Why Outsourcing Your TA Function Has Gone By Its Sell By Date & Stinks!
Why Outsourcing your Talent Acquisition team has gone by its sell by date and stinks!
If you have been knocking about in the corporate world for a couple of decades you will probably remember the push by big global outsourcing companies to encourage you to outsource critical functions of your company like IT, Accounts, Payroll etc. It was so enticing to think that you could save x amount of money just by passing off such functions to these external experts. Outsourcing took off in a big way and became a topic of discussion in board rooms all over the world. But today there is a gradual but insistent creep to bring these outsourced functions back in-house, there's even a fancy name for it, in-sourcing. Why the turn around? Well, apart from loss of control all this outsourcing gave the company, the Outsourcing companies couldn’t help themselves, they got greedy. Some increased their prices. Others stopped bespoke outsourcing solutions and practices and just copied and pasted for all their clients. The outsourcing 'solution' became a square peg in a round hole and a big headache for many companies trying to work seamlessly with functions outside of their control.
One of the functions that went the outsourcing way, in a big way in the last decade, was the talent acquisition function (now Talent Attraction). I could not believe my eyes when I first saw this trend. I was literally gobsmacked! Particularly, as it coincided with the start of Linked In and accelerated growth in Social Media – tools that help increase your own TA team’s direct hiring numbers! But, someone with influence had gotten into the ears of the decision maker in those companies and convinced them to hand off one of their prized possessions with the promise of x amount in savings. What a con!
Those people who signed on the dotted line to hand over their gold plated, diamond encrusted TA function to an external bunch of strangers did not and do not understand talent acquisition.
Why am I crying foul here? Here’s why. The Talent Attraction function is your mouth-piece to the outside world. Talent Attraction is sales, marketing and PR in one beautiful bundle. Every time a member of your TA team opens their mouth to speak to a candidate, writes a job description, or posts on social media, they are representing your employer brand. Why would you give that function to a group of faceless strangers to do? Effective Talent Attraction teams are pure gold and priceless.
When you outsource a world facing team you are diluting your brand and you won’t even see the worst of it, you have zero control over what marketing messages they are giving the candidates. You wouldn’t outsource your client facing members of your company so why outsource the candidate facing members?
I was helping a large global biotech company with their external employer branding strategy. Disappointingly, on my first initial call, I discovered they had outsourced the recruitment function to an outside company and even worse that outsourced company was in a different country! They wanted me to hand over a strategy without including a single member of the outsourcing company in the discussions but they still wanted to keep their outsourced company in the process. Talk about working out an attraction strategy with both hands tied behind my back. Needless to say, I delivered a strategy but made it very clear that they could do even better by bringing the TA team back in-house and ditching the outsourced company. I truly felt so sorry for this HR team, they knew outsourcing the TA function had failed. But they were on the ground in Europe and the outsourcing decision had been made by the American office and the TA function had been outsourced to a company owned by a friend of the CEO. To make matters worse they weren’t even allowed to use social media to promote their jobs! I thought I was in a new ‘Back to the Future’ film and I had morphed into Marty McFly!
When I assessed the employer branding work executed by the outsourced company more horrors awaited. Firstly, their main outsourced account recruiter had a link on her Linked In to the company job application site that went nowhere, it was a broken link. Secondly, there was zero branding going on, as for over a year no job posts or employer brand messages had been posted anywhere and, trust me, I looked everywhere. Thirdly, the hiring landing page was a legacy page that wasn’t connected to the Talent Management System. Their outsourcing company was doing zero work and my client was wondering why they weren’t getting the number of quality candidates they needed to hire.
Effectively, that outsourcing company didn’t care about my client and it was costing my client millions in terms of product development delays and activity. Sadly, they only thought it was costing them the monthly retainer they were paying the outsourcer. When I got the calculator out and spoke to them about how delays in hiring affect attrition rates, product development and release to market and so on, they went white.
If you are being coerced or talked into such an outsourcing move please think twice, or call me, and I will give you more evidence as to why this is a bad idea. If you think your TA team are not up to scratch the solution I have is a lot faster and much more cost effective than outsourcing. Training is the answer! I love training my clients teams in talent attraction methods and seeing flowers bloom in the TA teams I work with. Give them the tools to make your company a talent attraction magnet and see your company flourish.
Look at your TA team differently. If they are being under-utilised, now is the time to bring us in to devise a training and talent attraction strategy. Remember Talent Attraction is Sales, Marketing and PR rolled into one function and we can help your TA team become expert in all three areas, getting your talent attraction firing on all cylinders.