Focus : A Suitable Boy

DQI Bureau
New Update

It would not be wrong for someone to take a guess that this is a story about

a father who bids farewell to his daughter on the day of her marriage.


However, what I am referring to in my opening lines is a story of a CIO

outsourcing the IT department he had nurtured from inception.

There are several challenges which a CIO faces while outsourcing. The IT

department is not just about servers, networks and hardware pieces it is also

about employees, some as old as the department itself. In outsourcing, the

people are a crucial part of the entire activity.

Our experience in handling various large outsourcing deals has made us

realize some of the steps which CIOs can take to make people transition a smooth



In many ways, as a practice head for people transition I look at

outsourcing as a marriage and the people transition segment as a bride which

the CIO reluctantly gives away in marriage to the suitable boy or the

outsourcing organizations.

Understand the law of giving your daughter in marriage and the spirit behind

these laws

There are legislations across the world that clearly outline legal frameworks

for conducting a people transition activity. The TUPE in Europe and provisions

in the Workplace Relations Act, Australia are some ways through which the state

exercises control on this activity.


In India, Section 25F of the Industrial Disputes Act comes into effect in an

outsourcing situation. The act says If ownership or management of an

undertaking is transferred by agreement or by law to a new employer, every

workman who has been in continuous service for at least one year in that

undertaking immediately before such transfer shall be entitled to notice and

compensation as if he had been retrenched. The retrenchment compensation is

equal to 15 days average pay for every year of service.

Technically, many of the IT workforces would come in the ambit of a



The demand and supply side in IT has made such protectionism redundant and

thats where comes the spirit of legal framework.

Statutory benefits like gratuity are provided to transitioned employees by

some employers, who are willing to extend pro-rata benefit to them even though

they might not have completed the required five years. In these cases, the

amount gets paid as a taxable component in the full and final settlement.

Leave encashment rules might have to be looked at favorably to provide the

benefit to the transitioned employees.


Some organizations were adopting practices of extending discounts on their

products to employees working with them. When these employees get transitioned

as part of outsourcing, it is a desirable practice to continue extending the

benefit to the transitioned employees. For example, if an automobile company was

giving a discount to its employees on the cars it manufactures and sells, it

could continue providing the discount even after the employee is transitioned to

an outsourcing organization.

Provide same benefits at her in-laws: It is very important that you have with

you all the salary and benefit details of your employees. Do not miss out any

benefit however trivial you may think it is. After all, it might be important to

your daughter. Compare these with the benefits at her in-laws. In case you find

certain deficits, discuss with her in-laws as to how they plan to offset these.

Most outsourcing organizations would monetize (give a monetary value) for the

shortfalls and add to the total offer that gets made.

Any impending salary increments, promotions need to be discussed in advance

so that the same can get factored by the outsourcing organization. You may

forget, but your daughter will remember that you were only too eager to get her



Communicate with your daughter: There is nobody who understands your daughter

better than you, so you play a major part in designing the communication. You

can design along with the outsourcing company a list of Frequently Asked

Questions (FAQs) covering all aspects which your employees need to know. These

FAQs can be hosted on your website along with contact phone numbers/e-mails for

any clarifications.

You should also clearly articulate the reasons for outsourcing; the more

honest you are, the greater connect you would develop with your employees.

Do not play favorites: The decision of which employees to transfer to the

vendor organization and which employees to form part of your retained

organization is an extremely important one, and the CIO needs to be firm on

this. Succumbing to pressure and changing this, leads to a political environment

and creation of rumors. The end objective of outsourcing is to bring in value to

business; hence, the choice of the retained employee must be based on answers to

any of the following:

  • Does the retained employee help in effectively building a bridge between

    the business and the outsourcing company?
  • Does the retained employee have key and critical domain knowledge which

    must be retained within the business?
  • Does any key tacit knowledge exist with the employee, which must be

    retained for the benefit of the business?

The list of in-scope employees once provided to the outsourcing company must

not be changed.

Allow the boy to meet your girl: A lot of CIOs are very cagey about

outsourcing and hence the decision of outsourcing is a confidential one. Meeting

his employees is a strict no no. This creates pressure on the vendor

organization to take some remote decisions on salary and level fitments which

later becomes difficult to correct.

So let the boy and girl meet and discuss! These are modern times.

Prepare your daughter: Professional organizations take a lot of effort to

make their employees realize the realities of an outsourcing deal. They conduct

change management workshops to sensitize their employees on certain behavior

changes which they would have to incorporate. They have dedicated coaches

earmarked from within the organization who counsel the employees transitioning

to the vendor organization. It really pays to prepare your daughter as she

enters into her new environment.

Let your daughter have a soft landing: In our experience, organizations cut

the umbilical cord with the employees who get transitioned to the outsourcing

company immediately on the day of the transfer. They feel that these employees

no longer belong to them and that their responsibility lies with the new


Here, I would like to quote an example. An employee was enjoying

complimentary snacks with an organization. This employee was transferred to an

outsourcing company as part of an outsourcing deal. Though this employee

continues to deliver service on the same premises, his complimentary snack was

withdrawn on the day he was transferred to the new employer.

One needs to gradually disengage the employee. Doing something drastic will

leave a bad taste. Give your daughter a soft landing. Dont give her a feeling

that you were too eager to get her married.

Theme marriages are the in-thing: Give a good name for your outsourcing

initiative and revolve the messages around the same. For example, one could name

the project as resonance and communicate how both the outsourcing customer and

the outsourcer would both work at similar frequencies resulting in resonating

business success. Have a theme for your daughters wedding!!

Your daughter must remember her marriage day: I am sure the whole process of

outsourcing is painful for both you and your employees. The least your employees

would be expecting is a decent farewell into the outsourcing organization. A lot

of CIOs look at this as another cost element and compromise on the farewell. The

location of the communication and the celebration associated with it (lunch or

dinner) hold a lot of significance. Like a responsible father, give your

daughter a marriage she wont forget.

In conclusion, I would like to leave all the CIOs with a message:

Every father of the bride knows that one day he would have to compete with

his son-in-law. The real smart father is one who identifies his right

son-in-law and works toward making him his best friend.

All the best to all CIOs or should I say responsible fathers.

Kasi Viswanath

The author is practice head, people transition, Wipro