Some of my responsibilities are being outsourced. (No worries–my employment status will not change as a result of this outsourcing.) Nevertheless, it’s a high stress thing to turn responsibilities over to an outside firm. At the same time, we are setting our annual performance goals, especially as they relate to the outsourcing. My boss and I had the following conversation (well, paraphrased to make me sound more articulate and clever than I really am):
Boss: The outsourcing needs to be seamless in order for you to meet your goal.
EHL: Define seamless.
Boss: The client will not experience any change in service. They will not know that this task has been outsourced.
EHL: No, that is not a goal I’ll accept.
EHL: Because the outsourcers have different requirements. For instance, they require a 5 day turn around. We currently give a one hour turn around in an emergency. Additionally, no matter what information I give the outsources, I cannot guarentee that they will do it correctly. (I then listed examples from a previous outsourcing that has caused all of us HR types endless woes.)
Boss: Well, you need to make it happen.
EHL: I have no authority over the outsource company. They don’t report to me. I don’t have hire/fire authority over the person they assign to the task. You want me to be responsible for something I have no authority over.
Boss: How about your goal is to “provide the outsourcer with all necessary information to complete the task.”
EHL: Much better
Ahh, the responsibility vs. authority problem. It’s a big one we face in HR. We’re responsible to make good hires, reduce turnover, fill the leadership pipeline, make the EEO and OFCCP happy and solve every problem under the sun. But, do we have the authority to do so?
Some HR people might. But, who makes the final decision on who to hire? The Staffing Rep? Not likely. Staffing can send a variety of candidates, but it’s the manager who makes the hiring decision. What about managers? Internal promotion decisions are made by current management. Sure, HR can have input, but the final decision? Line management. We can offer management training classes out the wazoo, but we are dependent upon line management to get their employees in the classes.
But, who is held responsible for all these things? HR.
It really annoys me. If you are going to make me responsible, give me authority.
Kris at the HR Capitalist has the subitle : Get to the table, stay at the table. He’s a wise man. Being at the table helps give you authority to accomplish the things you are already responsible for.