role?

• Engagement: How satisfied and enthusiastic is the employee in their role?

Employee KPIs can, of course, help managers reward good performance and offer support to employees who could use some improvement. More importantly in an RPO context, however, employee KPIs also paint a picture of the quality of hire you’re getting from your RPO partner. If employees you hire through your partner tend to meet their KPI goals, that is a sign that your partner is worth the investment. Alternatively, if you notice that many new hires fall short of their KPIs and need extensive training, that may signal your RPO partner is not sourcing the right candidates for your company.

Furthermore, tracking employee KPIs also allows your company to build a powerful talent database, which can help inform your hiring decisions and workforce planning processes going forward.

Every company wants quality hires who will drive productivity, but it can be hard to find those hires in a volatile economy. Moreover, as lockdowns lift and companies begin staffing up again, organizations will have to carry out high-volume hiring campaigns like never before.

RPO can be an effective way for employers to navigate the hiring challenges of the coming months — but only if employers know what to look for in a successful partnership.

Dr. Kanya D. Hubbard is owner and operator of Dee Jones, Inc.

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