“Don’t build on something that’s already broken”

Case Study

“Don’t build on something that’s already broken”

Problem: Ineffective recruitment tools and processes

As part of RTM’s problem-solving approach to recruitment, we spoke with Director of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Nicola Dunne on how holding on to ineffective tech and broken process can result in a much bigger business impact.

What failings have you seen by companies not outsourcing their recruitment?

We can often face blockers in potential when the client’s problem is technology related but there’s specific tools or processes they’re reluctant, or even unable to change.  For example, we might have only been asked to tackle 20% of what our capability is and therefore that can stop us from getting truly embedded or to the real root of the problem.  For example, analysing the end-to-end process and the ATS and CRM platform may be hugely beneficial to building solid pipelines.  However, by not adopting the proposed areas for improvement, the client could be missing out on automation and integration opportunities and being more technology-led as a business.

Part of that sometimes comes down to fear of change, so our job is to educate on the opportunities so the client can explore all options, understand the potential of what they can gain from our full service, and then we can alleviate any risk concerns from the very start of our journey together.

Can it be difficult to try and work with a client’s pre-existing tech? A type of square peg, round hole issue?

Yes, it can be. The statement I used last week to a client is you don't build on something that's already broken – that’s why the discovery phase at the start of the relationship is critical.

The current approach to buying is a lot more cautious, where Covid and Brexit have created investment concerns. Organisations have understandably had to become a bit more short-term in focus until they have clearer sight of what's happening next year. For some of our clients, we’ve dealt with that concern by being more project led, meaning building more of a pilot program for a defined period, and if it works then great - we can have a conversation about a longer relationship. It’s almost a ‘try before you buy’ type situation for the client, to see if we both match in terms of partnership and cultural alignment.

Is there any downside to a shorter, ‘try before you buy’ style partnership?

The downside is that it can stop us from being able to do what we call a ‘proper discovery’ where you're getting into the nuts and bolts, having deeper conversations, and mapping the process, looking at ways to optimise early on as part of a 12-week implementation plan where you're making recommendations. Instead, we have to kind of parachute a team in to just adopt to the existing processes regardless of how broken they are, and by doing that you can end up in this grey territory.

Ultimately, it’s about being able to say with confidence and data-led insight what needs to change and what elements are impacting or stopping growth, based on the expertise we bring.

Is reluctance to change down to cost or belief that current systems are working just fine?

I think often it’s a combination of both, but more so the inability to see too far ahead – specifically now where businesses are waiting to see the knock-on effects of the pandemic. However, reluctance is typically just another form of fear, so for us it all comes down to the process, having clear hand-off points and guidance, where we can be measurable in terms of our performance and strategic in how we’re going to solve their business problem.

Sometimes we must take a client on a bit of a journey to help them get to a point of realisation, as it can be hard to immediately see what's going to happen in year, 2 or 3 for example. But good results take time, and when time is invested, you start to see tangible, meaningful and most importantly, lasting change.

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