Thursday, March 09, 2006

Main, meri naukri aur WOH

One of my HR friend's reaction when I told him I work in the outsourcing space was 'so you are the guys who are after our jobs'. This friend did not mean it seriously but one gets this reaction many a times. My friend asked me to write about how HR guys can ensure that their jobs don't get outsourced. I only want to tell you my friend that you have already begun the journey of outsouring by asking me to do this thinking on your behalf :)).

I made a promise that I am going to put my thoughts around how HR guys can ensure that their jobs don't get outsourced, now its a bad business decision, but a promise is a promise.

In one simple sentence how an HR guy can ensure that his / her job does not get outsourced is by doing what HR is supposed to do. Now one can argue that this is just a play of words. So let me explain my thinking behind this statement.

HR is supposed to help attract the right talent, motivate them to give their best and help retain the right kind of skills in the organisation. HR is supposed to ensure that there is alignment between the business requirements and how people deliver against the requirements. HR is supposed to help nurture current talent and build future capabilities to ensure the organisation can continuously meet ever changing business realities. HR is suppposed to understand the everchanging needs of the employees in the organisation and bringing about an alignment between these needs and organisation needs. If you are in the space of doing any of these or similar kind of things, then in my opinion your jobs are not getting outsourced in the near future.

But if your work is in the area of liasoning with recruiting agencies, shortlisting bio-ds, co-ordinating interview schedules, ensuring people attend training, organising training schedules, ensure people comply to policies, ensuring performance forms are filled by everyone and so on, then in the first place you need to realise that you are involved not in an HR job but an admin job. Administrative and repetitive and in consoolt-speak 'non-value adding activities' are best managed either by technology or by processes.

So here I rest my case and hope that my dear fellow HR friends will live in peace that their jobs are not getting outsourced in the near future at least.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Outsourcing basics

I got involved in a conversation to outsource a few of the HR processes for a large client. The client listened to our team for about an hour and agreed to look at the option of outsourcing. We went back saying we need to understand more about you organisation before we can provide you with a quote. The client is in a tremendous hurry to outsource so they wanted something quick. We sent in a template asking for some basic information. The client refused to provide any information due to lack of time on their part.

I got into a call with the HR head who could not understand why we wanted all this information when no other company which was in the process was asking for. In his opinion since we were doing this for lot of clients we should be able to provide a quote from our experience. I went into the process of explaining why we needed each bit of information and the role it played in our framing the proposal. The conversation ended kind off with the client saying since we were the only ones asking for such information and also the fact that they did not have time to do any data collection hence it was deduced that we were probably not interested in their business. Now you may probably not see a logical way of arriving at that conclusion but thats how it was.

The most important lesson that I have learnt all these years is that if you want to get into a successful outsourcing relationship do your homework first. Wherever we have got into situations where the client was not prepared, we have burnt our fingers badly. Once you have got a client who is unprepared and you have a committment to deliver the client most often only wants to talk about your committment not their part of the deal.

My simple thought hence for all outsourcers is look for clients who have thought thru their decision of outsourcing you will have a easier life.