Critical thinking

Is Outsourcing A Solution To The Great Resignation?

While researchers may take years to understand the full effects of the coronavirus on the human anatomy and its long-term implications, the interim effects of the virus are being felt every day in people and countries.

Business owners have seen it all in the last two years, from workplace restrictions to lockdowns. Adding to these troublesome scenarios is the need to keep the fire burning at their employees’ homes. Such a situation has not been experienced since the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. 

The latest effect of the COVID pandemic is a phenomenon that has never before been experienced in the US economy. Something that no one could have predicted, given the significant employment losses due to a shrinking economy: The Great Resignation. 

The Great Resignation

In early 2021, the United States experienced an economic trend never experienced before. The Great Resignation, also known as The Big Quit, during which employees quit their jobs voluntarily.

Statistics indicate that over 38 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, with a staggering 4.2 million resignations in October 2021. Alarming figures created turbulence within the US economy.

While labor experts are still unable to fathom the specific reason for this trend, the primary reason for it seems to be a reluctance on the part of people to return to their workplace after working from home for almost two years.

A desire to maintain a better work-life balance, enjoy the flexibility of working from home, and spend the time saved on commuting on following their personal pursuits are other reasons being advocated by people who are resigning from their workplace in large numbers.

Whatever the reasons may be, herd mentality or personal, The Big Quit’s effect on the workforce has been overwhelming, with organizations struggling to meet their business commitments.

In such a scenario, there seems to be only one probable solution: Outsourcing.

It’s time for employers to adapt to changing business scenarios

While businesses such as retail stores, food businesses, leisure, and hospitality need their employees to be physically present to continue their business, there are others that can make do without this specific need. 

The work from home or remote working concept over the last two years has shown that service-oriented businesses can still survive, subject to them being able to successfully adapt to a remote working model. 

With employees in the US still reluctant to start working for varied reasons, US businesses can begin exploring the concept of outsourcing, i.e., using remote workers more actively. 

With remote workers being available easily for even the most mundane tasks such as bookkeeping, administration, or answering emails, business owners can easily delegate their work to them and focus on growing the business. Some companies even offer remote assistants for specialized roles such as digital marketing, project management, etc., thereby helping entrepreneurs grow their business substantially. 

Business sectors that can benefit through outsourcing 

The Great Resignation has primarily been seen in the food (6.8%) and retail (4.7%) sectors. 

While both these sectors depend on the presence of physical employees to attend to customers, there are a majority of roles such as purchase, logistics management, etc., which are usually managed at the backend. As a result, businesses can consider outsourcing these roles to remote workers. 

Other industries facing employee retention problems that can benefit from outsourcing are banking, insurance, bookkeeping, education, and wellness. 

How will outsourcing benefit companies in the US?

Outsourcing is no longer the same as it used to be in the early ’80s & ’90s. Instead, it has evolved tremendously since then. Today, providing remote workers ensures that they are well trained in many specialized tasks and fluent in English.

The employees are trained to be productive from day one, without any lag time involved in training or onboarding them with a client. All this at a fraction of the cost; it would otherwise cost you to hire an employee in the US, given the many extra benefits payable.

Further, you also get the advantage of time zone difference. You can easily create a list of tasks in the evening with your remote assistant and get them completed when you arrive at your workplace the next day. Add in the flexibility to scale up or down the workforce required, and you have a win-win situation.

Outsourcing or Remote working, as some may call it, is here to stay!

Remote working is a growing trend given the infinite advantages it offers. While employers benefit from having a well-trained and equipped, productive workforce on their hands, employees benefit from a better work-life balance.

The flexibility and convenience that remote working offers are second to none. In fact, these are some of the primary reasons that employees worldwide are reluctant to return to their workplace. 

However, employers also need to ensure that they engage actively with their remote workforce so that they don’t feel a lack of engagement or burnout while attending to their responsibilities.

Working with a remote team requires an employer to set up proper communication and coordination channels, with systems being built to assist the employee with any work-related or personal problems.

The existing worker shortages have opened new outsourcing avenues for businesses to explore. So, it would be well worth their time to invest time and energy in engaging with a remote workforce to scale up their business.


Written by Neelesh Rangwani.

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Neelesh Rangwani
After completing his MTech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, Neelesh Rangwani worked with KPMG's Management Consultancy Division. He then joined Rocket-Internet’s Fab Furnish as a marketing manager before moving to Germany to join another venture of Rocket Internet. He co-founded Wishup in the year 2015 along with his friend Mr. Vivek Gupta.


Neelesh Rangwani is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.