People Or Profits

As a high level employee at a previous company I was involved with, I had a lot of responsibility to help facilitate the growth of the company and increase the bottom line. Eventually, we started to receive pressure from the top to begin outsourcing a lot of the work to India. This was my first experience being involved as a decision maker on whether or not to outsource American jobs to another country.


Now, I have nothing wrong with outsourcing work if it makes sense financially and we don’t need to lay off existing people, in order to do it. In our case, it didn’t make sense because it was less efficient, we were delivering (in my opinion) a lower quality of work to our customers, and we were phasing out loyal American workers.


Some of the people we’d be phasing out were directly under me. They were people who I had grown to trust and rely on. They had done great work. If anything, they deserved a pay raise. The change was never explicitly said. It started subtly and with different teams but I knew exactly what the endgame was. When it came to my team, I had their back right through the day I left that company. Because for me, people will always be more important than the bottom line.


The irony here is that our company had positioned itself in the market to be the more expensive but higher quality alternative to the companies who outsourced. I felt almost as if the new business model was just to have an American as the face to the customer and have the work done by people in a cube farm in India.


I made my opinion very clearly known to my colleagues and to the top brass that if we justify our rates based on the “you get what you pay for” concept, then we better make damn sure we continue to deliver higher quality results than our lower priced competition. Because the day we stop doing that, is the day we’re finished as a company.


I think what many companies don’t realize is that when they cut corners to save a few dollars, one of the corners that also gets cut is the human element.