4 lies & a truth about RPO & MSP solutions


When it comes to workforce solutions, there are lots of misconceptions out there. Managed service provider (MSP) and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) programs can help organizations to transform contingent and perm workforce strategy, open up access to untapped talent pools, boost visibility, and reduce costs. But despite the huge benefits of the right workforce solution in the right place, many leaders feel nervous about the cost and potential complexity of implementing an MSP or RPO program. They might have heard whispered horror stories from colleagues who’ve chosen the wrong talent partner in the past or feel overwhelmed by the scale of workforce challenges ahead of them.

Let’s start at the beginning. What are MSP and RPO solutions? An MSP program provides end-to-end support across all or part of a company’s contingent workforce, from supplier management and onboarding to strategic workforce planning. MSP solutions are usually powered by vendor management system (VMS) technology. While RPO is focused on supporting an organization’s permanent talent function, empowering talent acquisition teams to extend their reach.

Recently, we’ve been getting under the skin of our MSP and RPO offering to share the unfiltered truth. (Check out what we’ve been up to, here.) In this blog, we take on some of the biggest myths around RPO and MSP solutions and share a fact about KellyOCG that you can’t afford to overlook.  

LIE 1: MSP and RPO solutions are ALL about cutting costs

Yes, an MSP can drive significant cost savings. A good contingent workforce partner will rationalize supply chains, implement rate cards, and build clear processes and controls to eliminate unnecessary spend. But a great partner will think much, much bigger, providing strategic advice and analysis of your current workforce that will improve visibility and help your organization to plan effectively for what’s next. Engaging an expert MSP is often a key step on the road to total talent management. Similarly, while RPO solutions can shrink time and cost-to-hire, a great partner will deliver customized and strategic support that delivers value across every part of the talent acquisition process.

LIE 2: MSP and RPO solutions are too expensive

When your temporary and perm talent budget is already stretched, the idea of implementing an expensive (and potentially complex) solution can feel like a step too far. But it’s a myth that these types of workforce solutions will break the bank. Take RPO solutions – first, they are hugely customizable, meaning you can access the level of support that’s right for your business and your budget. Second, RPO is very budget friendly when compared to contract recruitment – reducing costs by as much as 50%. When it comes to MSP, there are two key pricing models to consider: A supplier-funded model sees suppliers take on the cost of a program while gaining value in the form of efficiency and greater access to opportunities. Alternatively, client-funded models (often in the form of a monthly fee) can provide access to a wider range of technology and strategic support, generating greater cost-savings and value in the long-term. The real truth here is that no one funding model fits all – but the right partner will help an organization access a solution that overcomes their people challenges at a budget level that makes sense for their business.

LIE 3: You can implement VMS or ATS tech yourself and get the same results

MSP solutions are powered by VMS technology, while RPO relies on applicant tracking systems (ATS). So, why do you need a middleman? Just grab the tech and forget the solutions partner, right? Wrong. While the technologies that power MSP and RPO solutions are crucial – unless you have an enormous depth of workforce management expertise in-house – you need a provider to oversee and support a successful program. They can handle integrations with existing systems, ensure that data is captured and analyzed, and facilitate day-to-day operations. It’s tempting to go it alone, but in the long run, that can be more expensive, more complex, and, often, much messier.

LIE 4: Workforce solutions only make sense at an enterprise level

“We’re not big enough for this type of solution.” We hear this time and time again, and it’s a myth that needs tackling head on. Traditionally, the MSP market has been dominated by enterprise providers, operating at contingent spend levels of $50M+. Similarly, the RPO space has been shaped by solutions designed to tackle significant hiring volumes. We’re changing this picture, with our flexible and fast-moving KellyOCG GO MSP and GO RPO solutions designed for contingent talent spends from $5M and for businesses with hundreds of hires. Whatever your organization size and wherever you’re heading, the right workforce solutions partner will get you there faster.

TRUTH: Our MSP and RPO solutions are the best in the biz – honestly

It probably sounds like we’re blowing our own trumpet – and OK, we are – but when it comes to MSP and RPO expertise, we really are the best in the biz. We work with 90% of Fortune 100 companies, with 27 years of RPO and MSP success, and 99% RPO client retention plus 96% MSP client retention. We know workforce solutions, and we’re proud to have been innovating in this space for nearly three decades.

Don’t believe us? Find out what happened when we put our people under pressure with a lie detector test…the results might surprise you.



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