“Master your strengths, outsource your weakness.” – Ryan Kahn
After careful consideration and months of consultations and analysis, you have decided to outsource many of the non-executive positions in your company overseas or to a staffing firm.
You may have done this for many reasons — most likely you forecast long-term savings and the ability to keep the company open for business. Though you are in this odd spot, you at least have those trusted key employees to oversee the impacted departments and functions that generate revenue, ensure quality and satisfy clients.
No matter how generous your severance packages were — if at all — it’s safe to assume that the transition will not be smooth. There are too many intricacies to tally. Even if the outgoing employees provided instruction sheets to help train the replacements, you have to prepare as if they didn’t.
Here are some tips to to help you keep your company on track during this difficult time.
Know the Ins and Outs
Each department director should know who performed what function, how they did it, and how they connect. The “how they did it” part is probably the most intricate. The overseer needs to put him/herself in the worker’s shoes. Even if it means spending a day to do it, this will help troubleshoot and isolate problems, especially in situations where there is a language or cultural barrier. Unless you’ve eliminated a group entirely, an individual’s functions may not have been eradicated — just possibly shifted to another position.
It’s Okay to Micromanage at First
You should anticipate that not every bit of information was communicated nor absorbed. It could be something very simple like remembering to send a specific email when a project completes. Whatever the case or function may be, there was a reason for it. There will likely still be a reason for it in the future, too. Now that you know the “B” of A + B = C, it just requires some repetition. Make sure the new workers know the ‘B,’ as well as its importance, until they are self-sufficient.
Make Extensions or Exceptions
Some groups may need more help than others and if you can determine the groups who truly need the extra bodies instead of those who just want it, extending the end date to some employees may be a good move. But if the date has passed and you don’t want to renege…
This may seem counterintuitive and may also raise some eyebrows. Scour LinkedIn and other professional networking websites to see if former employees who may not have been let go are still available as consultants.
I know someone who in January of this year left a media/publishing company after 10 years to go elsewhere. Two major events happened within eight months of his departure: The company outsourced his old responsibilities, along with the jobs of his immediate co-workers; and he was let go from his new position. He’d left on good terms with his old group, whose transition was tumultuous, and they brought him back as a consultant to train the overseas team through year’s end. The minor investment in the group will help the company retain clients and possibly add sales. The fates aligned and the two negatives bore a positive.
Employees’ daily routines will be embedded in their brains even after they’re gone. I’ll bet you still remember your high school locker combination. The institutional knowledge of certain functions may prove useful and though they may not be available immediately, if you put it out there to them that you’d pay a good hourly rate for a limited time, former workers may clear their schedules and come to the office to help the transition.
Be Pragmatic About Revenues
Even though you may end up saving in the long-run, there is a chance that you will take a short-term hit as far as sales and revenue are concerned. There will be a shift in the way that you do business and some clients may not respond well to the new person or process and may take their business elsewhere. However this is also a time when brand new clients will be the unintentional guinea pigs of your new corporate structure.
Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst
With time, training and focus, your plan should eventually reach realization. Sure, morale will fluctuate. But you now have the chance to truly see which employees and groups were pulling their weight. With this new found insight it could breed creation. With a leaner immediate staff you might come up with a new product or service, which could mean more sales and jobs.
If all else fails, sell.
To further discuss whether outsourcing is the right strategy for your business, contact us.