Rethinking RPO 

Thinking about implementing an RPO program or want to learn more? AGS’ Executive Director of Customer Enablement Kathy Clem and Vice President of Global Business Services Tom Jewett discuss how today’s savvy companies are rethinking how they acquire talent to transform their organizations and get work done.

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FWelcome to subject to talent, brought to you by Allegis global solutions. Similar to you, we're always trying to learn more. On this podcast, we speak to talent experts around the world, covering workforce management, market trends, technology, and a forever evolving dynamic industry. Welcome back to Subject ToTalent. I'm Frank Edge and thank you for joining us on another episode. In this session, we talk about why there's never been a better time to consider RPO. AGS's Executive Director of Customer Enablement, Kathy Clem, and Vice President of Global Business Services, Tom Jewett, discuss the areas, RPO can help address for your company, the role of technology and attracting, retaining talent for the future and how the impacts of this year have shifted the industry. Let's listen in.

THi, Kathy. We'd like to start off our episodes by learning about how you got into the industry.

KThe journey time, when I tell this story, it takes me back and I feel like I'm dating myself because there's no true TA track. I literally fell into it. I graduated from university where I studied psychology and met an internal recruiter at the time. And I was so amazed with the internal recruiter's passion, zeal, and fire he had for the company. And I knew then this was something that I wanted to be a part of. So I often tell people, I packed my dreams, my hopes, my aspirations, I loaded the U-Haul truck and the destination was unknown. And I joined what has become my family, the Allegis family. So over the past 20 years, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many incredible leaders in service, our operating companies. But specifically for the past 10 years, I've primarily focused within the RPO space as a leader, building, implementing, and ramping and delivering large scale RPO engagements for our clients. So RPO and talent acquisition is definitely near and dear to me.

TThat's great, Kathy, thank you for sharing that. For those that don't know, can you share with our listeners a little bit more about RPO at AGS.

KFrom an RPO perspective, recruitment process outsourcing, it's truly is a form of BPO, business process outsourcing by way of a company that will outsource or transfer all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider such as AGS. So as a provider, we will go in and literally manage the entire recruiting and hiring process from job profiling, onboarding technology stack, offering strategic and talent advisory and providing measurable reporting. I like to call it recruitment partnership outsourcing, and I'll tell you Tom, when you meet a client and you begin this RPO journey and you get into an operating rhythm and establish trust, loyalty, credibility, and you can ultimately replace the word process with partnership, this is when you know you have homogeny with your clients. When your recruiters can show up and they model and are truly an extension of talent acquisition and they embody the culture, it no longer becomes this process but a true partnership.

T: That's great perspective, Kathy, thank you for sharing that. Maybe if you can... Moving forward, what areas can an RPO help address for a company? Go into a little bit more detail around the impact that a partnership can have like this.

KThere's a lot of reasons an RPO solution can assist or help a company. Speaking to someone who's focused within operations and client delivery globally, I instantly start to think about key performance indicators. RPO solutions have helped to address, time to fill or time to hire, time to source, interview to offer ratios, improving quality of hire, helping to establish practices around early career programs, market insights, competency modeling... you name it. So you can see there's a lot of ways RPO solutions can help. Some of the other RPO drivers that stand out that help companies are; costs, access to talent, scale, employer brand and quality.

KAnd if I go a little bit deeper here, specifically when we think about cost. Cost includes; total cost of ownership and reduce fixed costs, access to talent, the ability to support the business strategy with key talent. Scalability, you and I both know, we hear from our customers all the time. Wanting a partner or a solution that is definitely agile and flexible and that will augment or support cyclical, business demands. And quality, at the end of the day, our customers are looking for quality talent that will help transform their organization.

TThank you, Kathy. That's really good perspective. Certainly reminds me of many opportunities where we partnered together to solve some of those challenges. Let's talk a little bit about technology. Obviously it's a large, important and broad topic. Can you share some perspective around where technology plays a role in helping companies attract and retain talent in the future?

KYeah, so this is a loaded one. The technology journey, I believe a solid RPO provider should view a customer's program through a tech enabled mindset, meaning your provider must understand the nuances and build a tech stack that is efficient and scalable for the client's unique programs. And so we know the world of work has changed. And how we curate and design the candidate and hiring manager experience it's changed. And now more than ever, we're leaning on technology for everything. And I'm talking about everything from branding, onboarding, interviewing, attraction, recruitment marketing, I mean, virtual learning in our households these days. And so the key is, we have to make sure we don't lose the human touch. And from a candidate's lens, candidates want more communication than most organizations can provide via human touch.And so when I think about the technology and how it will help companies attract and retain talent, I think this is where the AGS technology stack starts to come into play a little bit, to really help to attract the future talent using predictive analytics, market insights, supply, change management as well. And so when I start to think about internal tech stack, it's market leading AI pipeline automation offering that targets and short list top talent using our right, fit first time methodology. And I think that our proprietary platform it's designed specifically as a complete solution to find match, engage and onboard talent. Hopefully that gives a little bit of my perspective around the technology play.

T: Yeah. It certainly does, Kathy, thank you. And obviously it is a very large topic, but can you share a little bit of your insights into how you think technology will change into the future as it relates to talent acquisition in our business today?

KI think it will continue to involve, as I mentioned and alluded to the candidates and hiring manager experiences, as their needs start to change. As a provider, we continue to ask ourselves what is best in class, what will create differentiation and competitive advantage for our customers to help attract and retain. And so again, I think that having a tool that is robust, that uses the power of AI, machine learning, intelligent automation to effectively fill jobs with the highest quality of talent, I think that's going to be extremely critical as we look to expand our footprint. When I think about technology again, we use it to cast a large net. But we want to make sure that we are casting the net, but we're also pulling and attracting the right talent.

TThanks, Kathy, let's move on a little bit from technology. You referenced the importance of partnership in your previous answer. Can you talk a little bit more about how you really measure success of an RPO partnership?

KThe success in the RPO partnership can come in so many forms. We help our clients look at reduction of cost per hire, reduction of time to hire. I think success is also revealed when you see difference in increased quality of talent being attracted, hired, and more importantly retained. We've learned over time, it is so critical that the RPO provider and the employer have a deep and shared understanding of what quality talent means, early on in the partnership and what success truly looks like in the eyes of the customer and how it fits into the overall strategic goal of the company, when it comes down to measuring success. Another way to measure success of an RPO partnership or program, and Tom, you and I both know it's through the voice of the customer feedback. It's establishing what some of those net promoter scores would look like sitting down with a client and reviewing the score card together and looking at the promoters coupled with any detractors as well.

TThanks, Kathy, appreciate that. Let's shift gears again and talk a little bit about inclusion and diversity. How does AGS RPO a play a role in supporting clients with their overall recruitment strategy with inclusion and diversity in mind?

KA diverse workforce and culture of inclusion are integral to how we do business and how we serve each other. And our customers alike. As a leader in talent acquisition space, AGS aims to foster inclusion at all levels. For our customers, diversity, equity and inclusion, are business imperatives. And as a partner, we believe that as well. In virtually all client engagements, we play a role in driving diversity and inclusion through deliberate recruitment practices. Our role can vary from driving best practices with our recruiters, establish and executing on D&I initiatives and strategies. And for an example, that could look like training the recruitment team, our TA leaders, hiring managers on subjects such as operating without bias, best practices to engage candidates and interviewing techniques, developing relationship with a diverse pipelines associations, external partnership. We also offer what we call our inclusion labs. So we work very closely with our clients to attract talent that is reflective of the workplace, the workforce, and the customers and communities that we serve around the world.

TVery good. Thank you, Kathy. Let's talk a little bit about the industry, the RPO industry in particular. The RPO industry and the space is filled with viable competitors globally. From your vantage point, what makes AGS different as an RPO provider in comparison to the competitive landscape?

KWe are one of a few providers who have strong capabilities in executing large and complex RPO programs. I think our continuous investment in sourcing capabilities and recruiting technologies has allowed us to have a unique value differentiator in the marketplace. Also, our ability to bring in-house expertise with design thinking capabilities. AGS way methodology continues to set us apart. We draw upon decades of industry expertise and market insights to design strategies that work. And I believe some of those differentiators goes to our depth and reach and supporting clients and more than 60 countries and matching our great people with businesses that are seeking to optimize their permanent and contingent workforce.I think also Tom, the ability to be scalable. We touched on it earlier, flexible in offering customized solutions, but our passion for talent is the driving force behind everything that we do, which I believe is unmatched. We live to connect organizations with exceptional people by creating a culture, devoted to great talent. And to me that truly makes us different and sets us apart.

TThank you, Kathy. I think certainly your passion is on display as it relates to what we, and how we support our customers from a day-to-day perspective. So moving on to the next question I have for you, which certainly this year has been a very unique year where we're living in a very unique time to say the least with everything that has happened this year in 2020, what changes has AGS made to their RPO strategy and programs?

KThe challenge in today's business climate is one that changes rapidly, and you and I both know the only thing that's consistent is change, right? But as you know in August, our CEO expedited a new world of work strategy, to address rapidly changing client and talent needs. And I think our change has put a strong focus on bringing greater value to clients and an agile more consultative and strategic way. And it helps us to partner with our clients as they navigate this uncertainty or the unknown of the fast changing talent landscape. And so what I mean is that our talent led philosophy to offer our clients wide range of solutions, MSP and RPO procurement solutions, workforce technology consultant, and direct sourcing remains to drive additional client value, which is our global business services group.And GBS I believe will leverage capabilities across all products, bringing together data, technology, analytics, and delivery, which I'm thrilled. It's complimentary to our core offerings. We'll still continue to invest into our proprietary technologies, but I think this is an opportunity for us to partner and enhance the way we deliver, and we serve our customers today.

TThanks, Kathy. Certainly exciting times at AGS a lot of change taking place that sets AGS up well for the future. We all hope I was going to end on that. And just from your perspective, what's on the horizon for AGS RPO in particular?

KSo what's on the horizon for AGS RPO... That is a great question. When I hear the word, I think about future state guiding principles and being more resilient as we enter the horizon. 2020 has been a year of unknown for our product offerings specifically within the RPO space and industry. No one could have predicted we would be where we are today. And I do think that 2020 has been a catalyst and accelerator for business transformation in the RPO space needed for many organizations. We started to see a shift in the industry with clients, starting to think about work and talent in a more holistic way, which I believe will carry and continue into this next horizon. One that will include... I think for AGS specifically helping companies rethink how they get work done. Since COVID struck, an accelerated plan for change, I think has taken place right before us. One of my main client groups said it best.And this is the time now, in this particular space to reimagine how we do work. Ask ourselves if this is an opportunity to reinvent new processes and reignite the meaning and redirect human energy towards more meaning and purpose. So I'll land the plane here, and I'll say the horizon, I think will Intel maximizing the moment. We cannot waste an opportunity to reinvent every process practice and beliefs that we've held on to for decades. Now is the time to explore and I think you'll see it with AGS and the RPO space. We'll continue to focus on experimentation and partner with our clients to shift and champion change. And I think ultimately we'll help accelerate productivity and yield a positive business outcome. So I'm excited for the horizon.

TThank you, Kathy really appreciate all of your insights, certainly exciting times at AGS, exciting times for you in particular and hopeful, those listening got a lot out of your commentary today. So thank you for your time and have a great day.

KGreat. Thank you.

FThank you for joining us today and thanks to Kathy and Tom for a great conversation. If you would like to learn more about RPO, please check us out at And if you have any questions to Kathy or Tom, feel free to tweet us @Allegisglobal, with the #SubjectToTalent. Also, you can email us at And if you enjoyed our podcast today, please subscribe, rate us and leave a review until next time. Cheers.