Points of View

KellyOCG: A Contrast in Forward Thinking Versus Legacy Operations

Jun 2, 2016 Barbra McGann

KellyOCG is on a mission to help companies manage a critical asset for any company—the talent. From what we learned at the recent KellyOCG Industry Analyst and Advisor Day, we believe the company has an innovative and thoughtful approach to doing so with its “talent supply chain management (TSCM),” and evolving advisory and analytics practices.


However, the service provider’s business process operations—BPO and RPO—seem to be moving forward at a slower pace, with little mention of how today’s value-levers, such as automation, cognitive computing, Design Thinking, flexible contracting models, or accessible analytics can impact its traditional “lift and shift” or staff augmentation-driven business process operations. 


The dialogue surrounding KellyOCG’s TSCM value proposition is centered on holistically managing an enterprise’s talent pool, including full time, part-time, contractor, contingent, service provider, and all types of labor categories.  KellyOCG does local research and partnership development around the world in order to provide a comprehensive view and ecosystem through its services. This partnership network includes 4,600 registered and active suppliers in 140 countries, and over $7 billion (2015) in total spend under management.The expertise itself is highly IT, industrial, and engineering oriented—which is the predominant growth area—with a small percentage of staff covering finance and healthcare. The BPO and RPO grew primarily out of the oil and gas industry, and expanded into other areas.


What shone throughout the day was the clear strategic focus and investment on talent supply chain management network, analytics (for clients) and new businesses in plug and play business services and advisory work.


Here are some highlights from the event:   


  1. Talent Supply Chain Management (TSCM): To provide TSCM, KellyOCG invests in local research on supply and demand—how  to assemble a relevant talent supply chain in the country (or countries) where the client does its business. There is a PMO or “Concierge” option if a client wants assistance. Components of the supply chain can be from KellyOCG (e.g., MSP, RPO, BPO) or third party partners. KellyOCG is also building a joint venture in Japan with Temp Holdings to expand its reach in APAC. Additionally, KellyOCG is exploring—although it didn’t provide specific examples—the incorporation of a “digital workforce” through robotic process automation and artificial intelligence in the supply chain. These factors are helping the service provider move towards supporting a holistic and diverse talent supply chain.

  2. Analytics: KellyOCG has built a dashboard on top of a significant database of client and partner data, and can slice and dice and drill down quite easily in a user-friendly manner to do workforce analytics on contingent labor. Unfortunately, the database does not include full-time employee data for a client, unless the client provides access. However, for many companies, including clients in the room, this initial view of the contractor / contingent labor already addresses a significant gap.

  3. Advisory: A small contingency of advisors is taking shape within KellyOCG to work with clients on business strategy-related talent issues. For example, validating the composition of a team to address a specific business problem at an oil and gas client; or helping to chart the source for mechanical engineers in a particular state over time.  During a client panel, one executive talked about how KellyOCG helped bridge a gap and coordinate between HR and Procurement, which are frequently at odds in the recruiting space.

  4. Plug and Play Business Services: KellyConnect is a new customer service offering that gives clients access to customer service “in the cloud”—agents who use cloud-based software to support customer service, inside sales or IT help desk in “microshifts.”  Staffers can sign up for “bursts” such as two-hour shifts, and contracts are based on CSAT and utilization, for example. KellyOCG expects that this approach could appeal to the increasing numbers of “free agents” in the workforce, especially those with highly sought after skills such as medical writing in pharmaceuticals, data science, or specialized IT programming or engineering. Tying into research the service provider did that shows around 31% of the workforce—and increasing—is now made up of “free agents,” KellyOCG is interested in how to keep the future workforce motivate and engaged. How does a company create a corporate culture when the workforce is increasingly fluid?


While much of the discussion centered on the specifics in building networks, flexible capacity, analytics support, and advisory services, RPO and BPO still seem to operate in a “fill the white space” staff augmentation role or “lift and shift” model, creating a portfolio of contracts with few standards. KellyOCG now has an opportunity to revolutionize these capabilities to break free of the shackles of obsolete processes and technology.