Thinking about Outsourcing?

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

What is outsourcing?

If you are thinking about outsourcing – it can help to remember that you are probably already doing this. If you have cleaners, gardeners, accountants, contractors who deal with fire extinguishers & alarms, or any other specialists who work with you regularly – that’s outsourcing.

Building management, including Health & Safety, and data protection legislations have all become more complex. It makes sense to bring in experts to ensure that you are doing what is necessary to the standards required of you.

Outsourcing can be for consultancy, one off projects, to support existing structures or the beginning of an ongoing relationship.

Professionals are often quicker and cheaper than you think!

  • Professionals have experience, may have a library of templates, sample documents, and examples which can speed up your decision making process.
  • Having someone who know which concerns must be a high priority, which can be ignored because of low risk, or even are irrelevant in this instance can be invaluable.
  • Being able to show that expert advice was sought can give protection to the management committee or trustees if things do go wrong.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge or disagree – while they may be a professional, it is still your place of worship, building, organisation and you know it and the community around it best.
  • Always have a pre-nup! Know where your data is, how to regain control of it, and ensure someone knows how to keep things running in the short term. No matter how good the relationship is, the best laid plans can still go awry!

Know what you want to contract out & what you need to keep.

  • Do an audit of what tasks could or should be outsourced. Be flexible in what roles they are assigned to.
  • Meetings with potential contractors are a chance to ask how they would recommend things are done. Ultimately, however, it is your decision to make.
  • Clear specifications about what you want done, and boundaries around what you don’t want done – or don’t have authority over make for smoother relationships.
  • Procedures in place for setting up, maintenance and management of the project or role are essential. These enable you to make decisions about how to solve problems before it is necessary (and urgent!).
  • Always have named liaisons who report regularly on how things are going to ensure both parties are kept informed. It ensures that what is happening is what you expect to happen.

Make it simple! But don't be afraid of complexity.

  • Modern technology means that you don’t need someone to come into the building to answer your phone and email, or do your accounts.
  • A mixture of volunteers, paid contractors, and/or employees can work together. Just ensure everyone knows where the lines of responsibility are.
  • Some people need to be on site, but others can be remote. Communication, generic email addresses, plus cloud file sharing, will make keeping everyone informed easier.
  • Endeavour to be mission minded, faithful to your charitable purposes, through the choices & decisions you make – from how you treat each individual to the cleaning materials that you use.
  • Remember that things change, so systems and procedures must be reviewed regularly.

Final Thoughts.

  • Consult with others to try and avoid duplicating work. One outsourced professional may be able to offer support to different parts of your organisation.
  • Check what other parts of organisation recommends, & consult online resources or professional advice when there are gaps.
  • Treat outsourcers as you would any other contractor. Take references, & ensure they’ll fit with your existing team.

Keep in mind SMART criteria, ensure all roles and projects have goals which are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Relevant
  • Time-related

This will help limit overspending and prevent misunderstandings, confusion, and problems.

You can download a version of this advice in leaflet form from the free resources page. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help – click the link below.