The outsourcing myth
Outsourcing has hung around our profession for a while. And it is easy to see why it’s an attractive proposition for a number of reasons:
- For the CFO it removes headcount and overhead
- For the HRD it allows the focus to shift to strategy
- For the CEO it provides consistent service and support
Which in many senses is an organisational wet dream.
And whilst many organisations have moved away from the third-party outsource, they are, instead, setting up internal service models to provide HR services back in to the main organization. The insourced, outsource, if you’d like.
I’ve never quite been able to get my head around this. The arguments are simple and yet at the same time completely contradictory to the demands that I hear from line managers, employees and CEOs whenever I talk to them.
- We want someone there to support us, someone who understands our business
- We want to be treated like human beings, not part of a process
- We want HR to be closer to the business
The simple process of moving HR services in to a separate organization, in to a separate location and away from the rest of the organization is directly in conflict with every single opinion trend that there is. Yet still we persist.
For most employees, the only contact they have with HR is on a transactional basis. The way in which we are perceived is based on this and the data that we need to understand our organization comes through these interactions. It just makes no sense whatsoever.
Rather than pushing away the bits of HR that seem like an inconvenience, we should be looking to drive service excellence. Rather than pushing it out in to some shed in the middle of a godforsaken town with “low labour costs” (for this read high unemployment), we should be pulling this in to our core.
Outsourcing has a beautifully convenient appeal. But as a wise person said, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”.