Recently, Peter Tarhanidis, published a blog on outsourcing. The blog was on projectmanagement.com in Voices on Project Management. The blog was right on target for having a successful outsourcing program. However, there was a major aspect of outsourcing that was not addressed. Outsourcing can degrade trust within the organization that is being outsourced.
People are the foundation of an organization/company. When a part of the company or an entire organization is outsourced there are employees involved. The employees may initially hear about the outsourcing via informal means such as the company's grapevine. Once the grapevine is acknowledged by the company, the employees are worried.
Worse yet, some companies have been known to notify affected employees to report to a conference room and they are presented a package. This is the first notification of being outsourced. You ask what is the package. It advises the employee they have 48 hours to make a decision to go to the outsourcer or to resign. Sometimes the salary is dictated with a radical decrease in pay and benefits that have eroded. Panic and anger ensue
What would employees think about the company they are being outsourced to? Can you imagine what the employees are thinking? This was unethical! What could the leadership of these two companies be thinking? They decided to outsource our work and us and still expect us to go to the same job everyday at a reduced salary and benefits!
How are the employees that were not outsourced feeling? There is mistrust on their part as well. They are thinking that they could be next. Trust is again eroded. The remaining employees are also quite uncomfortable. Why? They are now working with the outsourced employee who is doing the same work for reduced pay.
Once the outsourcing takes place, those employees that elect to stay with the outsourcing company now are disillusioned, have no trust in leadership, believe there is a lack of ethics within the company and probably are looking for a new opportunity, or maybe even decide to quit. They most likely are embarrassed and ashamed because they now have to do the work in front of employees who have stayed with the company that outsourced them.
Outsourcing may help the bottom line but is it important enough to erode trust, ethics, and maybe even the quality of work? I will always say no, it is not worth the value that a good employee provides a company. Can you imagine running a project with employees that have no trust? I can't.