Richard Houghton explains why an outsourcing partnership could be just what you’re looking for
Over the past couple of years, there has been a fair amount of disagreement about the benefits of outsourcing the HR function.
Some in the HR community are resistant to hand over their ‘bread and butter’ to a third party. However, many organisations taking the outsourcing option have seen greater innovation, reduced costs and tighter controls.
It all seems far too difficult to me. Why should I bother?
Three reasons: cost, service and strategy. The pressures on companies to reduce costs and keep reducing them are growing day by day. This is being matched by a greater demand for improvement in service levels and technology.
Add to this the need for HR to become more involved in strategy, to take a proactive role in planning what skills are needed, to maximise its use of resources, and to support senior management in their attempts to attract, develop and retain top talent, and you have a challenging environment.
Why is outsourcing a solution?
Placing the management of utility tasks in the hands of outsourcing professionals means that HR managers can focus on strategic challenges.
The most effective outsourcing relationship is a partnership, with the partner shouldering some of the financial risk by sharing costs. An outsourcing partner will inject key skills and manage implementation, provide state-of-the-art technology and be fully accountable for top class service provision.
Is there an alternative?
Do-it-yourself. But it’s not all plain sailing. You want to make radical improvements to the service you provide to staff - which means you need to make fundamental changes to your HR procedures and the people that manage them.
Typically, you’ll encounter resistance and dissent from those you work with day in, day out. Change is more acceptable when introduced from outside; DIY falters when there is no party with an external vantage point to manage change effectively and for the long-term.
As service providers themselves, the outsourcers instil a service mentality among the HR wo