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Cielo: Reimagining & Redefining RPO


The pace of change in RPO and contingent worker outsourcing has been unprecedented in recent years due to technological advancements and the range of services expected by buyside organizations. Cielo recently organized a customer and analyst day to explore what talent acquisition (TA) might look like in the next five years.

Speaking with several of Cielo’s clients, they comment on Cielo’s enthusiasm to question the status quo and ask how things can be done better, and on its keenness to continuously improve and be future-fit while maintaining its core values.

Automation must complement high-touch service

Clients cite Cielo’s “WE BECOME YOU” mantra as a feature of its RPO service. They value the Candidate Impression Center and Bridge pre-employment service, established in 2010 to address pain points in the recruitment process (such as a lack of contact with candidates once they have applied for a job, and post-job offer before the employment start date). Given the current focus on candidate experience, remaining high-touch is key. With Cielo’s Candidate Impression Center, a chatbot now provides a response to the top 100 FAQs to save agents’ time, with humans doing more meaningful and highly personalized candidate-care work.

The RPO journey is becoming a Total Talent expedition

Cielo aims to adopt a partnership approach with clients, taking them on a journey of improving both efficiency and effectiveness in their recruitment processes. Enhancements to the service have included SkyRecruit, reporting and analytics (SkyAnalytics), Employer Branding (EB), and most recently consultancy services in areas such as TA strategy, tech advisory, marketing, and diversity and inclusion. The shortage of talent in many skills areas has spurred Cielo to look at alternative sources of talent such as contingent workers and developing existing employees to plug supply gaps, taking more of a total talent acquisition (TTA) approach.

Cielo is now taking the partnership approach to the next level with its Client Success Program.  Using Cielo’s Talent Acquisition Maturity Model, clients are presented with a scorecard to determine their position on the RPO/Total Talent journey at various points through the relationship. Using design thinking, Cielo undertakes a more strategic workforce planning (SWP) approach to better plan its clients’ hiring needs to help them improve their talent acquisition maturity.

Next-generation delivery – “Certified to Serve”

Cielo posits that delivery excellence requires more than expertise in sourcing talent and industry sector knowledge. In its “Certified to Serve” initiative, Cielo’s talent advisers are required to be knowledgeable in hiring process definitions, operating principles, talent options, payrolling/invoicing, plus information specific to the client. Those with more advanced skills can advise on SWP.

Enabled by technology or driven by technology… a matter of preference

Cielo has seen early traction with its more automated High Volume RPO (HVRPO) platform launched in 2018. Several clients are using HVRPO in conjunction with Cielo’s SkyRecruit platform, typically hiring in high volume for niche/specialized roles. Examples include:

  • A pharma that has made 4,000 hires through the HVRPO platform and has seen an 11% decrease in time to accept an offer
  • A food service company that has made 5,000 hires and saved 1.5 hours of hiring manager’s recruitment time per hire through tech-enabled screening.

While at present Cielo’s clients mainly leverage recruitment technology as an enabler with limited automation (confined to processes that are already successfully automated in the wider market, such as website apply, interview scheduling, etc.), Cielo anticipates that in future more of its clients will leverage Cielo’s HVRPO platform (with programmatic advertising, mobile apply and assessments, automated matching, interview scheduling, and offers/onboarding) to drive the hiring process.

The “Experience Marketing” experience

Successful hiring requires a talent attraction strategy (making use of EB services) along with candidate sourcing. Cielo’s clients have embraced what Cielo calls Talent Magnetism (recognizing the importance of websites, campaigns, social media, and EVP in the TA process). The next phase is Experience Marketing (focused on EB and communications), which tailors marketing and communications to the stakeholder (the client, hiring manager, candidate, and employee team member). 

What’s next?

Cielo has reimagined and redefined its RPO offering, but what will be next? With the global skills shortage worsening, the blurring of the lines between permanent and contingent hiring to secure talent to deliver a business outcome may no longer be enough. It is already apparent, with the accelerating sophistication of technology/tools, that the current workforce is not sufficiently digitally capable to embrace the tech-driven workplace of the future.

If the required talent cannot be bought or borrowed, then it will need to be built. Organizations have the choice to seek expert help from both recruitment and learning outsourcing vendors, but as seen with TTA, why would you leverage multiple providers to source talent when one provider could be more efficient, effective and cheaper (especially when the available talent plays in both pools)? Savvy RPO, MSP and TTA vendors could become Talent Management experts, blurring the lines between talent acquisition and talent development. Cielo aims to become a “Talent Outcomes and Talent Experience” company. Does that mean it will further reimagine and redefine its portfolio and become a Talent Management vendor? 

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