The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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TCO and the Line Manager

Donald Glade Avatar

In the jobs I had before I started my own business, I always felt an important part of my responsibility was to develop the people who reported to me. In fact, I always went a step beyond and looked to develop one person to the point at which they could do my job.

Of course, this wasn’t complete altruism. In fact, it was rather selfish of me. You see, when I could find someone to do my job for me, that enabled me to go beyond my own job description and find newer, more interesting and ultimately more valuable and value added things to do. That was what enabled me to be more valuable to the organization, get promoted and make more money.

What does this have to do with TCO and the line manager? Over the past three years, I have helped a number of companies determine and benchmark their TCOs of payroll, HRIS and benefits. Many of those times I encountered line managers who worked hard to minimize or hide the cost their functions experienced. The thought was that if the costs were too high, outsourcing would look too attractive, and the function they oversaw would be outsourced. Interestingly enough, even after outsourcing, these managers would still have jobs.

It seems that too many times people believe the value of their jobs is directly related to how many direct reports they have. They spend their days building “fifedoms” instead of determining ways to add value to the organization and making themselves more marketable and valuable.

I look at outsourcing as the ultimate way to find someone to do my job, thereby allowing me to move on to bigger and better things. Which is better: supervising 20 people, or being responsible for a $1 million per year outsourcing contract? Which provides you with a better means of providing security for your family and marketability for yourself? How can you best continue to grow and learn?

Eventually, the fiefdoms crumble one way or another. Do yourself a favor and build years of experience instead of one year of experience repeated x times. It does no one any good to be the best buggy whip manufacturer in the world these days.

About the author – Donald Glade is President and Founder of Sourcing Analytics, Inc. , an independent consulting firm specializing in helping companies optimize their HR / benefits / payroll service partnerships through relationship management, financial analysis, and process improvement.

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