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My recent survey found that 30% of respondents were concerned that outsourcing will put your job at risk. This is a complex area and also a concern that has real grounds as its undeniable that outsourcing has been a huge source of change in business organization, management and economics. I’ve personally been involved in organizations that have undergone an outsourcing initiative, and I am perhaps lucky to have seen cases where the outsourcing has achieved success, and also cases where the changes have failed to meet the business objectives. In my experiences, successful and unsuccessful outsourcing initiatives were well structured, well organized, and the business reason for outsourcing was clear and justifiable and economical.
But my observation of outsourcing initiatives that have succeeded against thost that fail is the quality and quantity of the leadership practiced within the organization, starting at the top, and flowing right through the levels of the organization. Not just that, but if employees within an organization consider the outsourcing as something being ‘done’ to them, it has a much lesser chance of succeeding. Organizational change of this magnitude is a change for the whole organization, and everyone within it must be helped to feel responsible for its success. Bold words (yes literally I know) and easy for me to say, but I do feel strongly about them. Not the tough thing for the likes of us guys is if we are on the ‘receiving end’ of the outsourcing, ie. it’s our jobs that will be moving. Does this mean we shouldn’t play nicely? I say no, and I do so because a) you’d still be an employee of the organization and therefore have a responsibility to it, b) in most countries there are laws to protect your rights so you won’t be forced out into the cold, and c) something very interesting and prosperous may come of your valuable input, particularly if in the area of leadership through the change. Point c is most poignant; case in point – Jon Miller is a lab technician who’s role was suddenly being transferred into an outsourcing vendor by his pharmaceutical empoyer, but Jon didn’t look at this as a crisis, but in fact rallied his colleagues and helped them look at the possible opportunities in their new employer. He unofficially became a team leader and spokesperson for his team and eventually transitioned to the vendor with no loss of his comrades, picking up a new role as a supervisor to boot. If you work with the change and make the most of it, at the very least you can leave with your head held high and a severence paycheck in your pocket, or possibly find a great job in the outsourcing vendor. Either way, I don’t consider this as a personal ‘risk’.
Folks I know this is complicated and effects us all in different ways, but I just wanted to get the message over that outsourcing is not always bad for you as an individual, and with a good attitude and an open mind, the change could yield something great for you.
If you want to read more about Outsourcing, here is a good article on the businessballs.com website: http://www.businessballs.com/changemanagement.htm
And of course you can email me on the subject if you have questions: email@example.com