New trend: HR outsourcing in Australian facilities

by FM Media
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Traditionally, outsourced talent and management services have been the domain of larger enterprises and corporate entities. Among smaller and medium-sized companies, which of course includes many facilities around the country, hiring and managing a workforce generally falls to each departmental head.

Recent developments are changing the playing field however, with a much wider array of services appealing to organisations of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Digital delivery means that a large proportion of solutions can be administered remotely and accessed quickly and easily by one end-user such as the facility manager, and also allows solutions to be scaled easily to suit the size and style of facility.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) stands as the driving force behind this change, continuing the push by many companies and facilities towards using more business process outsourcing (BPO) services. RPO is basically the transfer of all or part of a facility’s recruitment processes to an external service provider. A company offering RPO solutions may either adopt the staff and methodologies of the client company, or bring their own staff, technology, methodologies and reporting.

Ultimately, RPO providers assume ownership of the design and management of the recruitment process and the responsibility of results for the company or organisation they represent.

One aspect of RPO that is of particular use to facilities in Australia is the flexibility they can provide. A mix of permanent and contingent workers is becoming more common in Australia, with Ardent Partners predicting that 45 per cent of the total corporate workforce will be considered non-employee, contingent or contract-based by 2017.

“Contingent workforces help organisations scale and flex by providing additional capacity exactly when it’s needed. Managing such a flexible workforce can seem threateningly complex, but that is where a solution provider comes in,” said Caleb Baker, Managing Director – APAC and Emerging Markets of Alexander Mann Solutions.

Consider a situation where a facility’s foot traffic increases greatly at certain times of the year, then drops back to a steady level. Being able to call on a contingent workforce is crucial, as it provides the staffing needed to cover the influx of trade or visitors. Calling on the services of an RPO provider allows the facility to gain the workforce they need without the attendant hassles of advertising, interviewing, selecting and hiring a workforce, only to have it dismissed again shortly afterwards when the project or event has passed.

Flexible solutions can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of fast-growing organisations as well, with some service providers catering for a pay-by-the-employee approach.

“A turn-key solution allows smaller and medium-sized businesses to deploy a fast, scalable service at a fixed price, digitally administered from one central location. Since the structure and price are pre-determined there are no nasty surprises, and therefore no issues with visibility or accountability. In essence, a facility in Australia can now access the same level of resources as an enterprise-level corporation,” said Baker.

Larger facilities have been using RPO services for years, but the nature of the service has evolved lately, responding to the rise of digital platforms among large and small corporations. Service delivery can now be maintained from a virtual team, and underpinned by technology such as PeopleFluent’s recruitment management system, Broadbean’s vacancy posting and database searching tools, and ServiceNow’s user support capabilities.

Alexander Mann Solutions’ Baker said: “technology is leading the way for SMBs in Australia, in all facets of running a business. Recruitment and management companies simply had to respond in order to stay relevant, and it also gives us the opportunity to extend services to new areas of the marketplace here in Australia.”

So, what is involved in moving to an RPO model of recruiting? There is quite a lot more involved than simply changing the operations of a facility’s hiring functions. There will be a significant rearrangement of the complete recruitment and resourcing lifecycle, which will deliver significant benefits over the traditional managed services offered by recruitment companies. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the realigning of different recruitment areas, creating a seamless link between the on-boarding of permanent and contingency staff, as well as redeployment, mobility and outplacement.

Facilities management in Australia can benefit from RPO in many ways, especially with the Federal Government’s hiring freeze now lifted for many departments. With strong demand for skilled staff continuing in the public and private health sectors, as well as for project managers in the construction space, it might be time to have a fresh look at the recruitment options available.

This article was contributed by marketing and communications writer Luke Frost on behalf of Alexander Mann Solutions, a talent acquisition and management consultancy.

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