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Richard Bradley (Kelly Services): ‘RPO clients come in and buy what complements their business’

​Project or modular RPO solutions

Bradleysays growth in EMEA was 26 percent in 2019, making it one of the fastest growing markets for RPO solutions. Whilst Kelly delivers end-to-end RPO solutions, the significant growth in EMEA has been in modular RPO solutions, Bradley says. “A lot of what we do are project or modular RPO solutions where we’re working within a large enterprise, but not delivering for the whole company. This is something that we’re starting to see more and more across EMEA in terms of how organisations are buying the services from us.”

For example, clients will ask the company to provide market insights or to help out to manage a sudden increase in applications. “They’re coming in and choosing and buying what suits them. It’s like you’re in a marketplace where you might buy your bread from one place and cheese and milk from another. That’s the way RPO is moving.”

Better, faster, cheaper not getting you to the table

Bradley sees the conversation in talent acquisition creeping up towards the strategic level. Talent acquisition leaders are increasingly being asked to look at how they support the business agenda, he says. “Then our job is to help those heads of TA answer the questions they get. To do this we look at the talent challenges, how to improve digitalisation and how to ensure that our client’s employer brand and the employment value proposition stand up.”

This is a very different model from that in the early days of RPO when it was all about how do you do it better, faster and cheaper, he says. “Nowadays that’s a given, that’s not even getting you to the table anymore. What existing clients as well as buyers are looking for is much more about value. What’s the added value that we as an RPO-provider deliver?”

A big issue is how to measure value in talent acquisition. A lot of the traditional measures are focused on the output of the process, like time to hire and retention rates. Yet those are often not really about value added, says Bradley. “I don’t honestly think, and this is just total transparency, that any in-house organisation or RPO organisation has got a really good measure of what that should look like.”

Engaging the business, and TA

Kelly tries to help organisations find answers to these questions around value, he elaborates. “The question is how we should engage the business, talent acquisition, and talent management to look at the total life cycle of an employee and start looking at the value that employee is generating during that time. What we’re trying to do is talk with organisations about future potential. How do we make sure that we are future proofing the business by bringing in some of the softer skills?

And how do we assess things like curiosity, and people’s resilience. We’re trying to influence clients and bring more to the strategic objectives by saying ‘focus on the future’.” That is where the future of RPO itself ultimately lies, he concludes. “Helping clients understand that instead of looking in the rearview mirror having a bit of a broader focus, and a bit more vision will help them longer term. That is where RPO has a future.”

Bio: Richard Bradley – VP of RPO EMEA Kelly

Richard Bradley has one goal and it’s simple – to help his clients to win an unfair share of talent. Finding good talent is hard, engaging them is harder and he is passionate about sourcing and building teams that share this passion. Richard has challenged recruitment businesses to evolve or die. He has tasked in-house recruiters with demanding value from the agencies they work with. For over a decade, Richard has lived this ethos and helped companies improve their talent acquisition and engagement strategies. The impact? Better people, greater brand recognition, and more engaged recruits with a lower cost per hire.

As a father of triplets, Richard knows first-hand the challenges of juggling work and home life. Richard has created a culture across the business that reflects the need for balance and the results speak for themselves. As a father of three boys Richard is future focused and is passionate about ensuring that young people have the opportunity they deserve to access the job market and have the chance to succeed.

Find out more about Kelly's Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

Djaja Ottenhof, May 2021