Esi Hamilton is the savvy young Manager in charge of Human Resources and Administration in a medium sized bank with 5 branches in Ghana. She manages a staff strength numbering 370 from the management team to domestic staff. Since joining the bank ten months ago, she has implemented several innovations to transform the face of human resource management. Recently, she has been paying attention to the effectiveness and own-and-manage cost of the semi- and low-skilled workers, which constituted 25% of her workforce with its attendant implications on the bottom line. Now, she is thinking about outsourcing their services.
It is a bright morning. Esi has just finished a 30-minute extensive meeting with an HR Outsourcing consultant who spoke elaborately on Support Staff Outsourcing service and the need for her bank to consider outsourcing its semi- and low-skilled workers. She watched the consultant walked out of her expansive office, sipped her cappuccino and tapped her pen softly on her table. She paused, looked at the little sunflower sitting on the top right edge of her table and smiled. She turns slightly and begins to work her fingers on the tablet keyboard? What really is Support Staff Outsourcing? Is it any different from HR Outsourcing? What value does Support Staff Outsourcing add to my bottom line? Is my organization better off without Support Staff Outsourcing? Why should I consider Support Staff Outsourcing for my organization? Esi ponders over these FAQ and urgently requires answers to enable her develop a proposal to her Managing Director for the bank to implement Support Staff Outsourcing service to drive its human resource strategy.
Traditionally, Craumer (2000) surmised that outsourcing which was originally perceived as the “ho-hum tactic for reducing the costs of back-room functions such as payroll and IT” metamorphosed into a critical management tool “in the early 90s as companies began 24HR STAFF to outsource more strategically significant functions such as manufacturing and logistics, and even product design and other innovation-related activities.”
Support Staff Outsourcing (SSO) as a branch of outsourcing is defined as a management decision whereby a client organization contracts out from within its operations its non-core support functions to an expert provider organization that will deploy its own employees to carry out these functions in the offices of the client organization. There are three parties involved the SSO process namely the client organization, provider organization and the outsourced employees. These three parties play different but equally important roles in the successful implementation of SSO. SSO service usually fails and its objectives faltered in organizations when one of the parties, particularly the outsourced staff is not effectively cultivated within the scope of the Service Level Agreement between the client organization and provider organization.
In SSO service, the client organization takes off its non-core business activities. The provider organization sends in its own trained employees to discharge these non-core functions of the business operations of the client organization. The scope of the non-core business activities varies from organization to organization depending on its size, nature of business, and market competitiveness. The non-core areas usually outsourced cover functions such as Secretaries, Guest Relations Officers, Receptionists, Administrative Assistants, Call-Centre Executives, Franchise Marketing Officers, Mailing Clerks, Cleaning Services, Sales Representatives, Clerical Duties, IT Support officers, Drivers, Dispatch Riders, Security Officers, Tellering and Bulk Tellering Staff (in financial institutions), etc.
It is commonplace in developing economies to widely engage the services of support staff for non-core functions in organizations across the services and manufacturing sectors because these functions are largely executed with little or no automation. The percentage of engagement in the public services sector, which is the oldest and largest employer of labour, is relatively high. Players in the services sector are challenged by globalization, technology and constant changes in consumer preference to deploy their capital to acquire resources (technology and process) in areas of high impact like IT, strategy and core human resources to develop capacity for organizational effectiveness. Under this circumstance, less attention is given to non-core activities, and the managers of these non-core activities in Business Support, Admin or Human Resources Department are constantly under excruciating pressure to perform with little results to show for their efforts.