Your RPO and You: Guidelines for Writing Effective SLAs

Service level agreements (SLAs) are a critical component of any vendor contract. An SLA summarizes all of the contracted services and the agreed-upon expectations into a single document. It clearly states metrics and responsibilities, so it ensures both sides have the same understanding of requirements. When you’re working with an RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) partner,a good SLA will help both sides work from a common understanding of what success in the partnership looks like.

What should be included in a good SLA?

Your first step should be to discuss expectations with your RPO and commit to a definition of mutual success. Lay out procedures that will be open and transparent.

Next, you need to establish a baseline. Start by assessing what your recruitment performance has been historically, prior to working with this RPO. If you don’t have data available to help you create benchmarks, ask your RPO partner to provide experiential data based on their work with similar customers.

If you do have information you can use, share your past performance metrics with your RPO and explain what expectations stakeholders may still have based on those.

Once you’ve figured out how you define success, you get to the meat of the SLA: plotting a course for how you’ll achieve your shared goals. What are the key factors that will help you reach them? What are the primary objectives? Once you’ve identified your desired outcomes, break them down into specific behaviors. For example, if your time-to-fill is 60 days, specific SLAs that would support achieving this would be: “Feedback must be provided within 48 hours” and “No more than three candidates may be submitted.” Be sure that the behaviors and words you use are measurable. Most of all, be realistic in your expectations.

What else is important in an SLA?

Flexibility! Never assume that an SLA needs to be carved in stone. You and your RPO should review your SLA regularly, at agreed-upon intervals, to determine whether it needs updating. For example, if your company’s business strategy changes from minimal growth to dynamic growth, the focus of your talent strategy may need to change. Instead of keeping a deep bench of succession candidates for pivotal roles, you may need your RPO to speed up time-to-fills or find highly skilled candidates in challenging geographical regions. And that will mean that the behaviors driving results will need to change.

At the minimum, review your SLA annually. In the meantime, you can discuss performance with your RPO and find solutions to address any gaps that exist.

Any more questions on how to work best with an RPO or MSP? Contact CSSvSource. We’ve been providing world-class Managed Staffing Programs (MSP) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) services since 2007.