HR ‘must outsource’ to gain strategic foothold

HR must outsource its more administrative and transactional aspects if it is
to become a strategic business partner.

Ian Muir, vice-president of group HR policy at Cable & Wireless Global,
told delegates in Harrogate that outsourcing should be used as a vehicle to
drive organisational change and enhance the perception of HR.

Earlier this year Muir signed a £40m outsourcing deal with e-peopleserve to
provide HR services to C&W’s 15,000 staff in the US and UK.

Muir said the company decided to go down the outsourcing route "to
deliver better business solutions by gaining a performance edge through

C&W also hopes to save £5m through the five-year contract by contracting
out its payroll, HR admin, recruitment, e-HR delivery and parts of training.

The company transferred 93 HR staff to the outsourcing firm and retained 170
to run the strategic HR function, which includes internal communications,
management and organisational development, and employee relations.

Muir said HR’s real skills lay in change management, project management and
internal consultancy. He added that companies which take strategic HR seriously
tend to attract and retain staff better.

He urged HR professionals to run their departments as an internal business
consultancy focusing on performance, outputs, efficiency and results that
demonstrate a value-added approach.

Reiterating the company’s commitment to HR, Muir said: "People are the
only assets whose value increases with us."

However, Muir warned delegates to check staff turnover among the outsourcer
and implement measures to ensure knowledge of the business is not lost.

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