The Role of HR and Communications in BPO

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Mark Woessner, a director at The Hackett Group.

Your analysis of outsourcing is beginning to move forward, you're beginning to draft an RFP, you're assessing the population of providers to begin your focus and you have included your IT team in mapping out your systems and applications landscape. Have you included your HR and corporate communications team in this analysis? Are they aware of the scope?

Including HR and communications early on in the process is imperative. This strategic initiative will touch HR issues as much as any technology or process transformation. The project would highly benefit from a strong and well thought out HR and communications strategy. First of all, you would need HR's input to provide salary and severance data to develop the business case. Furthermore, you should include, at minimum, your process leadership team to develop RFP components, answer provider questions and seek their input on provider capabilities. Without doubt, there will be stress on your organization from an employee standpoint. What is your communications plan? Who will be delivering that message? Which employees will receive specific messaging?

As the initiative continues, more of the employee population will be aware of the project, and providers will be on site for due diligence activities. What will you tell the organization? Your leadership team may need to travel to offshore locations for your due diligence. What and how you communicate to the employees is critical at this point. You cannot lose control of the organization and you must continue operational performance. How will you manage possible flight risk? Will you be offering retention bonuses for key individuals to stay on through transition? Who will be in the retained governance organization? These questions need to be defined at this point or your project may be in jeopardy.

You've now decided to move forward and sign an outsourcing agreement. The transition would occur in multiple waves and last anywhere from 6 to 18 months. Affected employees would need to be notified, severance packages would need to be communicated, and job outplacement services would need to be provided. The organization would undergo a large change management effort and HR would need to lead this undertaking.

Do not underestimate the need for the HR and communications teams to be involved very early on in the initiative. Although the input and workload for HR increases as you make a decision to move forward, HR should be involved from the very beginning.

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