Can outsourcing work? The case for getting smarter with organisation change

Sharon Platts

By Sharon Platts

26 Mar 2019

It’s a quandary many readers will likely be familiar with: is it possible to outsource organisation change projects in a way that actually saves time and money in the long run?

Lightbulb Man

When you’re fully focused on the inner workings of your organisation, it can feel like handing over critical HR work to a third party is impossible; they wouldn’t ‘get’ your organisation and your ways. And even if they could, everyone’s just too busy to spend the time necessary getting a third party up to speed.

Right?

We’ve talked before about how outsourcing HR services can allow your team to focus on delivering strategic change projects. In this blog, we’ll look at the other side of that debate – and challenge some of the assumptions behind the belief that outsourcing organisation change projects is more effort than it’s worth. As the saying goes, it’s not about working harder – it’s about working smarter.

Find a partner, not a supplier

The most common objection to outsourcing strategic work is that a third party could never understand your organisation the way you do. In our experience, that rather depends on the third party. An experienced HR change partner will have worked in a multitude of different HR departments across different sectors and with different cultures in the course of doing business, and as such their learning curve should be extremely short. This means they’ll be extremely familiar with the core activities and deliverables of people-related change projects, which are usually pretty consistent across organisations and industries. When a seasoned agile HR change partner starts working with you, therefore, their focus is on quickly adapting to your cultural nuances, rather than getting their heads around the actual work that needs doing. This counters the other common objection to outsourcing – that an organisation hasn’t the time to brief a third party on their HR business.

The best organisation change consultants don’t work as suppliers; they work as partners. They take the time to get to know your company – and are sensitive to the unique quirks that only your organisation has. They’re also sensitive to the needs of your organisation’s people, taking care to give them optimal service that doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a third party but directly from your organisation.

Demand agility and flexibility

With any outsourced service, another common perceived challenge is one of flexibility. Some HR support services consist of a set number of people per day, or week, or month, with very little scope to change that. But of course, that’s not how business works – especially in 2019.

The best organisation change consultancies are able to flex with your needs; they should be able to provide a variety of skills and roles, and be able to change them at a moment’s notice. You might need an HRD for a few weeks, and then a team of comms specialists. You may then want to swap everyone out for a team of HR business partners partway through the project. The best organisation change consultancies will handle this, no problem.

Spend money to make money

If you’re planning an organisation change project, you’ll no doubt have prepared a business case that demonstrates the ROI you expect from the project. It’s worth remembering that, by working with an HR partner like Connor, you can realise additional ROI by delivering change across your organisation faster and more successfully than you might have going it alone.

As an example: we’ve recently supported a global organisation in delivering a multi-workstream change programme. By working with us, they were able to reduce their anticipated delivery time from 24 months to just 8 and save 30% on their budgeted project costs

Summing up

Hopefully this blog has given you some food for thought on how you resource and execute organisation change projects in your organisation. Connor is trusted by organisations of all sizes and industries to deliver strategic change projects, working seamlessly alongside internal HR teams and enabling them to focus on getting the day-to-day work in HR done without interruption. If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you, contact Sharon Platts on +44 (0)1491 414010.

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