Outsourcing: Make It Work for Your Company


Outsourcing is becoming popular even in small and midsize companies. Nowadays, a small business may not have staff members such as a Human Resources recruiter or a 401(k) specialist in house. As the Internet transforms the way businesses communicate with their clients, vendors and employees, many of these functions are being handled by outsourcers. Here are some tips to help executives determine what functions to outsource and how best to use an outsourcer.

Decide what’s important. If a function is not strategic to your business—for instance, payroll services or health insurance needs in a recruiting agency with only ten employees—consider outsourcing it to an expert provider.

Integrate your services. Look to providers that can efficiently integrate all your outsourced business functions—accounting, payroll and HR services, for example—instead of using individual vendors for each. Working with one-stop outsourcers will provide better overall results.

Assess customer support periodically. Does the outsourcer periodically check on how its live and Web-based customer service departments are doing? It should. Find out how well it monitors its customer support. As a client, you can insist on remedial action.

Insist on name recognition. Be sure the company you choose for outsourcing is partnered with best-of-the-industry providers: It should be linked to companies with established reputations—well-known HMOs, for example, for health benefits.

Don’t go halfway. Don’t settle for half-hearted measures or intermediaries who manage only some aspects of your business when the more efficient solution is to outsource the entire process. For example, if the telemarketing employees of a credit collection company only make calls on your behalf but do not follow up with any necessary customer visits, the collection function may be incomplete.

Accountability is everything. If you decide to work with an outsourcer who, in turn, is going to “outsource” your business, make sure the original outsourcer is completely accountable; the new entrant on the scene may not be aware of your requirements.

Beware of regulations. Make sure your outsourcing partner understands and complies with all the rules and regulations governing your industry and the workplace.

Insist on peace of mind. Your outsourcing partner should control its own infrastructure and have built-in safeguards, for instance, when it comes to protecting your information and your employees’ privacy.

Source: Adapted from EmployeeMatters Guide for Business Success, EmployeeMatters, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut, www.employeematters.com .

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