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Changing the game

by | Sep 22, 2014

Changes to company structure may have a dramatic effect on staff, however this can be overcome through appropriate change management policies. Jonathan Jackson examines how the implementation of offshoring affects the mindset of in-house employees and the realistic expectations you should have about your third party provider you can convey to in-house staff.

Those looking at offshoring certain aspects of their business are usually only focused on the cost and resource savings. However, offshoring certain positions may have a negative impact on internal staff; all those gains made by sending certain skillsets offshore, may result in negative productivity at home if the right processes aren’t put in place.

Changing the game

When you consider offshoring, you not only have to ensure that those you hire for overseas operations are on board with your vision, but those within the local business are on board as well. This requires careful people management and effective change management strategies.

Graham Winter is the director of Think One Team International, a three-time Chief Psychologist for the Australian Olympic Team and regularly consults with managers facing productivity problems.

“Poor performance can greatly impact the bottom line and lead to an unnecessary increase in staff turnover,” Winter says.

This is the very opposite of what you want. The goal of offshoring is to streamline your business, not to have your best employees lose focus and move on.

The key to retaining staff is to engage them in the change process and confirm to them that what you are doing is important for the growth of the business. If offshoring is to affect an employee’s position, be upfront. If not, then make it clear that their job will not be affected and, in fact, could be made easier as it frees them up to concentrate on their core responsibilities.

Change management is difficult, but it must be done effectively to ensure a smooth transition into the next phase of your business growth.

Wayne Bould is the managing director of Grange Resources and a change management expert.
“In my earlier days of change management I thought it was about systems, now I feel it is about collaboration and engagement. The more collaborative your leadership, the more engaged your people become and the better the business functions.”

From a leadership point of view, this means creating disciplines and helping employees adapt to the changes you are making. It is about creating a willingness to change behaviors to be able to get their jobs done.

In the instance that staff are resistant to change Bould says a good leader will have patience and a fair bit of bloody mindedness.

“It is all very well to set a framework and direction, but some people can’t conceive of the vision. They don’t know what good looks like because they haven’t been there. Sometimes you have to say ‘I don’t think you understand the vision, but trust me to take you there’. If some people don’t want to get on the bus and if you find them dragging their feet, then you may have to take the journey without them.”

Winter provides a few pointers relevant to change management and offshore strategy communication. His Performance Partnering tips may not ensure that all staff remain with you, however it will leave you in a stronger position to sell the message.

His points include:

Share accountability
Treat your individual team members as equal partners by establishing the expectation that you and they are jointly accountable for collaborating around problems and opportunities. Begin with a partnering conversation to set the foundation around values, open two-way conversations and shared problem solving.

Set high performance expectations
Define clear and shared expectations about all of the four core inputs to high performance: achievement, agreed behaviors, shared learning and energy. This is essential if the complexity that characterizes poor performance is going to be dealt with at its root cause.

Coach to boost resilience
The ‘new’ team leaders are coaches who use coaching questions to shape the thinking and behaviors of their team.

Dealing with poor performance can be an emotion-charged issue, however a well thought out change management approach shows how a change of mindset and some easy-to-implement practices can reduce the angst and boost productivity and a constructive culture.

It is worth implementing this practice locally and with offshore partners. The best way to engage your employees at home is to convince them those positions undertaken by international employees or agencies will continue to reflect the organization’s values.

Offshoring provides an important opportunity to control or reduce costs, free up resources, gain access to talented professionals in a variety of fields, and become a global player. Employers should consider a sound change management strategy as they lift their business into its next phase.

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