Everyone’s whispering about the latest outsourcing rumor, but your boss insists your job is safe. It’s hard to know who to believe when your job is on the line. If you look hard enough, you can usually spot a few signs that your company is considering outsourcing jobs, even if management denies it.
Let’s face it -- management has good reason to keep outsourcing secret. If they don’t, they have to deal with unhappy employees and worse, employees who quit before the deal is done. When big changes are in the works, people tend to become more secretive. You might notice that managers hold more closed-door meetings or schedule meetings off-site to avoid suspicion. If your boss previously did a good job of keeping employees informed about goals and company news and now has nothing to share, it could be because she’s been instructed to keep her mouth shut until the company makes a formal announcement.
Money rules your company and it -- or lack of it -- is a key reason for outsourcing. If your company had a bad year, outsourcing is one option management might consider to save money. The company might not admit just how bad things are, but if there’s been a hiring freeze, a round of layoffs and no raises this year, chances are the people at the top are talking about ways to turn things around. Although a bad year is a warning sign for outsourcing, so is a very good year. “Quality Digest” magazine notes that management might decide to outsource if they want to sustain the gains and keep investors happy with the company’s performance.
Personnel and Equipment Investment
Compare this year’s calendar to last year’s. You might have a problem if last year's calendar was full of training sessions, lunch and learns and conferences, and this year’s calendar contains nothing more than reminders about the office Christmas party and your co-worker’s baby shower. The way management sees it, there’s no point in investing money in staff development if the staff won’t be around much longer. Failure to update equipment and software is another sign that outsourcing is a possibility.
Management might slowly begin to transfer tasks to the outsourcing company before they officially announce the plan. They’ll probably spin the change in the best positive light -- maybe they’re streamlining operations or being good guys by reducing your heavy workload. Changing duties isn’t always a bad sign, but coupled with other potential outsourcing warning signs, it could signal the end of your job. If management plans to outsource jobs in your department, your boss or upper management might ask for detailed information about the tasks you perform or hire consultants to observe what you do and how you do it.
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