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Grow Your Business Through Manpower Staffing Services

Posted on 04/06/2018 by

By Joshua Yim


Will Singapore ever be able to solve its talent and manpower crunch?

This has been a perennial question debated by policymakers, business owners, and human resource professionals ever since Singapore embarked on its journey of economic restructuring many years ago.

These manpower woes have been compounded by the foreign worker curbs and things are only going to get worse as the global talent shortage intensifies. According to the recent Global Talent Crunch Study by consulting firm Korn Ferry, Singapore’s total labour deficit is expected to hit 1.09 million by 2030, resulting in a total unrealised output of $142.51 billion.

As the labour market landscape continues to evolve, the multifaceted and difficult nature of talent attraction requires a more strategic approach. One possible solution to help businesses ease the growing challenges of talent acquisition is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which has been gaining momentum in recent years.

In recruitment-oriented BPO, a company outsources its hiring needs to a manpower staffing agency such as Achieve Group, and the job agency undertakes the entire recruitment process on behalf of the client. This goes beyond the search and acquisition process where the staff are even hired on the job agency’s payroll, and the job agency is responsible for the employees’ performance and results. 

For example, if an FMCG multinational company is planning to launch a new cosmetic brand and needs to recruit a team of sales promoters to promote it at beauty chains and specialist stores, they could assign Achieve the BPO project in which we assume responsibility of finding, hiring and managing the manpower, as well as delivering on the sales targets.

As we would be accountable for meeting the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set out by the client, we would also be responsible for training the staff beyond the basic product training which is usually conducted by the client company. This includes sales and soft skills training. All the client has to do is determine the volume of sales they are targeting, or how many SKUs they wish to move, and it is our job to devise a sales commission scheme to effectively incentivise the sales force and keep them motivated in order to meet the KPIs. The job agency thus has a bigger stake in ensuring that this hired workforce delivers results, while the client can pawn off all the headache and hassle of having to manage these contract staff to the job agency. Ultimately, BPO allows the client to focus on their core competencies and get on with the business of being a business.

Such BPO assignments tend to be volume- and project-based, with a timeframe of three to six months and even up to a year. They are also more prevalent in a manpower-tight market like Singapore’s, and more often deployed during the festive seasons, in view of heightened needs for manpower then.

For companies considering such BPO support services, I would recommend they engage the manpower staffing agency at least six months before the contract staff are required to commence work, as advance planning and strategising will need to be conducted between the client and staffing agency.

I would also add that such BPO projects can be complex and involve a high degree of project management skills. Therefore, be sure to select a manpower staffing agency that is experienced and well-versed in such recruitment-oriented BPO to avoid missteps and mishandling of the project. Look for an agency that has a good track record and has completed similar BPO assignments within your industry. It is also important to look into the credentials and experience of the consultant or consultants who will be handling your project. There are many issues that could potentially crop up during the course of the project so it helps to ensure that the BPO provider is experienced in managing a project of this nature, and is able to meet the KPIs you set so that the project runs smoothly and successfully from start to finish.

In view of the above, BPO may actually be the best solution for the many companies that have been griping about the added difficulties in securing contract staff due to the foreign worker quotas.

BPO CASE STUDIES

The Singapore Grand Prix is a good example of when recruitment-oriented BPO ought to be deployed. With so many logistics to coordinate from the technical set-up and participation of the various racing teams to the hospitality offerings and music performances, the organiser of such large-scale events would usually prefer for a manpower staffing agency to take care of all its staffing matters to ensure smooth operations and event success. I estimate a staff strength of around 300 to 500 would be needed to run the three-day F1 event, with the manpower agency handling the entire end-to-end process of finding, hiring, training, managing, and even disciplining the staff if need be.

We recently had a very interesting BPO project at Achieve in which a well-known electronics brand launched a campaign to send its technicians to the homes of its customers to offer free servicing for a particular category of appliances that its customers had purchased.

The initial plan was to engage a database of customers dating back to 2008 but through the efforts of the workforce of 30 to 50 technicians that Achieve sourced and activated, it soon became apparent that this was not the most effective course of action as many of the original customers were no longer residing at the addresses provided on the database.

Using feedback from our staff on the ground and the technical issues they were encountering, we evaluated the situation together with the client and the project took a different direction, evolving into a massive marketing drive to help our client, already a popular household name, gain more marketshare instead.

The project headcount was boosted to 150 to 200 Customer Service Engineers (CSE) who went door-to-door providing free servicing to the households that owned the brand’s appliance, while offering those that did not own the brand’s appliance the opportunity to enjoy a discounted rate when they traded in their existing models for an equivalent from our client.

It proved to be a very successful marketing drive, with the CSEs visiting up to 700,000 households across Singapore over a timeframe of eight months, up from the one month that had been originally planned for.

The project had evolved to such a scale that went far beyond recruitment, extending to end-to-end support and management of the entire project including managing the day-to-day work processes of each staff, reporting of figures and hit rates, and soft skills training on how to improve the “conversion rates” of the households.

It was indeed a challenging example of a BPO project for both the client and our recruitment consultants, but both parties came away with a tremendous sense of growth and achievement for pushing the boundaries and achieving results that had not even been imagined at the start of the project.

5 BENEFITS OF ENGAGING A MANPOWER STAFFING AGENCY

While BPO is one of the higher level manpower staffing services offered by established recruitment agencies, there are numerous other benefits to engaging a job agency to handle your company’s general recruitment needs. Here are the top five: 

1. Greater reach and larger candidate pool

When working with a job agency, you can always expect to be presented with a larger pool of quality candidates thanks to the greater reach delivered by the various search and recruitment tools at their disposal. 

Internally, job agencies have their own database collected over time, the size of which often commensurating with the number of years the agency has been in business. 

They also tap into multiple sources for candidates. In addition to standard job portals and LinkedIn, they comb through the various social media platforms and supplement these search strategies with headhunting skills for positions that are tougher to fill.

At the end of the day, what the hiring company wants are quality candidates. And because of the scale of our reach, I would say that within Achieve Group at least, we are able to double the average volume of quality candidates delivered to the client.

2. Speed and accuracy of the search

With access to a larger candidate pool, job agencies are also able to deliver quality candidates with greater speed, efficiency and accuracy than if the company were to undertake the search and recruitment process on its own. For example, if the client/company ordinarily takes one week to sieve through and shortlist its candidates, a job agency such as Achieve will take three days to find the right crop of potential candidates for them.

3. Economies of scale

Due to the sheer volume of positions that job agencies need to fill, they enjoy greater economies of scale when it comes to advertising spend. This reduces the cost of advertising per placement, and therefore stretches your advertising dollar across multiple ads and job portals. This also contributes to the greater speed and accuracy in which good quality candidates are delivered to the client. 

4. Reduced opportunity costs for client

We know that the opportunity cost of leaving a position vacant can be very high for an organisation. Business needs to keep running, work needs to get done and workers are needed to produce output. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that the right manpower are recruited in a timely fashion. By outsourcing your recruitment process to a job agency, positions get filled faster and this reduces the opportunity costs of leaving a position vacant for too long. 

5. Longer tenure of new hires

In general terms, it is likely that hires recommended by a manpower staffing agency may stay with the hiring company longer than if recruited through the company’s own internal hiring process. In our experience as a leading job agency in Singapore, candidates we refer to clients may stay with the hiring company about 20% to 30% longer on average. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that we are able to provide a larger selection of higher quality candidates for them to choose from in the first place. From there, clients will be able to gauge from the candidates’ track records whether they are job-hoppers or more likely to stay the course. It thus follows that when talent acquisition is done right, talent retention will also be enhanced.

The advantages of outsourcing your recruitment, be it for BPO or general placements, are indeed manifold. Why not offload your manpower staffing worries to a job agency and free up time and resources to focus on growing your business instead?