Outsourcing is a viable business option, and it’s here to stay. And it’s nothing new — we’ve been outsourcing some or all of the human resources functions for decades (think 401k admin, for example). Having said that, to what criteria do we manage these providers? More importantly, what criteria do we/should we use when selecting outsourcing partners?
Normally, outsourcing human resources — at any level — is a balanced combination of task management and results measurement. In other words, we typically outsource those high-volume, repeatable tasks, and measure a provider’s efficacy on the demonstrated success of accomplishing those tasks.
And, from my view, we need to keep 3 things in mind when selecting these outsourcing partners:
Task management. Are they capable of accomplishing the full range of tasks that we require, specifically as we require them done?
In other words, will they, can they, do it “our way,” or will our employees have to adapt to “their way,” out of provider convenience and consistency?
Results measurement. How will we measure the success of task accomplishment mentioned above? Again, will those measurements be a subset of what we already use and are accustomed to today, or will the measurements for success be those determined or offered solely by the new provider?
Best results, of course, come from integrating an outsourcer into OUR organization, including using established, valid measurements.
What else can they offer, that creates value in our world, that we may not have specifically been seeking? I have a large client who wanted to outsource virtually all task-driven efforts within benefits, compensation, and even some employee relations. The provider, however, demonstrated a method for outsourcing full-cycle recruitment that my client had never before considered. This value-added offering put that provider over the top.
In short, measure current and future outsourcers as you would any other business function: by a combination of the things they do measured against the results they deliver.
And hold their toes to the fire…
(I have no idea of the origins of that phrase…!)