Why Choose A MSP Or RPO?

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Posting date: 24 September 2019
Increasingly, more businesses are choosing Recruitment Managed Services (MSPs or RPOs). Staffing Industry Analyst’s latest research shows there was 11% growth in 2016 in MSPs and 13% in RPOs. 

But if you are interested in these Recruitment Managed Services navigating the terminology and services on offer can be tricky and time-consuming, especially in this competitive and acronym-loving industry.

Before you choose either an MSP (Managed Service Provider) or a RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) understanding the implications, benefits and opportunities is essential.

In a three-part series, we explain the acronyms, help you build the business case, understand the process and explore examples and experience from the field.

This is your go-to guide for understanding and utilising these services and everything you need to convince stakeholders this is the right move for you.

What is a Recruitment Managed Service?


A Recruitment Managed Service (RMS) can help you manage a large supplier base or supplement an internal resourcing team. It can also allow you to partially or fully outsource the recruitment of permanent and contingent resource to the experts.

The solutions are designed to release capacity and resource back into your team by running end-to-end, from requirement approval to off-boarding.

Within the Recruitment Managed Services offering sit two distinct services. Managed Service Programmes (MSPs) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPOs). Here’s how Harvey Nash defines them.

Managed Service Programmes (MSPs) bring you the best talent while saving you time and money.

An MSP is predominantly for contingent resources. These services bring together talent from multiple sources, identify the most appropriate people for your roles and present you with the best people from across the marketplace.

The Harvey Nash MSP is a single engagement, multi-sourced model. The service manages all your contractors and suppliers, taking end-to-end responsibility for your contingent workforce.

When run efficiently by experienced practitioners, a MSP reduces complexity and provides significant cost savings. It allows your staff to concentrate on their day jobs whilst providing you with ‘recruitment-as-a-service’ and delivering you the very best people for your roles.

This service includes:

a single contract
a single commercial model
uniform governance structures
consolidated invoicing
supplier management
employer branding and marketing

Pop-Up MSPs. A project-based version of the Managed Service Provider solution.

The core function here is the same as a traditional MSP except it will come to an end once the project is complete. Pop-Up MSPs have definite start and end dates and predefined objectives. It is ideal if you need to:

quickly ramp up recruitment activity in reaction to change requirements, projects or contracts
prepare for a spike in recruitment or times when demand outweighs capacity

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) seamlessly integrates with your business

An alternative to managing your own recruitment team, an RPO provides you with a dedicated onsite team who will manage your talent attraction, acquisition and retention strategies for either or both your permanent and contingent workforce.

The RPO model can be blended with our MSP model for complete talent management. Increasingly more clients are discussing this approach and Staffing Industry Analyst predicts this is the future of the Recruitment Managed Services.

Why Implement a MSP or RPO?  Seven Core Reasons

You need to support a cost-saving exercise

A RMS can reduce costs on multiple levels.

If you’re overspending on suppliers or contractors or spend is unknown or inaccurate, a Recruitment Managed Solution can offer economies of scale and give you a single supplier through which to leverage volume against spend.

It can also help with benchmarking. If you’re unsure what you should be spending, this model ensures you’re paying the right marketplace rates.

In addition, if recruitment is being solely managed by your line managers, it can be an ineffective use of their time. Outsourcing the weight of this through a RMS removes this burden and the associated indirect costs.  

Furthermore, advertising and marketing costs are transferred to your RMS supplier, saving you additional spend and time, whilst also delivering broader reach and wider penetration into the marketplace. Harvey Nash Recruitment Solutions utilises bespoke microsites and video advertising to support their client’s recruitment goals.

You need to increase capacity

Perhaps you’re about to experience a spike in recruitment and don’t have the internal capacity to support the exercise. Maybe you’ve won a new project or are relocating. A RPO or MSP increases the capacity of your internal team, giving you the means to deliver the project on time and budget.

You want to harness specialist capabilities

In a tech- and digital-led business, specialist skills and capabilities are required and leaders often see wide capability gaps. Digital transformation programmes are a good example of this. Brexit, relocating, mergers and system changes are too.

When legacy software and processes need to evolve, a RMS can help you recruit the right specialists with options to outsource the project, use contractors, train your own people or bring in permanent employees.

You want to improve your recruitment process

A broken recruitment process frustrates candidates and hiring manages and damages your employer brand. Acting as part of your team and as an ambassador of your brand, a MSP or RPO relieves the pressure with a ready-to-go agile solution that ensures an efficient recruitment process.

It is no longer the case that large and established organisations have the pick of the best talent, but rather those with an agile and engaging recruitment pathway.

With experienced RMS practitioners alongside you, you’ll notice an instant shift in your day-to-day processes and the ability to find and recruit the right people.

You need to improve compliance

How much are we spending? Is our workforce compliant? We need to replace our contractors with perms.

Recent changes in legislation make getting a handle on governance, spend and risk a priority. Reducing risk is one of the main drivers for implementing a MSP or RPO. A RMS offers you this insight through audits and reporting. Established and compliant processes ensure your workforce operates within the relevant laws and guidelines.

You want to replace contractors with perms

Whether this decision is driven by cost, a change in your operational model or the desire to bring knowledge in-house, a RMS helps build your future workforce by facilitating planning through to talent attraction and acquisition.

You want a system to manage your recruitment activity and centralise information

Implementing an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or a VMS (Vendor Management System) is an excellent way of achieving visibility, control and management information across all your recruitment activities. Realtime access to good data allows you to make better decisions surrounding your workforce. A system combined with an RMS can help you achieve this.

What’s driving you to explore the power of Recruitment Managed Services?

To understand how to choose the right RMS partner for you, read the second article in our series, ‘Choosing a Recruitment Managed Service Provider.