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IT workers at Tenn. insurer on edge amid outsourcing rumors

Patrick Thibodeau | June 22, 2016
Unum Group is eyeing ‘partnerships’ to deliver IT services

David Lewis, president and CEO of OperationsInc, a Norwalk, Conn.-based human resources consulting firm, argued that Unum is now doing damage control.

"I would expect that, no matter what Unum leadership has to say, the damage has been done, and the employees as such are not trusting of any messages to the contrary," said Lewis.

Phillip Tsen, a former offshore executive at IBM who has since written a fictional book that explores the morality of offshore outsourcing, warns about the practice. He explored the impact of outsourcing in The PM Executioner: A Project Manager's Journey in Offshoring Jobs, which describes what happened to one Peter Fallon, a project manager.

Outsourcing an IT organization "including valuable employees, is sending a wrong message to the rest employees in the company; it will create a low morale and less loyal relationship for a long term," Tsen said.

He argued that "managers are the culprit of fostering an inefficient organization" and said shifting work to an offshore pool of workers "will not fix the organizational and the project management problems."

Tsen warned that life will not become easier for IT leaders who move to a "vendor management role" after they transfer IT services to an outsourcing firm. "Don't think the standard solution template that was presented to you with your competitors' logos as references will be the right solution for you," said Tsen. "Take the control of implementing your own solution.

"Holding your vendor accountable for meeting an agreed-upon set of KPIs [key performance indicators] does not translate to your business success," he said.

Instead, Tsen said, firms and employees should work together during a transformation, which "requires employees to demonstrate their capability of learning new technology and their willingness to contribute into the transformation efforts."

The turnover rate in offshore work is high, he said, and there's "no loyalty in offshore workers." The result: A firm's technical and business strategies will leak out "simply via your offshore workers' job hunting interviews."


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