Buyers Get The Best Talent Show
Michael Fischer, now president, strategic business development for EDS, started his career at Raytheon, an electronics and aviation company in Lexington, Massachusetts. He rose to the top IT spot of his company, becoming the Chief Information Officer (CIO).
But future opportunities were limited at Raytheon, because he was not an electrical engineer (making him the wrong kind of engineer at Raytheon). "CIO was the highest level I could get as an IT professional in a non-IT firm," says Fischer. The board would not likely consider an IT executive as the president of Raytheon at that time.
But the sky is the limit at EDS, a Plano, Texas IT outsourcing provider. He says the core skills for an EDS employee are the essential talents required to become the CEO.
Outsourcing providers offer a richer and more varied career path than companies whose employees work in departments that support the core business. When EDS completes an outsourcing contract, it manages the IT department of the buyer's firm. While any change creates concern at the outset, these employees readily adapt when they see there are increased opportunities at EDS. "They realize we have widened their career opportunities immensely," Fischer says.
Since EDS is a global outsourcing provider, it has outsourcing engagements that are not limited to its Texas headquarters. This gives employees the flexibility to move to various locations. "We can provide a better geographic match for our employees worldwide," he continues.
Geographic and industry diversity can be a deciding factor when competing for the best talent. "It's important in today's market to meet people's needs," Fischer observes.
Professional ennui is rarely a factor at outsourcing firms because employees often get to work with a wide variety of clients and face unique challenges. They get broader exposure. "One buyer might be going public while another is experiencing a cutback. Here there are a zillion different things to work on," says David Schnitt, CEO of Ledgent, a Los Angeles, California based outsourcing provider that delivers back office outsourcing solutions to mid-sized firms in the United States.
Becoming Part of the Revenue Stream
At an outsourcing firm, the employees immediately become part of the revenue generating engine, moving from the expense side of the balance sheet. Suddenly, their work makes a real difference to the firm's fortunes. Employees are more motivated when they know they are core to the business, points out Schnitt.
"Our buyers' back offices are our front office," he notes.
Outsourcing providers also tend to put a greater investment in their people. And they often have superior technology for these people to use. "Our staff gets to work with the latest and greatest tools because we need to have the best to keep our customers," points out Schnitt. Most firms won't allot capital to expensive technological innovations in areas that are not generating revenue for them.
"We attract the best because they want to work with bleeding edge technology," notes Gary Klemens, director of application outsourcing implementation services for Keane, Inc, a Boston, Massachusetts application development and eSolutions IT provider. Companies with IT needs may be able to attract top people at first when they are buying the latest technology, but can they keep them? Klemens says technology investment cycles generally take three to five years in a big company. The top talent, however, will be itching to try the new stuff long before then.
They can if they work at an outsourcing firm. "We always have clients ready to take the next step. We work on new technology annually," Klemens continues.
Outsourcing providers need the best people and tools because their assignments can be challenging. "No client has said to us, 'Here's a lay up. Do it for us.' They give us the problems in the hard pile," says Fischer. The outsourcing provider has to develop a culture that breeds excitement when faced with that kind of challenge.
Finally, outsourcing firms tend to promote their employees faster because of their growing opportunities. "We can accelerate their career paths. There's almost unlimited potential when you have 1,000 clients," says Klemens.
These advantages allow outsourcing firms to attract the best people in their field. "We offer a huge value proposition for them," Fischer concludes.
Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:
- Outsourcing providers attract the best talent because they have better and faster career paths, including a shot at the top spot.
- IT firms have a big advantage because they invest in bleeding edge technology that serves as a magnet for top talent.
- Outsourcing firms offer diversity since they work with many clients.
- Employees become more motivated when they move from the cost to the revenue side of the balance sheet.