Careful Who You Outsource

Looks like the head of the Bank of Ireland got hoist by his own petard. After getting his post, he decided that in-house IT support was too expensive and did onshore outsourcing, which usually means firing everybody and letting a contracting company come in and rehire some of them at lower salaries with fewer benefits, all while charging a premium to manage them all. Supposedly there’s a cost savings in there, but all it suggests to me is that it reveals the inefficiency of the in-house HR management if simply replacing them saves enough to justify the profitability of a whole new management structure.

This, predictably, pissed off the employees, and being European and thus accustomed to such things, had some sort of labor action to protest the move.

Well, it turns out that as the outsourced IT people were looking at the executive’s machine, they found porn among the cached files on his hard drive. They informed their contacts at the Bank, and, unlike an American company, the CEO was forced to resign over the scandal. Here, only a woman who could sue for sexual harassment could bring up such an issue and have a CEO fired, and that would have to be through the courts. But nonetheless, it can get ugly.

So just make sure you’ve, um, covered all your bases, so to speak, when you decide to outsource the guy who reads your e-mail. I, for one, make sure I’m on good terms with my sysadmin wherever I go. A powerful friend, and a deadly foe.

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