Prior to October 2019, nobody could have predicted the disruption that the coronavirus would bring - particularly for human resources managers.
HR leaders have their hands full at the best of times, but unforseen global occurrences like pandemics, recessions and other major events can crush the economy, create added stress for employees and result in major changes to usual protocols and organizational structures.
In the middle of it all are HR professionals that are doing their best to navigate the sudden shifts in workplace culture, respond to crisis and ensure that everyone is aligned on policy.
The trouble is, they have only got two pairs of hands and scaling decisions, while dealing with all of these changes is far from easy.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Well if so, the good news is that outsourcing non-core functions can address these stumbling blocks.
But before we get into that, let’s take a look at some of the major challenges faced by HR professionals.
For many businesses, the pandemic has led to a culture shift which has seen more employees work from home. However, the transition to remote working hasn’t always been easy.
According to a report by Slack, an estimated 16 million US knowledge workers have switched to working remotely, after having previously worked in person. This amounts to nearly one-quarter of all knowledge workers in the US, and that proportion has climbed even higher as more states have urged citizens to stay home.
Even organizations that did not previously practice remote working such as banks and regulated industries have now had to update their systems in order to accommodate remote workers.
Indeed, nearly half of employees (48%) said remote working has made their jobs more difficult, while 11% of knowledge workers surveyed say their jobs cannot be done remotely due to it requiring in-person interactions, according to Slack.
As a result, HR professionals have rushed to provide employees with the right remote working tools and offer support while working with fewer resources to carry out their normal day-to-day duties.
But those are not the only major organizational changes that HR managers have dealt with. Many businesses are also implementing new policies in order to keep up with these new demands. Other companies are going through periods of restructuring. For some, this unfortunately includes layoffs - meaning that there are less people to process a growing volume of work.
For businesses that are not used to remote working, communication and productivity is a major issue, particularly when you consider that 53% of remote employees have not worked from home before.
Finding the perfect person for the job has always been a challenging process. In many ways, it is a fairly basic problem for HR teams. However, when you add remote working and mandatory self-isolation into the mix, this only compounds the issue.
Even once a suitable candidate is found, the process of interviewing, training and onboarding that employee can be a lengthy one.
The coronavirus has really brought the spotlight on health. However, it is not just the physical health of employees that matters during these unprecedented times. The sudden shifts in workplace culture can also take its toll on the mental health and wellbeing of staff members. Many businesses are responding to this by initiating wellness programs, as well as providing complete security and health benefits.
While this is definitely a step in the right direction, it does mean HR teams have their work cut out for them. According to a recent COVID-19 pulse survey, HR leaders reported that employee health and wellbeing was a major concern.
Keeping employees engaged and updated can present its own issues when doing it from a distance. Without the right communication channels, it becomes difficult to manage a workforce. The trouble isn’t that the tools aren’t out there - the real issue is that the crisis led to many newly-remote working cultures scrambling to find the right tools.
Even in cases where businesses do have access to remote working tools, it can often still be difficult to chase up employees, especially given the tight deadlines and time constraints that HR leaders already work under.
This brings us nicely onto our next point. Some institutions - including banks and regulatory bodies rely upon outdated legacy systems and old technology. Before the pandemic, this was not always a major issue for some businesses, because they could still run operations. But the problem is that old technology simply does not allow many companies the ability to adapt and evolve to changing demands and markets.
The ensuing recession has also resulted in restricted budgets for many businesses. This means that with the best will in the world, companies cannot always afford to update to newer systems and technology.
Many HR teams are not designed for agility. Or at least, not the kind of agility that is needed to keep pace with constantly changing political climates and health crises. Unfortunately, this means that collecting data and taking immediate action to respond to events cannot always be done efficiently. Dealing with this issue really requires an overhaul in the way HR teams communicate between their department and the rest of the company. With the right tools and approach, these problems can be quickly addressed. But how?
Outsourcing HRO functions can streamline efficiency when resources are stretched.
Rather than investing in a whole new set of technologies or employing VAs or freelancers, investing in an outsourcing company that includes the sophistication of RPA and the intelligence of human oversight can prove to be a much more effective and efficient solution.
Below is a list of common functions that can be outsourced:
We previously mentioned that communicating with other team members while navigating the challenges of remote working is among the biggest problems for HR managers.
This is one of the areas where outsourcing can help. Instead of sending dozens of emails, why not outsource all of those routine, recurring emails?
The most effective way to do this is to invest in a worksharing service like Invisible, which uses a combination of RPA and human oversight to automate communications to employees and between different departments.
Below are some of the common tasks that can be outsourced:
As mentioned above, streamlining communications can be a challenge for some HR teams. If you have recurring communications that you regularly send out, outsourcing can be a great way to manage them. Instead of sending out dozens of updates and emails to different parties, why not automate this process and save time?
And you don’t have to worry about some annoying chatbot messing up your messages either. If you use a worksharing service that also includes the element of human oversight, then you at least have the security of knowing that the accuracy and consistency of the communications you send out will be correct. That’s one more burden off your shoulder!
Onboarding can take up significant amounts of time - particularly if your company has complex or in-depth training needs. Even relatively simple steps such as setting up accounts, keeping track of employee progress and uploading data into the systems can be tedious and ongoing. Or at least, that is, if you don’t outsource it. Instead of setting up accounts and sending the same information to every new employee, it makes sense to outsource this, so you can focus on the ‘bigger picture’ tasks and leave the routine HR tasks to an outsourcing company.
Not only does paying a fixed monthly cost to outsource onboarding save time - it saves money too. Analysis from Glassdoor suggests that it can cost up to $12,500 per year for onboarding alone. That is a significantly higher cost than you would pay to an outsourcing company that can manage various recurring tasks at your company. However, even the figure of $12,500 is a conservative one when you factor in the size of the company and the salary for recruiters.
Enlisting the services of a multi-purpose BPO company is likely to be much more affordable. But perhaps even more importantly - HRO creates value in that it frees up more time for companies to focus on scalability.
According to a survey by Deloitte, 47% of businesses surveyed said they outsource HR functions, while 32% indicated that they will increase the use of outsourcing for HR. The research also showed that 31% said that outsourcing enhances service quality, while 57% reported that it enabled them to focus on their core business. A further 59% said that outsourcing helped them to cut costs.
According to the Society For Human Resource Management, the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129 and it takes around 42 days to fill a position.
Not only does it have a relatively high cost burden per employee, but finding the perfect candidate takes time. For an already-stretched team, recruitment costs can literally fill the schedules of 2 full-time staff members.
The time it takes to create multiple job listings, pour through hundreds of CVs, check qualifications and vet candidates can be significant. According to statistics published by Behiring, the average employer receives 250 applications per job listing. Popular positions can receive even more than that. This leads to a 17% chance that a CV will even be read.
For businesses that have many vacancies, the number of applications to get through can be monumental - particularly in times of the coronavirus and recession when more people are looking for jobs.
Therefore, this is definitely a function that you should consider at least partially outsourcing.
It is clear that when you combine the cost of onboarding with hiring, and compare that with the value creation of outsourcing, it makes more sense both from a financial and efficiency perspective to delegate ongoing, recurring duties to a specialist company.
Nobody likes bureaucracy.
Filling out online paperwork and entering data into the system can really take its toll on your time and patience.
Indeed, it is easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete simple data entry tasks and transfer employee information between systems - or departments. It is one of those rote and necessary tasks that can easily detract from mission-critical duties.
However, this too can be outsourced. Rather than swimming through a sea of online data - simply pass this onto a company that will do it all for you.
The above areas are far from exhaustive in terms of the scope of HRO, but hopefully it gives you an idea of some of the main burdens you can get off your shoulders when investing in worksharing services.
There are many benefits of outsourcing. Most of them can be summed up in a single word: efficiency.
Streamlining outdated and tedious processes in your company will not only save money but also turns the clocks back for your teams. It helps to free up time you never knew you had. Imagine the advantage your company would gain if you had much more time to focus on scaling and generating revenue, rather than spending unnecessary amounts of time on boring, rote tasks that don't do your team any favors.
Below is a quick summary of some of the main, specific benefits of outsourcing:
Finding top talent quickly: Every company wants to reach the holy grail of finding the employees that will help take your company to the next level. However, the tedious process of finding those superstars can thwart your best efforts. Outsourcing this means that you pass that burden on to another team that is built to do this for you.
Even without taking on new employees, BPO gives you access to a flexible workforce, independent of your location. At the same time, you get the benefit of avoiding the red tape, health insurance and monthly labor costs associated with hiring and instead gain extra bandwidth.
Cost-savings: A study published by the PwC, revealed that 68% of companies reported that outsourcing reduced costs at their organization. Moreover, companies that outsourced payroll functions saved 35%, while those that outsourced HRIS services saved 50% when compared to in-house costs.
Efficiency: A study by IDC Research revealed that inefficient processes cost organizations up to 20-30% of their annual revenue. However, a separate survey by Deloitte, showed that 57% of business leaders said outsourcing made it easier to focus on core business tasks, while 47% stated that it solved capacity issues.
Risk-management: Outsourcing tasks means that you share the investment and labor risks with your partnering companies. This is one of the reasons why it is important to choose a company with the experience and skill to help manage these risks effectively.
Ok, so maybe you can’t literally turn the clocks back, but all the indications are that outsourcing is the next best thing. Whether you are seeking to increase quality, save money, scale your business or streamline efficiency, outsourcing can help you do all of those things and more.
The best thing is that even though outsourcing HRO comes with it’s own costs, it still works out cheaper than the price you would normally pay for day-to-day HR such as hiring, onboarding, data entry and sending out communications.
But of course, we would say that. Invisible is a worksharing company, after all.
However, don’t just take our word for it. For example, research by the PwC showed that companies which opt for a single vendor to outsource multiple functions can save up to 32% in profits. Moreover, 70% of businesses surveyed said that access to talent is an important or very important reason why they outsource.
Its findings also showed that 91% of the companies that used outsourcing services were happy with their purchase.
Additional research by Deloitte showed that 78% of respondents said they felt positive about their outsourcing relationship with other companies.
Therefore, the evidence is clear. Not only does outsourcing save money in the long run, it clearly creates value for the businesses that use it.
So if you want to figuratively turn the clocks back and create more time without hiring more people unnecessary, then you should seriously consider outsourcing.