In almost all sectors of the Nigerian economy, outsourcing of personnel has become the order of the day as employers find the system conducive and profitable for business.
Unfortunately, what is generally in effect is casualization, which is often confused with outsourcing. Insecurity is the employment of casual employees, who have no contractual rights or benefits. Outsourcing, on the other hand, employs staff with all the rights and benefits of the job, such as a fixed salary, pension, medical care, paid annual leave and a right of notice, or payment in lieu. before their employment can be terminated. It is the work or service that is contracted out, not the staff. The outsourced professional supplier is the one who obtains an outsourcing contract which, like all other contracts, can be limited in time, from one to three years.
The employees deployed by such a professional outsourcing company to perform the contract ARE NOT contract or casual personnel. They should be the core staff of the outsourced provider. This staff can be assigned to other contracts of the Service Provider in the event of expiry of the Outsourcing contract.
It is in fact this huge value gap in understanding, and more so, in the professional practice of HR Outsourcing in Nigeria that our company Resource Intermediaries Limited was formed.
Resource Intermediaries Limited is a fully aboriginal company registered to engage in human resource outsourcing services. The company has been in business since 2006 with customers spread across Nigeria. The company is licensed to provide outsourcing services (general administration, recruitment and human resource management, janitorial services and related business support services). Our approach is to leverage our knowledge to meet the client’s business needs in a flexible manner. With a growing customer base, our customers continue to obtain tangible market advantages in three specific areas; rapid deployment of our systems and staff, ultimately lower operating and transaction costs and superior business management.
Our ability to deliver 10% – 30% savings in overheads, with increased staff motivation thanks to our unique outsourcing This model has been proven to motivate and improve productivity without losing the cultural ties the company has been able to develop over the years with managing non-essential staff in-house.
I am often asked, “What are the contributions of Resource Intermediaries Limited to the professional practice of outsourcing in Nigeria?” “
Well, in all humility, my answer is always “a lot”. Most importantly, a few years after our debut in 2006, we campaigned for collaboration against the dominant competition among outsourcing service providers, as an innovative way to be successful.
As early as 2010, my colleagues and I realized that the best way to establish outsourcing as a professional management practice in Nigeria would be to initiate a program that would bring together the different stakeholders of the outsourcing space. . Our target stakeholders were users, suppliers, government at different levels, parastatals, health management providers, pension administrators, etc. Our study culminated in a conference on outsourcing that we called OutsourcingExpo, to be held annually. We thought this would gradually enroll RIL as a thought leader, keen to set the standard by encouraging best practice and professionalism in the practice of outsourcing in Nigeria, away from precarization.
The OutsourcingExpo started in 2012 as an initiative of Resource Intermediaries Limited. It instantly became the place to be for outsourcing users, vendors, and advisors in Nigeria and beyond. Besides the networking opportunities, the latest trends and business deals were initiated and consumed at the OutsourcingExpo. An average of 250 delegates and 20 exhibitors attended the inaugural edition, while presentations were given by industry leaders on the day’s top hot topics. The objective of the OutsourcingExpo was to provide a platform for promoting the practice of professional outsourcing in Nigeria and ultimately in Africa, through capacity building and advocacy for all stakeholders.
No one has ever built a great thing alone. There is an instinctive feeling that the only way to stand up is to pull down those above. Noooo. At Resource Intermediaries Limited, we think about collaboration. We think multiplication. Creativity has long been viewed as an individual gift that is best pursued alone. This reasoning is a myth because creativity is always collaborative even when you seem to be alone. Think jazz bands, theater ensembles, football talents, and more. Truly, no person or organization can truly achieve greatness alone. This is why in 2013, the main industry players Vic Lawrence & Associates Ltd and Integrated Corporate Services Ltd were invited to work on the second edition of the OutsourcingExpo in collaboration with Resource Intermediaries Limited.
In 2014, the OutsourcingExpo was entrusted to the Association of Outsourcing Professionals of Nigeria (AOPN) to expand its scope and reach. AOPN has since successfully hosted the annual event in realizing its vision of creating a catalyst hub for the improvement of the outsourcing profession in Nigeria. Greater awareness has since been created in Nigeria for outsourcing as a professional service offering through this initiative.
Despite these contributions from RIL, the practice of outsourcing remains largely unregulated. This is because there is still no enabling legislation to guide the practice as it should be. Unfortunately, the legislation currently under review does not distinguish between casualization and outsourcing, a professional management practice. Any proposed legislation should seek to oblige subcontracting companies to meet specified minimum standards, as befitting the personnel assigned to them. These benefits should be part of the contractual commitments financed by the outsourcing of the company. Examples of these benefits are payment of full salary for one month for staff disengaged within 12 months and one additional month for each additional year that such staff worked in the contracted engagement. Another should be access to medical coverage for all staff, spouses and a maximum of two children. What is obtained now is usually reserved for staff, where it is not provided at all.
Another contribution that we have made over the years is the provision of capacity building services. This is to help reduce unemployment by providing training in the basic skills required for the labor market. This is a major challenge because many of our graduates are either unemployable or underemployed. Although we are only able to provide employment when our clients engage us to recruit for them, our contribution, more significantly, has been in two parts: –
- We started the RIL Finishing School nine years ago (2012). To date, 85 training courses of 3 to 5 days have been organized, with 2,675 people considered. The training covers 18 modules such as mastering the art of interviewing, resume writing skills, attitude and character for success in life, self-presentation and public speaking tips, successful management of a small business, problem solving skills, efficiency, customer service skills, accounting for non-accountants and much more.
- We encourage entrepreneurship through the provision of grants and individual coaching sessions.
In recent years, having established ourselves as being particularly different from the general practice of precariousness, we have turned to providing shared workspaces and flexible serviced offices within the same outsourcing model. As is our pedigree, we’ve set the standard in this space in about three years of operating our theBUNKer ®️ coworking facilities.
theBUNKer ®️ is a chain of co-work facilities with flexible offices, training spaces and private offices for short and long rentals. We are currently serving the public at Lekki Phase 1 and Yaba in Lagos, as well as two other outlets in Abuja and Ibadan.
The main attributes of theBUNKer facilities are flexible and incredible rates, with something for everyone, comfortable, colorful yet functional spaces and multiple seating areas, built for those seeking that proudly African feel. Each establishment also has an on-site cafe, with drinks and snacks to die for while you work or just in the lounge. They also boast multiple spaces for meetings (formal and less formal), longer opening hours, 9am to 9pm Monday through Friday, and ideal for that quiet evening needed to wrap up your work. To top it off, we’re open on statutory holidays, when you need a quiet and comfortable place for that creative work, a meeting, or just some alone time.
There are huge outsourcing opportunities in Nigeria, even though it is an area largely populated by inexperienced and dubious suppliers. Again, outsourcing as a management practice simply means transferring work responsibilities and decision-making rights to someone outside of an organization. This understanding gradually led us at RIL to explore how we could use our local knowledge and experience over the past fifteen years, and growing, to provide quality and ethical outsourcing services in Nigeria.
Here is a small gift, in commemoration of our 15th anniversary. This is a litmus test question to guide any organization that is still unsure whether to make the decision to outsource: –
- Is this business activity where its future leaders could come from?
- Is the company so good at the business that other companies would hire it to do it for them?
- If we were to start from scratch today, would the company build the capacity or initiate the process internally?
If the answer is “No” to any of the above questions, you can consider outsourcing as a business management process.
During our fifteen years, we believe that we have been of great value to Nigerien society and economy by providing jobs to thousands of people, while being a responsible corporate entity.
Looking back, the past fifteen years Nigeria has been great for our business, and we look forward to the next fifteen, with renewed hope and faith in the good people and the good nation of Nigeria.
** Soji Oyawoye is the CEO of Resource Intermediaries Limited and written from Lagos.