Outsourcing? 10 Steps for winning your own job back on your terms

Sharks circling your Occupational Health ship? Outsmart the outsourcers without getting a bigger boat…

Have you ever had a feeling that your job is under threat and your days are numbered in your company?  They need to cut headcount or cut costs or both?

Should you wait for the axe to fall or get in first with a cunning plan?  Worried?  Here are some signs that your days might be numbered:

  • Your manager is a less frequent visitor/caller – can’t face the guilt so keeps out-of-the-way
  • Cuts made in other departments – the line is moving closer
  • Requests for justification of your salary and workload – can they afford you
  • Asking for justification for occupational health work – can they afford not to
  • A merger – usually looking for cost cutting
  • Divisions merging – looking for economies of scale
  • Not replacing leavers – see how far you can be pushed
  • Redundancy in hr/safety/oh and other non line workers
  • No annual pay rise – cost cutting
  • Falling share price pulling in your horns
  • New CEO – a new broom
  • Overheard snippets of conversation – mobile phone conversations, open offices, screens left on
  • Rumours – usually have a basis in fact

What is outsourcing?

Companies outsource when they swop a company provided service for an external provided service.  In occupational health this usually means that services are being cut or modified too.

In house OH services provide far more than the contracted services due mainly to the good heartedness of the medical staff who like to care for all aspects of a worker.  It is usually left up to the OH professionals to prioritise and undertake the correct services in each workplace.  Services can vary from health surveillance to workplace assessments to health and safety meetings, plus ad hoc advice on matters linked to health.  Each internal OH service tends to have its own specification and based on the workforce, the risks and numbers of OH staff.

Salaries are not usually the problem before outsourcing; it’s the headcount and the add-on costs that make an internal OH service much more expensive – things like:

  • National Insurance, pension, holiday pay (I usually add-on 20% on top of salary)
  • CPD for professional staff
  • Professional fees e.g. insurance, books, SEQOHS, supervision etc

What can you do?

If the writing is on the wall and you feel the bean counters looking your way, don’t sit and wait. You have a number of options.  Consider becoming your own boss and make a bid for the work you do now as the first step of building your own business empire.

As an independent contractor, you can manage your own invoicing, expenses and marketing. Also contractors have a more flexible work schedule, greater autonomy and the potential to work on a diverse range of projects. However, contractors also face challenges, such as trouble finding enough work, lack of employer-provided benefits, difficulty collecting payments and greater tax responsibilities.

There are three options for those under threat of being outsourced:

  1. Leave as soon as possible – get yourself a new job where maybe the same thing could happen again
  2. Wait for the day you’re told you’re out and then start panicking or
  3. Make your own cunning plan to outsource yourself and start today (my favourite)

If you’ve considered all this and still willing for a shilling – let’s go with my 10 top tips for making a bid for your current job and become a self-employed contractor:

See slideshare deck here:

Tell us your story and any tips for outsourcing your own job.

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Looking to start out in a health related business?  Get my book now “How to Start a Healthy Business: An Insiders Guide to Occupational Health Success” Available on Amazon.

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