RPO – Recruitment Process Outsourcing Explained

By Helen Pendlebury, Director of Client Services

What is Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

RPO is when an organisation sub-contracts all or part of its permanent recruitment to an external recruitment specialist. RPO providers typically act as an extension of the existing HR department, with a dedicated Recruitment Business Partner based within your organisation to oversee the entire end-to-end recruitment process.

When to choose Recruitment Process Outsourcing?

RPO isn’t for one-off hires. It is traditionally used when there is a need to recruit and retain a high volume of hard-to-find candidates. It can also be a valuable approach when an employer has a specific talent acquisition challenge to overcome. If your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) needs work, time to hire needs shortening, or if retention rates are poor, it is well worth looking at embedding external recruitment experts within your organisation.

Healthcare and RPO

RPO is particularly suited for healthcare, since both the NHS and private sector employers need to recruit high volumes of clinical staff, often in hard-to-find specialties. There is also a pressing need to reduce temporary staffing costs and improve retention with a positive, high-touch candidate experience. Litmus currently provides RPO support to several NHS organisations and the data insights we generate have helped to transform workforce strategy in all, with improved vacancy management and demand forecasting resulting in significant cost savings.

How does a RPO contract work?

With an RPO, every element of the recruitment process is supported, from identifying vacancies and completing vacancy requisitions, right through to facilitating interview panels, onboarding new candidates, and promoting retention. New talent acquisition is strengthened with the support of a broad network of supply chain partners and an extensive global network of leading international agents for overseas recruitment.

Our NHS partners see an increased social media presence, consistent messaging of Trust values and benefits, standardised recruitment processes, increased candidate engagement, improved application to offer and improved offer to employment ratios.  Every stage is tracked, with real-time insights on cost savings and time to hire.

A dedicated team embedded within your organisation also adds the all-important human touch, with people to talk regularly to new staff and understand their specific needs throughout their onboarding journey.​ In the first few weeks we assist with local orientations, extra language training, ‘buddy’ arrangements and we even help spouses to find work in other industry sectors. ​

In the longer term we help to identify training and development opportunities, ensuring new recruits have all the support they need to ‘step up’ into higher grades or work across multiple specialties. ​

Is Outsourcing a negative thing?

Not when it delivers the results needed. With the NHS facing unprecedented staffing shortages, HR teams simply don’t have the time or resources to micro-manage talent acquisition and drive the cost savings our experts can deliver for them. By drafting in healthcare staffing experts, NHS teams can focus in the short term on what they do best (improving patient care), and in the long term can continue to reap the efficiency benefits of a transformed recruitment process, well beyond the life of the RPO contract.

To date, our RPO contracts have saved the NHS in excess of £15 million in recruitment costs. That is the equivalent of over 40,000 ambulance call-outs or 4400 emergency operations to remove an appendix.

For more information about our RPO Services, click here

You can also email our team directly for an informal chat about your needs.

Read our case study

Healthcare Staffing: Reframing the Definition of Outsourcing