Re-badging – Some Dos and Dont’s

By Sairam Bollapragada

One of the mitigation a transition manager tries to de-risk the transition is re-badging. The task seems like a low hanging fruit which would make things easy. However, a word of caution, if this re-badging is not handled deftly, the entire transition can become a big mess causing irreparable damage to the credibility in the market!

However, all the eggs in the basket may not turn out to be an asset or become a Non-performing one. However, the primary needs to take up re-badging could arise out of:

  • Non-availability of our own employees
  • Lead times to hire
  • 3P incumbent vendor in a time-bound compulsion to move out
  • VISA and other external challenges
  • Time to get the Background verification done
  • Many more

The outsourcing decision is a major one for any organization and requires a decent appetite for risks. This is especially true for BPO kind of engagements. The transition managers on both ends need to work out strategies sitting together to mitigate potential risks. There is critical need to understand the HR scenario, rules, policies, regulations, etc for the transition manager and plan the strategies relevantly.

The need to understand the policies and aligning with the same while creating these plans for re-badging may bring along few challenges which if not foreseen can create a mess. One of the largest example is, in a certain country or organization there could be a policy stating you cannot hire a person for less than 12 months and you need to pay the WFR package when you decide to offload these resources.

Another one is you are mandated to take all the employees of the client organization and then pick and choose to fire them, but not before 6 months at least.  The cost of having the resource on board versus having an onsite fly-in resource has to be weighed at the knowledge levels needed to take over and perform the job. A wrong decision can bleed you both financially as well as from seamless take over.

The re-badging can help but requires one to take into consideration at least 6 major areas of focus

  1. Building new work environment through employee management (they are tagged to us when taken over)
  2. Smooth take-over and calibration of Delivery operations
  3. Smooth take-over of the workplace at client locations (aligning our folks amalgamating into theirs while managing the workplace ethics)
  4. Ensure that transition is more effective through proper documentation while KT is conducted to introduce the offshore component
  5. Conduct the smaller transformations to make the transition more effective
  6. Handling Change management with least disruptions to the client business

All this requires strong governance and monitoring so that the cut-over period and post that are not seeing too many issues cropping up. Many transition plans have a strong assumption that re-badging would help totally derisk the transition and address the critical knowledge part without many challenges. However, I must say that the re-badging poses certain problem areas to be addressed and cannot be taken as a ready made silver bullet to close your risks:

  1. Agreement with incumbent teams for technical screening of the employees to be re-badged (after all, we don’t want to build non-performing assets)
  2. Acceptance of the offers in time from them (avoid haggling)
  3. Right mix of onshore –offshore to keep the costs optimized
  4. Right Team-pyramid structure to influence the Span Of Control
  5. Ability of the incoming resources to align, accept and adjust to the our work culture, HR policies, pay pack, etc.

Before I close, another key advise to all the transition managers who want to bet big on re-badging is to manage excellent, time- bound – right communications. The perception management between the two teams (incumbent and transition-in) should be orchestrated well to avoid any gaps in relating expectations. After all, everybody is working towards one goal of good delivery SLA management!!


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