6 Best Practices of Insourcing Implementation

Insourcing can be a great solution. But one size does not fit all.

As we’ve discussed before, insourcing – engaging a third party to hire, manage and administer a functional team onsite with your organization – can be a great way to get both the benefits of ‘outsourcing’ and the convenience of an in-house function.

But implementing an insourced function can be a delicate blending act, especially during the transition process.

Here are the 6 best practices that will help ensure your insourcing transition goes more smoothly – and generates the results you were hoping for, faster.

1.  Honour the past

If you’ve engaged an insourcing partner, it’s because your current function isn’t working as well as it should.  But that doesn’t mean that everything about your current function is broken.  So it’s important to identify what’s currently working, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Great employees can be transitioned to new roles; great processes should be worked into the new system.

2.  Great project management is more important than big ideas

Successfully implementing a new (or new-and-improved) insourcing plan or partner depends less upon fantastic, sweeping ideas and more on really great project management, because it’s the fine details that will make or break the launch date, cost efficiencies, and acceptance by the rest of the organization.  So don’t get distracted by all the great communications materials – make sure the project plan is locked down and well managed.

3.  People are the most important element

The 3 big elements of any insourcing implementation are people, process and technology.  But people are the element that can have the most effect on whether an insourcing solution succeeds or fails – so it’s important to get the right people, in the right roles, right from the start.

4.  Don’t hang on to the wrong people

Even the most successful insourcing implementations will have a few people-related teething problems:  either an existing employee won’t transition well to the new function, or one of the new insourced staff won’t be a good fit.  It’s important to identify and remove under-performers or bad fits promptly, so the rest of the project isn’t sidetracked.

5.  Understanding the culture takes time

For better or for worse, every organization has an established culture, which won’t always been immediately apparent to the insourcing partner.  When creating your implementation plan, leave time for ‘culture discovery’ and strive for an objective understanding of the existing culture, whether you’re a part of the existing team or part of the organization hired as the insourcing partner.

6.  It will (almost) always take longer than you think

Implementing an insourcing function usually requires a thorough interrogation of the organization, and that interrogation always turns up some unforeseen circumstances – business needs may have changed since the decision to insource was made; staffing requirements may have changed; resourcing may have changed, etc.   You may not be able to predict what ‘unforeseens’ will turn up, but if you build a little extra time into your implementation plan right from the beginning, you’ll be able to deal with them without jeopardizing your timeline.

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