JERICHO, N.Y. – If you’re a credit union looking for a Web-enabled approach or similar outside resource to solve some of your human resources problems, you’re not alone. Howard Lackow, vice president of advisory services at The Outsourcing Institute, says more and more companies are looking at outsourcing. “It’s always been done,” Lackow says. “I guess people never made as much of an announcement about it. We’re seeing more and more companies looking at outsourcing particular functions and activities.” “The service providers focusing in those areas are really specialists. By sharing their knowledge, they bring economies to the companies looking to outsource.” However, Lackow continues, that doesn’t mean you should sign an outsourcing contract without doing some serious thinking. First, he advises, you need to identify what services you’re providing today and what those services cost you. Second, if you do decide to outsource a particular function – or even if you decide to expand that function entirely within your organization – you need to also identify what you hope to achieve. What are your goals and objectives? “Once I’ve prepared what I call my base case and understand what my current services are and what they cost, and what I’m interested in outsourcing, then I can decide whether I should continue doing this myself or whether I should outsource it to some other provider,” Lackow says. “Even though we are called The Outsourcing Institute, we tell people outsourcing is not for everybody. Make sure you understand what you want to do and what you want to achieve through outsourcing before you do it.” He cites a trend to more and more comprehensive packages. Often providers are forming relationships with other vendors to sweeten that package. For example, a company offering payroll services may pair with another company to offer homeowners or other insurance coverage, or perhaps discounts on computers from a particular manufacturer. Teachers Credit Union in South Bend, Ind., offers an example of what credit unions are seeking today when they consider outsourcing HR functions. TCU recently contracted for a suite of human resource services through Ceridian’s eSource HR/Payroll Web-enabled solution. “The driving force, if you will, is that we wanted to have an integrated HR solution. Full integration was the biggest issue of all, rather than going to one provider for payroll, one provider for timekeeping and so on,” Karol Griffin, TCU senior VP, explains. “It’s actually cheaper for us than having multiple vendors. There’s a self-service component that lets employees update their own information, and the ability to generate various reports. This will definitely change the way we do business.” How? For one thing, Griffin says, timekeeping currently demands a lot of administrative effort, with data sheets faxed back and forth between supervisors and the HR people who input data into the system. Because the new system is on-line, it will trim that time. The integrated approach will also make flextime scheduling more efficient by allowing supervisors to preview information and generate on-going time reports. -

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