The Missing Measurement in Recruitment Process Outsourcing Governance


Clients and leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers in the market use a fairly standard and broad set of service level measures, including:

  • Speed/time (time to fill, time to submit, time to interview, time to offer, time to start, open requisition aging and other cycle time measures);
  • Quality (turnover/retention, candidate quality slate, time to productivity, data accuracy and new hire performance);
  • Cost reduction (agency fees and cost to source);
  • Diversity (diversity slate, diversity pipeline);
  • Compliance (with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and adherence to process);
  • Effectiveness (source of hire, sourcing metrics, candidate acceptance ratio, recruiter efficiency ratio, interview-to-offer ratio);
  • Satisfaction (manager satisfaction, candidate satisfaction, new hire satisfaction).

Despite the length of this list, there still is something missing: a clear way to measure the effectiveness of ongoing account management.

More and more, I hear clients say their satisfaction is driven by the extent to which their RPO provider acts as a strategic partner, brings new ideas forward, proactively manages the account and quickly resolves issues. Anyone who has struggled with a provider in one of these areas will likely agree to the importance of these as factors in the success of RPO.

Indeed, RPO providers that operate with a strong partnership approach and are effective at ongoing account management are differentiating themselves in the marketplace.

To explicitly measure the effectiveness of account management, ISG has found that implementing an account management scorecard as part of the overall service level agreement (SLA) can provide increased visibility, transparency and a sound framework for management.

On a quarterly basis, key client account management team members complete a scorecard like the one below and then aggregate the results across the team.

Sample RPO Account Management Scorecard
Management of turnover and staff transition 1 2 3 4 5
1 = Service provider’s management of turnover is very disruptive to the client team, causing gaps in service delivery and/or requiring significant effort to retrain, provide direction or correct mistakes. 5 = Service provider’s management of turnover is transparent to the client team, causing little or no disruption to the client.
Best Practices and Innovation 1 2 3 4 5
1 = Service provider has not introduced new ideas or innovation to the account. 5 = Service provider shares best practices, market trends, invests in new tools and brings new innovation to the account.
Proactive Account Leadership 1 2 3 4 5
1 = Service provider is reactive; client must drive planning and activities. 5 = Service provider account team is knowledgeable of the plans and proactively identifies and initiates planning for changes (including planning for hiring initiatives or identifying opportunities for process improvement).

Some providers are reluctant to implement measures they consider to be subjective. Our view is that the nature of this feedback is not unlike the nature of feedback from managers, candidates or new hires, which is widely accepted as a legitimate part of measuring overall RPO success. The key client team members who manage the day-to-day relationship have a critical perspective that should be factored in to any ongoing measurement of client satisfaction.

Understanding the intent and the value of ongoing client feedback in the form of a scorecard can help providers get comfortable with this type of approach, provide long-term benefits for both the provider and the client, and serve as a constructive framework to discuss what could be going better.

Contact me to discuss further.

About the author

Stacey is a director and a key contributor to ISG’s human resources and talent-related technology and services. She advises clients on all aspects of human resources engagements, including recruitment process outsourcing and talent management. Stacey is a prolific blogger, and is frequently interviewed by industry publications. With nearly 20 years of experience in solutions strategy, product development, corporate HR, operations delivery, transitions and HR consulting, Stacey has deep operational knowledge of the talent space and her clients’ challenges, as well as a unique ability to ask the right questions to help organizations align their sourcing initiatives with their vision.