The job now departing…

The job now departing…

The economics of outsourcing are hard to deny - so prove your worth to keep your job

Pramod Bhasin wants your job. The CEO of Genpact, one of India’s largest
business process outsourcing firms, has less than three years to reach his
target of $1bn annual revenue. A large chunk of that is dependant on Bhasin
being able to convince your boss that Genpact can do your job better, faster and

‘The proper role of a healthily functioning economy is to destroy jobs and
put labour to use elsewhere. Despite this simple truth, layoffs and firings will
still always sting, as if the invisible hand of free enterprise has slapped
workers in the face,’ argued the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter.

Genpact is not alone. According to analyst Gartner, finance and accounting
business process outsourcing in Europe will grow to become a $4bn market by
2008, much of it by moving jobs such as yours to lower-cost locations such as
India, Mexico or Romania.

Short of offering the other cheek to Schumpeter’s invisible hand, what can
you do to make sure your job isn’t moved elsewhere? The answer: add more value
to your internal customers than anyone else. How? By following these simple

Be proactive

Remember your first month on the job? How many things didn’t make sense? How
many things were done ‘because that’s how we’ve always done them’? Then you got
used to the set up and stopped asking questions – big mistake. One of the first
things an outsourcing firm does when it takes over a finance centre is look at
what your business units are trying to achieve and suggest a better way to do

Don’t wait for an outsourcer to make things better. To add real value to your
organisation, start asking your internal customers what their business
objectives are and find a way to short-circuit the system – in short it’s about
delivering better results in a fraction of the time and money, before someone
else does.

Be smarter

If you have worked for your company for more than five years, chances are
that it now looks very different from when you first joined. But how different
are you from when you first joined? How many skills have you added to your
arsenal since then?

If your company offers professional development courses, take them. If it
doesn’t, make the case for offering them, or take them in your own free time.
Whatever you do, remember that as your company matures and develops, so should

Be valuable

We all like to think of ourselves as valuable members of our organisation,
yet we often forget that it is our customers who define this value. Whatever you
think your value is, remember it has nothing to do with your title. If you are
an ‘auditor’ but can’t help your company build investor confidence, what’s your

If you are a ‘controller’ but aren’t identifying any performance improvement
initiatives, what’s your value? If you’re a ‘finance director’ but are not
focused on new growth opportunities, what’s your value?

Be humble

Many of us worked hard to get to where we are in our careers. We spent years
at school, studied hard for exams and laboured endlessly to reach our current
position. But servicing customers, be they internal or external, requires

If you want to be truly valuable to your internal customers, you have to
remember one thing – it’s not about you, it’s about them. Your customers don’t
really care how good you are. All they care about is how good they’re going to
be when you’re done with them.

Be attentive

The words ‘financial’ and ‘reporting’ go hand in hand. That’s why many
finance people think that the most important component of their job is the
ability to report.

But the digitising of financial information and the rise of business
analytics means that more and more people in the organisation can generate
reports on their own, without placing a single call to the finance department.
Reporting may be becoming a commodity, but the ability to listen isn’t. One of
the best ways to become indispensable to your internal customers is to listen to
them, understand what they want and provide them with what they need.

Be effective

The economics of offshoring are hard to beat. It costs 40% less to run a
finance operation in India than it does in Western Europe. How do you compete
with a finance operation that is so much more efficient than yours? You don’t.
Instead of trying to be more efficient than the competition, focus your energy
on becoming more effective. Effective people do the right thing. Efficient
people do things right.

Effective people maximise growth. Efficient people minimise waste. Effective
people get promoted. Efficient people get offshored.

Be prepared

Five years ago offshoring mostly meant drilling for oil in the sea. Today it
could mean your job. Five years from now, your company will be facing new
challenges and opportunities. It only makes sense that the same will be true of
you. But change rarely happens in one day. More often than not it evolves

The problem is that most of us are too focused on what happens inside our
companies to see this change happening. But if you want to ensure that you’re
not caught by surprise, make it a habit to see what the world looks like outside
your company and even outside your industry.

As the science fiction author William Gibson once said: ‘The future is here,
it’s just not evenly distributed.’

The best way to ensure your job doesn’t go to someone else is to become
indispensable. And the best way to become indispensable is to do something that
no one else can do.

Many years ago the lead singer of The Grateful Dead was asked what kind of
advice he would give to a fledgling rock band. Jerry Garcia answered: ‘You do
not merely want to be the best of the best.’

If you haven’t figured out what you can do for your organisation that no one
else can, now is a good time to start. After all, if you don’t know the answer
to that question, why should anyone else?

Ziv Navoth helps organisations improve their performance. He is the
managing director of Verve! ( ) and can be
reached at

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