The history of outsourced labour
The outsourcing of labour in South Africa started coming to the fore in the mid 90's when labour unrest was politically motivated and strikes were the norm. The thought behind this was for organizations to reduce risk and draw from the expertise of the labour broker when it comes to labour issues. At that stage, it was a collaboration between two parties to stabilize the workforce and have a backup for recruiting new labour when required.
Unfortunately, the purpose of the need watered down through the next ten years. In the South African business landscape, many businesses from large corporations to small enterprises started leaning towards the unethical side of the business. Why? - You may ask. Simply because they can and nobody will stop them. This gave rise to many likewise labour brokers who would dance any tune to get the business. Former union leaders who supported communism now discovered the beauty of capitalism and they lost track of their real purpose. Many of these "leaders" can now be found in top structures of government with a finger in the labour supply pie.
Can you still benefit from labour outsourcing you ask? This will depend on your reasons for the need to outsource. Mostly valid reasons for outsourcing are:
- Lack of specific skills in the labour market
- Restricted recruitment resources internally
- Temporary demand increases
- New ventures
- Short-term projects
These are all valid and appropriate reasons for considering outsource labour. The high unemployment rate ensures a wide variety of skilled labour that can boost productivity under these conditions.
When must you avoid outsource labour?
There are certain situations organizations feel they are forced to lean towards outsourcing.
- When top management does not have the skills to recruit.
- When the organization does it to obtain cheap labour.
- For unethical reasons such as avoiding the responsibility of employee welfare and moral support.
- When the need to communicate long-term goals are not considered to be necessary
- Avoiding training responsibilities
Under these conditions, you will find that productivity becomes short-term and motivated employees far and few in between. Being dishonest in your intentions will catch up sooner or later and normally at great cost to the organization.