The ambiguous economic landscape of the last few years has had a momentous, but otherwise unforeseen blow on the way in which many companies tackle talent management.
The shift in pattern has been the product of a number of factors, not least of which have been higher levels of long-term employment uncertainty due to market pressures, followed by significantly more strict labour legislation and more burdensome regulations around employee management.
While these uncertain market dynamics first resulted in an increase in the use of non-permanent labour, this has gradually evened out as a bit of normality has returned to global markets and businesses have been looking to achieve an ideal balance between their flexible and temporary employee base.
One important lesson to come out of this trying period in workforce management has been the realisation by many South African businesses of the inescapable need for a robust labour management framework that offers the flexibility and adaptability to ensure peak workforce effectiveness irrespective of economic or market volatility.
To produce this, a growing number of businesses are turning to Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), or in some cases, both. While these partnership-based solutions focus, respectively, on meeting the contingent or permanent workforce needs of a business, they both deliver a large number of benefits that have long been enjoyed by many organisations in the UK and the US and are now becoming increasingly enjoyed by many South African businesses.
A lack of understanding of the offerings, and a perceived potential loss of control of workforce management hampered early adoption of MSP and RPO solutions in this country but in recent years, these misconceptions have largely been addressed. The outcome is likely to be a fundamental shift in the South African labour markets, as more and more businesses seek out the enhanced compliance, shared liability, administrative and cost-saving benefits of MSPs and RPOs.
It makes sense to understand the reasons for this growing appeal. After all, MSP and RPO services came about as a direct result of an identified need by companies for recruitment and labour management systems that simplified processes. Over time, these systems have developed into holistic outsourced solutions that are able to deliver proven strategic benefits in terms of enabling businesses to achieve their long-term goals.
While MSPs and RPOs may be relatively unknown within the South African business landscape, they are by no means new, which means that businesses in this country have the unique opportunity to all but revolutionise their talent management strategies using solutions that have been tried, tested and refined globally.
Adding to the steadily growing appeal of MSPs and RPOs in South Africa is the obvious service commitment benefit associated with these types of partnerships. Not only do these outsourced arrangements help to relieve the pressure often felt by overburdened human resources departments, the fact that they are governed by detailed service level agreements means businesses can rest assured of consistently good service, delivered by qualified experts whose core focus is on ensuring maximum workforce effectiveness for their clients.
Given the impact that the economic challenges of recent years have had on South African companies, particularly in terms of creating a much more fluid, dynamic and fast-changing global business environment, the need for equally dynamic and flexible labour acquisition and management systems goes without saying. For decades, corporate South Africa has recognised and promoted the fact that its people are its most vital and valuable asset; now, thanks to MSP and RPO solutions, organisations have a tried and tested method to leverage that asset fully and maximise the value it delivers for their business and all its stakeholders.