Staff must be kept involved during offshore deals

Employers
have been urged to work harder to secure support from staff when negotiating
controversial offshore outsourcing contracts.

Common
mistakes made by organisations include not being open with staff about
outsourcing plans from the start and, in the worst cases, employees finding out
about an offshore deal by reading an article in the press, according to the
National Outsourcing Association (NOA).

With
a growing number of UK companies moving functions such as IT and administration
to lower-cost countries, such as India, managers need to be prepared to help to
negotiate and sell a deal to the workforce, the NOA said.

Unions
have threatened strike action if offshore agreements result in compulsory redundancies,
and many organisations are reluctant to publicise offshore deals.

Companies
should form a management ‘Swat’ team that co-ordinates communication about an
offshore deal to staff and the media, according to Kerry Hallard, director of
communications at the NOA.

Companies
need to have an open-door policy after a deal is announced, allocating time for
managers to answer employees’ questions and concerns.

"If
you have disharmony in the workforce it can spread like wildfire,” she said.

By
Daniel Thomas

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