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How to Talk with Your Staff About Outsourcing

Small businesses need great people to make happy customers, and many business owners look to the benefits of outsourcing non-core functions to teams abroad. Change is inevitable, but how can business owners talk about outsourcing with their staff? Introducing change, especially something as impactful as outsourcing, can be a sensitive topic among staff, and as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to approach this topic with care, understanding, and above all, empathy. Let’s explore how to talk with your staff about outsourcing in a way that promotes supporting your staff to focus on their core work responsibilities.

Understand Your Staff’s Concerns

Before you dive into the conversation, it’s crucial to understand the fears your staff might have about outsourcing:

  1. Job Security: The most significant concern is usually the fear of job loss. Employees might think, “If a part of our operations is outsourced, am I next?”
  2. Quality Concerns: There’s a fear that external teams might not maintain the quality your in-house team does, and your staff might be concerned about this.
  3. Company Culture: There’s a worry that introducing external members might dilute the company culture and reduce the importance of people being in the office experience.

Address the Fears

1. Assure Job Security: Emphasize that outsourcing isn’t about replacing but about supporting. Explain that by outsourcing non-core tasks, the team can focus on the areas where they truly shine, leading to business growth and even more job security in the long run.

2. Emphasize Quality Control: Assure your team that any external help will be held to the same standards as in-house staff. Regular check-ins, trainings, and feedback loops can ensure that quality is maintained.

3. Maintain Culture & InHouse Employee Value: Let them know that while the company might collaborate with external teams, the core values and culture will always be determined by the in-house staff. After all, culture is more about shared values than proximity.

Talk About Non-core Functions & How They Impact Your Staff

For a small business, it’s not feasible to have in-house experts for every single function. But how do you determine what’s core and what’s not? Here’s a simple framework:

  1. List All Tasks: Start by listing all the tasks your team performs.
  2. Identify Your Strengths: Highlight the tasks that are directly related to your product or service and which your team excels at.
  3. Spot the Non-core: Any task not highlighted probably doesn’t need an in-house expert and might be a target for outsourcing. These are tasks you might consider for outsourcing.
  4. Talk with Your Staff About The Impact: If you were to outsource this function, what would be the time savings for staff? What else could they do more of? Begin to frame the conversation in terms of benefits to them instead of things being taken away.

What is a Core Function?

For example, if you run a bakery, baking bread and serving customers is a core function. But managing social media might not be. By outsourcing social media management, your managers and bakers can focus on baking the best bread in town instead of things that distract from this.

Conversation Framework: How to Talk With Your Staff About Outsourcing

Now, how to talk with your staff about outsourcing? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Be Transparent: Start by explaining why you’re considering outsourcing. Whether it’s to save costs, increase efficiency, or focus on core functions, be open about it.
  2. Address Fears Head-on: Instead of waiting for your team to voice their concerns, address them proactively using the points discussed above.
  3. Ask for Input: Engage your staff by asking for their opinion. Which tasks do they believe should be outsourced? Their insights might surprise you.
  4. Reiterate Support: Conclude by emphasizing that outsourcing is a way to support the team and the business. It’s not about replacing but enhancing.

In Conclusion

Outsourcing, when done right, can be a game-changer for small businesses. It allows you to focus on what you do best, ensuring that your business thrives. However, it’s essential to ensure that your team is on board with the decision. By addressing their fears, clarifying the purpose, and involving them in the process, you can make outsourcing a positive move for everyone involved.

Remember, the heart of any business is its people. When they feel supported and valued, they’ll support your decisions in return. So, approach the topic of outsourcing with empathy, understanding, and openness. Your business – and your team – will be better for it.