“Companies in business services and outsourcing, we believe provide nice secular growth and have some resilience to a generally difficult economy.” — David Kaslow
Two weeks ago I posted my thoughts on the The A + B = C’s of Outsourcing, detailing best practices to implement as you prepare to outsource your company’s work or operations.
As expansive as that post is, there are more ideas worth exploring after you’ve committed.
Set The Right Tone
Let’s assume you have a heart, it beats, and that it did so pretty hard and fast for the weeks leading up to the announcement that you’ll be letting most of your staff go. One of the terms of the agreement with your outgoing employees could have been: Train your successors while you perform your duties through the end date and there will be a generous severance package upon your departure.
That is certainly a fair way to entice on-the-job training and ensure a successful transition. It also sets the tone for the remaining weeks or months.
You’ll undoubtedly get receive disgruntled feedback and some workers may leave before the transition date. Still, those who stay will hopefully be adults about the situation and do enough to uphold the agreement. It’s in their best interest, especially if they want good referrals from their department leaders.
Provide Ample Time
“The A + B = C’s of Outsourcing” features a section about extending deadlines for outgoing employees. There is, of course, a way to keep that from happening: Make those deadlines realistic. If part of the employment agreement with outgoing employees is for them to train their successors, make the end date manageable for both parties. The department heads – who’ll be sticking around – should be able to give you a pragmatic timetable for their respective groups.
End Dates Should Be Very Carefully Chosen
I understand the desire to be indiscriminate. You want to show that you are comfortable and completely confident in your decision, no matter how unpopular it may be. Depending on your business and your industry, that approach might work in your favor.
Still, I have seen large companies use that approach and I think it’s a set-up for failure. Each department is unique and have their busy seasons. If a theoretical six-month expiration date falls in the middle of a major annual project I would consider granting an extension to a specific group. If I were running an accounting firm, I can assure you I would not outsource my work between January 1 and April 15 of any given year. It’s not prolonging the agony, it’s being strategic with the resources. Why would I make the first round of tax season any more difficult than it needs to be? Even if analysts urged you to cut everyone loose on one date, trust your gut and make exceptions.
Know The New Location
Whether the your new workers will be overseas or domestic, you should have personally toured their facilities’ grounds, looking out for:
- The hardware needed to get the work done. Your IT department should have equipped the outsourcing company. It should have been tested in the weeks leading up to the start date. Get your firewalls up so we can get to work, interrupted.
- Other tenants in the building. The roster may have changed since your last visit. It’s always nice to know who will be sharing space in your floor or building, especially if it might be a competitor. Your company’s privacy is extremely valuable, in and out of your new floor. If it was possible to guarantee that a competitor could not have operations on the same floor, update the agreement with the host company or the landlord.
- Your new workers’ conduct should also be mindful of that privacy. You might want to prohibit flash drives, for example, or block certain web sites from their browsers. I’ve heard of outsourcing companies and locations that completely prohibit cell phones on their floors. The workers clock in, drop their belongings in a locker, and get to their posts. It might sound a bit cynical but if that’s what it takes to ensure your company’s progress, then that’s what you enact. No one should be updating their social media status on your dime.
To further discuss best practices for outsourcing, contact us.