The Value and Ease of Benchmarking your MSP or RPO partner

As the recruitment market evolves, and your organisation alongside it, you may be asking yourself whether what once worked for you still does – and if benchmarking is the answer. Your current contract could be coming up for renewal, you might be experiencing new challenges, or you might be simply wondering what else is out there. In some cases, you may feel you’re not as important of a client as you once were – as I explored in my previous blog – and plan to act. Whatever your reasons for broadening your horizon, in my final blog of the series, I offer my advice on how best to benchmark your RPO or MSP provider and reveal just how easy it can be to assess your current service whilst learning about new potential partners.

Exploring the market – why benchmark?

Benchmarking can be formal or informal, but usually consists of an exploratory exercise where you ask a closed group of potential partners to submit a short proposal detailing how they would work with you and what their fees would be, which you can use as a comparison point for your current service. It’s a great way of gathering information about the market to better understand how your current service is performing and what other options and enhancements might be out there. In many cases, benchmarking can help you to elevate your existing service and identify areas of improvement to focus on with your current partner. As a result, many benchmarking exercises result in a customer maintaining their current provider and working together to hone the solution. Occasionally, however, benchmarking instead helps you recognise that a different RPO or MSP partner may be better suited to your needs and gives you the option then to decide whether to embark on a formal tender process.

Effectively, benchmarking helps to answer the question: is the grass really greener?

I believe there is real value to be found in speaking to alternative suppliers – there is always a return on your investment. In addition to getting a measure of your current partner, benchmarking them against competitors will help you understand challenges in the market and how different providers are tackling them, potential areas for improvement, and new trends in the resourcing world. It can be easy to become slightly removed from market trends, and benchmarking can provide the perspective needed for new ideas – which can then be implemented with your current provider, or a new partner.

How does it work?

An ideal way to assess what’s right for your business is to pick between 2-3 potential organisations who may be able to offer a fresh approach. It’s sensible to select a range of sizes and provider specialisms to your current MSP or RPO partner to get a broad view of the market. The more information and data you can provide partners with on what you’re looking for, the more accurate their proposals.

At Lorien, when asked to participate in a benchmarking process, we do the heavy lifting and provide you with a list of all the essential and desirable information we need in order to model a solution. We then build a short proposal that will help you to visualise what a partnership between Lorien and your business could look and feel like – covering everything from our proposed account team structure, target operating model, key bios, implementation approach, technology, and additional value add techniques we can bring. We will share indicative costs, and (if you can provide us with some basic spend data), we can also give estimated cost savings. As discussions progress and if you’re comfortable to engage in more detail, we will offer presentations, workshops, Q&A sessions, and technology demos to bring our proposal to life.

Exploring the market also provides a great opportunity to review alternative solutions as you speak with challengers to the usual providers and partners who specialise in your pain point areas – for example technology and digital. You can even conduct your benchmarking according to specific challenges you are facing, such as reducing cost-per-hire or finding niche talent, to see how different players would tackle the same problems. For instance, as a specialist in tech and digital talent solutions at scale, Lorien’s RPOs and MSPs often boast direct delivery rates in excess of 85% whilst still offering agility and flexibility - a competitive advantage that many enterprise providers would struggle to replicate.

One of the best things about benchmarking is that beyond providing feedback, it is obligation-free! I’ve found during these discussions that some customers realise quickly that things are far from broken with their current partner and have gone on to work collaboratively with them to find ways to bring cost down with cost control initiatives.

Either way, by the end of our discussions, you will be equipped with all the tools to make an informed decision on the future of your current partnership.

Keeping your partner in the loop

If you’re ready to start a benchmarking process, you may wonder whether you should feel obliged to tell your existing supplier that you’re exploring other options. In short – no. There is no obligation to inform them of your exploratory initiative – but many customers do choose to do so to give their supplier the option to re-propose their service or leverage a better deal. What you share with your current partner, and how much, is subjective based on your relationship and the level of service you are receiving today. I personally believe that sharing this information provides your current partner with a motivation for them to curate a better deal for your business, however it is dependent on your feelings and the closeness of your partnership today.

Selecting a new RPO or MSP provider can be a time-consuming and energy intensive process. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your current provider, but you aren’t sure what else is out there or whether you’re ready to make the leap, benchmarking can be a useful activity to learn more about prospective partners and see where you could be missing out.

If you are interested in learning more about Lorien’s MSP and RPO services, click here. We also offer many other talent solutions which are available to view here. If you have any queries or further questions, please contact me at

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