Mid-Market HRO is Hitting the Big Time

HR BPO has historically been targeted to and bought by large organizations.  However, the mid-market, defined by NelsonHall as 500 – 15,000 employees, is rapidly gaining traction.  How so?  In NelsonHall’s Targeting RPO Market Analysis, that was published this week, mid-market RPO grew from c. 1/5 of total revenue in 2008 to c. 1/3 in 2010.  The rapid growth is the result of mid-market clients looking to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Reducing the costs of HR services
  • Improving service delivery, including standardization of technology and consistency of process across lines of business and geography
  • Gaining access to better technology that clients may not be able to invest in themselves
  • Taking advantage of expertise and knowledge of best practices.

In fact, many HRO providers have introduced solutions or made acquisitions specifically for the mid-market.  In RPO, SourceRight Solutions launched RPO One for the small to medium-sized (SMB) market in December 2010.  Targeted at organizations with 100 – 5,000 employees, RPO One provides clients with a dedicated account manager and team focused on the SMB market.  It also has a pre-configured Peopleclick ATS (applicant tracking system) bundled with SourceRight’s reporting and analytics platform and Avature’s customer relationship management (CRM) system that includes social recruiting.

In payroll, NorthgateArinso recently launched agoHRa, a payroll solution for companies with up to 500 employees per country.  agoHRa can be used as a standalone local payroll solution or as part of a multi-country solution.  It can also be linked into NorthgateArinso’s euHReka platform.

In benefits, Aon Hewitt’s acquisition of RealLife HR was an early example of a provider expanding its services, particularly health and welfare benefits administration, to employers with fewer than 15,000 employees and/or retirees.  Mercer rolled out its Enterprise Momentum service to help mid-market employers gain an advantage navigating the insurance broker market.  In addition, Mercer acquired Innovative Process Administration in 2010 for its recordkeeping and enrollment technology as part of its growth plan in the health and benefits mid-market outsourcing space.

In learning, IBM is targeting the mid-market with a new offering, Smart Business Learning Services, a cloud-based solution with quick implementation and variable pricing.  Although it’s geared toward the mid-market, it offers all the services and functionality of an LMS for the large market.  IBM has also recently launched Smart Business Learning Content Services for the mid-market, which is delivered on the cloud as well and priced on a per user basis.

NelsonHall continues to see and capture mid-market HRO contract wins in our tracking service, providing evidence of success with this market.  Consequently, expect HRO providers to continue to launch offerings with cloud-age technology, services, and cost points that will finally bring mid-market HRO into the big time.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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One Comment on “Mid-Market HRO is Hitting the Big Time”


  1. […] and DC questions. And it’s not just large companies that need this expertise.  As I wrote in my February 25th blog, mid-market HRO is rapidly growing as […]


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