There are no offshoring decisions that can be made without HR involvement, experts have said.
Nigel Fretwell, group employee relations director for Barclays, said the process of offshoring involved many decisions that have an impact on people.
Considerations such as choosing a country, understanding the legislation and industrial relations issues, mean that HR has to be at the top table, he said
The decisions taken impact on staff and communities in the UK and the offshoring country, Fretwell said. This impacts on the business brand.
"If you believe what you read, the value of an organisation is tied up its brand, not in its physical resources. This could have huge potential impact on the whole reputation and value of your organisation," he said.
Alan Davis, director of HR at BT Retail, advised delegates to trust and engage with employees and unions early in the process to get buy-in.
He also warned that HR should beware of setting a 'ceiling' by declaring how many jobs would be offshored, as unions would see that as a figure that must not be exceeded.
HR's key learning points
- Develop a clear strategy
- HR equal to all other work
- Engage with staff/unions
- Manage the people impacts
- Ensure you have the resources
- Don't underestimate timescale
- Rewards may not be immediate
- Treat suppliers as partners
- Understand the implications