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  • Writer's pictureBartley Joseph

HR Outsourcing: How to Make the Call

When making a decision about outsourcing all or part of your HR function, it's important to consider several key factors. These factors will help you assess your organisation's specific needs, resources, and strategic goals. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Strategic Alignment: Evaluate how outsourcing aligns with your organisation's overall strategy and goals. Consider whether HR functions are critical to your core competencies and competitive advantage. If HR plays a strategic role in shaping your company culture, talent acquisition, and development, maintaining control and direct involvement may be beneficial.

  2. HR Functions: Analyse the specific HR functions and activities you are considering outsourcing. Determine which tasks are transactional, administrative, or routine, and which require strategic decision-making and specialised expertise. Functions such as payroll, benefits administration, and compliance reporting are often outsourced, while talent acquisition and strategic workforce planning may be better managed internally.

  3. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial impact of outsourcing. Consider the expenses associated with maintaining an in-house HR department versus the cost of outsourcing. Assess the potential cost savings, including infrastructure, technology, salaries, training, and ongoing operational costs. Compare these savings to the fees charged by outsourcing service providers.

  4. Expertise and Specialisation: Assess the level of expertise and specialisation required for your HR functions. Determine if your organisation has the necessary internal resources to handle these tasks effectively. Outsourcing can provide access to specialised knowledge, industry best practices, and up-to-date compliance expertise. Evaluate whether external HR service providers can deliver the required expertise more efficiently and effectively.

  5. Scalability and Flexibility: Consider your organisation's scalability needs. If your business experiences fluctuations in workforce size or has plans for expansion, outsourcing can offer scalability and flexibility. Determine if the outsourcing provider can easily adjust to your changing HR demands. Additionally, assess if they can accommodate spikes in recruitment, onboarding, or offboarding processes during peak periods.

  6. Legal and Compliance Requirements: Evaluate the complexity of legal and compliance requirements related to HR functions in your industry and region. Consider if outsourcing can provide the necessary expertise to navigate these regulations effectively. Assess the service provider's track record in compliance, risk management, and staying up-to-date with relevant laws and regulations.

  7. Employee Impact: Consider the potential impact on employees when outsourcing HR functions. Communication and change management are crucial to ensure a smooth transition and maintain employee trust and morale. Assess if outsourcing will have any implications for employee engagement, communication channels, and HR-related support and services.

  8. Vendor Selection: Evaluate potential HR service providers carefully. Consider their reputation, experience, and track record in providing HR services. Assess their technological capabilities, systems, and processes to ensure compatibility with your organisation's needs. Request references and speak to other organisations that have utilised their services. Consider the vendor's cultural fit, responsiveness, and ability to collaborate effectively.

  9. Data Security and Confidentiality: Assess the security measures and data protection protocols of potential outsourcing providers. HR functions involve handling sensitive employee data, and it is crucial to ensure that the service provider can meet stringent data privacy requirements and protect confidential information.

  10. Risk Management: Evaluate potential risks associated with outsourcing HR functions. Consider the potential loss of control, dependency on external vendors, and potential challenges in integrating outsourced services with other organisational processes. Assess the vendor's risk management practices, contingency plans, and contractual agreements to mitigate these risks effectively.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about whether to outsource all or part of your HR function. It is crucial to align the decision with your organisation's strategic goals, consider the specific HR functions involved, assess the financial implications, and evaluate the expertise and scalability provided by outsourcing service providers.


In the final analysis, the acid-test remains your assessment as to whether or not you can perform the required task or intervention more effectively and effciently with your own internal HR resources. If you cannot, or am unable to do the assessment, get an external professional to assist you. It may turn out to be the best decsion you ever made to improve the value that your people add to your business.


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