Putting people at the heart of outsourcing
by Debra Maxwell, Managing Director, arvato UK and NOA board member
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
When arvato launched its award-winning report series Open Outsourcing in 2012, we wanted to create a channel to explore some of the most important topics in our industry and share a real-world perspective on outsourcing partnerships.
After looking at the importance of engagement between outsourcer and client in 2012 and supporting organisational and economic growth in last year’s report, we felt that it was time to turn our attention to the individuals at the heart of partnerships in the third edition – out next week.
Outsourcing is a services industry and a ‘people’ business. It’s not just about what KPIs are agreed, which systems and processes are put in place or why a partnership was set up in the first place; ultimately, it’s the people who deliver the results and make the relationship succeed – or fail.
It’s a fact that the NOA has been stressing relentlessly in its work; a recent NOA survey found that 65 per cent of outsourcing clients believe that the quality of the people is the most important factor influencing outsourcing service quality. To support standards and training in outsourcing, the NOA also launched the industry’s first Level 2 qualification, the ‘NOA Award in Outsourcing Excellence’, at the beginning of this month.
While employees are naturally in the focus at the beginning of a partnership and during the transition – especially if it involves TUPE – our report clearly demonstrates that our industry needs to put people at its heart at every step of the outsourcing lifecycle. This becomes even more important as the drivers for outsourcing evolve beyond cost cutting measures alone.
What is it like to work for an outsourcer? Why is it that people are often concerned about being outsourced? How can you create real teams across organisations? How do you motivate individuals to grow and develop in a new and sometimes very different environment? How can people help organisations deal with evolving technologies and social change? What do they need to become empowered to do so?
In ‘Empowering People’, we explore these and other questions with the help of our clients, industry experts, and, most importantly, employees.
Zara.com reveals how training and a team spirit ensures our customer service representatives act as real ambassadors for its brand; the chief executive of Chesterfield Borough Council, Huw Bowen, talks about how a shared vision and real partnership means transferred employees still identify themselves with both the council and arvato.
We hear from East Cheshire NHS Trust about the communication and governance models it uses with its outsourced HR teams to ensure smooth processes across organisational boundaries and ultimately help deliver better patient outcomes; and we travel to the Netherlands, where an empowered team converses with citizens via Twitter, on behalf of the Dutch Central Government.
As with previous reports, we have invited industry experts to share their insights, too. Contributions include an article from Professor Paul Sparrow, Lancaster University Management School and Dr Jill Miller, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), on the effects of collaborative work settings on employee productivity. Plus an interview with Anne-Marie Stagg, Chief Executive of the Call Centre Management Association explores the role of people in customer service partnerships.
Finally, we share top tips for clients and outsourcing partners on how to create an environment that motivates and helps individuals and organisations succeed. It becomes clear that empowerment is the key to unlocking people’s potential throughout every stage of the outsourcing partnership, and that any partnership can only ever be as good as its people.