October 6, 2011 at 11:12am
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WORD FOR THE DAY “outsourcing” (v.) “1. (of a company or organization) to purchase (goods) or subcontract (services) from an outside supplier or source; 2. to contract out (jobs, services, etc.); 3. to obtain goods or services from an outside source.” The word can also be a noun. (dictionary dot com)
“Outsourcing.” Good word. Good practice.
“Outsourcing” is a recently coined word. I just discovered that this word, addressing the practice of contracting services from an outside source, was first used in modern times around 1975 to ’80. Etymologists know better about word origins, so, I’ll take their word for it. However, I’m certain the practice has been around since Khufu had the local wheelwright align his chariot wheels.
Today I think small businesses are very familiar with the word and its meaning. They outsource (subcontract) all sorts of things – accounting and payroll, IT functions, e-commerce, and off-site file storage, corporate compliance requirements, graphic design services, even writing (ahem!) services. Kent Gustafson, of Safe Shield, and Ron Marotte, of Marotte Design, have contracted Human Resources projects, like those supplied by Michelle Super, Super Consulting Services, Inc. I like to say that the “new outsourcing resource for HR is SUPER.” (Michelle’s name is so perfect to use in this manner.)
“No longer regarded as a temporary back-fill for open staffing positions or one-off projects, outsourcing to freelancers and consultants has now become a regular practice among small and large businesses alike,” says Caron Beesley, Small Business Administration contributor, in her blog, “Outsourcing to Freelancers & Consultants: 5 Tips for Getting it Right (and Lawful).”1.
According to a 2003 survey by the society for Human Resource Management, 53% of HR professionals used an outside HR consultant to supply services. By 2004, it was 58%. Reasons ranged from saving the company money, to improving compliance and accuracy, to a lack of in-house experience. (See "Outsourcing: A Strategic Solution,” Susan M Heathfield’s blog.)2.
Small businesses outsource their HR for similar reasons, especially to save time and money, says Michelle on her website: www.hrsolutionsmn.com. In addition, Michelle’s goal is to help small businesses concentrate on their operation and specialization, instead of getting bogged down with HR duties they find “tedious, incomprehensible, and stress-inducing.”
But, you don’t have to take Michelle’s or my word for it. Check out “Human Resource Outsourcing: How winning small businesses think big and save smart,” part of the MBA Tool Box from THINKING LEADERS’ editor Joshua Cook.3. Or, ask your colleagues in business IF and WHAT services they outsource.
“Outsourcing” has become a familiar word in today’s business world. Ask Michelle Super, of Super Consulting Services, LLC, what she thinks about it.
Psst. While you’re at it, ask a wordsmith as well.