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Monday, January 30, 2012

How should we best treat outsourced staff?


As the pressure to improve performance gains momentum, employers are seeking more creative ways of ensuring they remain focused on their core business. Many have realised that by coordinating all functions at the work place can be a daunting task and hence seek to outsource some of the tasks they consider non-core. Depending on the company’s engagements, these could include logistics, security, cleaning and cafeteria management. 

As you evaluate your choices and decisions in outsourcing different components of your operations, you will need to consider the advantages and challenges of outsourcing. When done for the right reasons and in the right manner, outsourcing will actually help your company grow and save resources. There however are concerns that arise with the management of outsourced services.

It is a concern among many workers that companies apparently do not consider the outsourced staff as part of their core teams. With this perception, companies do not involve the outsourced staff in the appreciation of the company’s strategy since it is thought that they have little value to add to it. But is this truly the case? Should outsourced staff be treated to some extent, as part of the company’s team? What information should they be provided with to ensure they better understand what the company is involved in and in what forums should they be included to ensure they feel part of the company’s team agenda?

These are critical concerns that elicit lots of debates (just as I am sure this article will). Should the outsourcing company for instance be concerned about the welfare of the outsourced staff, or should the concern lie only on the performance of the persons. Do the outsourcing companies have any obligation over the outsourced staff or should that be the ‘headache’ of the outsourced institution? If the outsourcing company gets concerned about the outsourced staff, does it imply it is usurping the role of the outsourced agency? We need to strike a balance.

According to Organisational Development Specialists at Act! (www.act.or.ke), it is critical for the outsourcing company to appreciate that as much as it has outsourced the function from another, it is to its advantage to ensure that the outsourced staff blend well with the rest of the team and appreciate the company’s mission.  The services of the outsourced staff are not isolated from the rest of the staff in the company’s payroll. The outsourced staff should be well briefed about the outsourcing organisation’s strategy and values to better represent the brand.

The challenge however is in the determination of the level of engagement that the outsourcing company should have with the outsourced staff. If they get too involved in the affairs of the outsourced company, it may end up erasing the rationale for outsourcing yet complete withdrawal could affect brand ownership by all who develop with it. 

All staff working in your company should be well motivated regardless of whether they are on your payroll or not. Adequate motivation makes the staff produce desired results. Companies that outsource should realize that the delivery of the expected results is directly implemented by the individual staff who is assigned roles at the company and not by the outsourced company’s head office. The outsourcing company should hence seek ways of motivating the outsourced staff for better and efficient results.

1 comment:

  1. This is indeed incisive. However, I am more persuaded to hold that companies have no reason to engage staff from the outsourced company in a way beyond their service delivery-the purpose for which they are outsourced. Any level of engagement will somehow involve a certain element of "coordination" and thus negating the logic for outsourcing.

    Secondly, the outsourced staff are already brand ambassadors for their companies and the particular service they are providing and so briefing them with the intention of having them espouse the organization's strategy is too much. Indeed, as you say it, determining the level of engagement is a challenege. A challenge any organization should avoid at all cost.

    Nevertheless, if this sort of engagement with outsourced staff must be present, then the way to break down the challenege is to tailor the engagement to the service being offered.The more detached the service from the core strategy and contact with the organization's stakeholders, the less engagement and vice versa.

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