Sometime in the next couple of months I'll be working for a different company. Yet, I'll still be coming to the same place, going to the same desk, and performing the same job. So, what gives?
Our work is being ‘insourced'.
I work for a health care provider. Sometime in the early-to-mid 2000's, they outsourced most of their IT functions between two different companies. One company specialized in the infrastructure (network, servers, PC, phones), and the other was dedicated to the application systems that were used throughout the environment.
I work in infrastructure, and I started here in 2006. I was actually hired by that company in 2007, as it's their standard practice to hire you first as a contractor before eventually bringing you on. So, yes, for awhile I was essentially a contractor of a contractor.
At the time, the outsourcing made a lot of sense. The IT area here was growing by leaps and bounds, and they didn't have the structure or knowledge in place to grow it properly. The two companies offered more standard practices, a wealth of knowledge from other parts of their respective companies that could be called upon when needed, and quite a bit more. So, for many years, the outsourcing premiums were justified. Our IT functions are now nationally recognized within the health care space.
Over the past couple of years, though, the organization has made some significant changes that have led to a lot of this work being streamlined. Due to a variety of factors, the leadership of the organization decided that IT was now in a state where bringing the work and the jobs back in house would save a great deal of money, and felt that the organization was structured and stable such that this would still allow for success.
As a result, most of the infrastructure jobs will be brought back in house. So, instead of working for the company I was working for, I will be working directly for the health care organization. On the infrastructure side, there aren't a lot of other local clients of our size that we support to this degree, so we won't be transferred to another account, and since the organization we support has indicated they want to keep the same structure, they'll simply be moving most or all of us over.
What does all this mean? There's a lot of things we know, but a lot we don't. Here's a rundown:
- Job title and function – As I've alluded to, the plan so far is to simply keep most people in their same jobs with the same title and the same function. There are always changes going on within the organization, so while some shuffling could happen, it probably wouldn't be directly tied to any insourcing activities. There is some risk on the applications side, as a number of positions on that side are expected to become unnecessary as some systems currently in rollout are brought online, but the impact to the infrastructure side is expected to be minimal. Which is good news for me.
- Pay – We haven't heard any details, but the message so far has been that if you are moved over and are doing the same job, it's not unreasonable to think that your pay would stay the same, unless you're way above or below industry averages. I keep pretty good track and I know I'm within the norm, so I'm hoping that they don't make cuts. Even so, this would save money for each employee brought over as they're no longer paying a ‘premium' that was likely in place.
- Health care – Early review of the benefits plan indicate that my health care should not cost anymore than it does today, but that I'll have better coverage. Last year, I switched to a High Deductible Plan. They don't even offer that here, but the offering I would likely take would be very good coverage.
- Health Savings Account – With having participated in a HDHP plan in 2013, we started an HSA to pay for the costs. So far, our costs have been minimal, so we have built a balance of over $1,000. We will no longer be able to contribute to this cost, but if we choose we can continue to pay for any medical costs until it's drawn down, or we can keep it aside for costs later down the road.
- Time off – One of the things that we haven't been given details yet is how our years of service will carry over. Even though I've received pay from other companies, the fact is that I've spent every working day for the last 7+ years supporting this organization. They recognize that and have said that we'll be credited for some or all of our service time, though they haven't released any detail. I will either get 4 weeks or 5 weeks of time off. Five weeks is what I currently receive, so I'm hoping that this remains true. It will also likely involve a bit more planning on my part, since my current employer lets us carry some time over from year to year, so I always have time available. After the transition, we'll be starting from zero, so I'll have to more carefully track my vacation, since you accrue time as you work.
- Pay frequency – We'll go from a twice-per-month pay system to an every-other-week system. If my compensation remains the same, I'll get the same amount over the course of a year, but it will be 26 paychecks slightly smaller than the current 24. I have a budgeting system that's been pretty well tuned to the 24 paychecks, so I'll have to do some tweaking.
- Retirement – Right now we receive no matching to our retirement contributions. This should change. If my review of the documents is correct, I'd now get a 3% employer contribution toward my retirement, which would be excellent news.
- Opportunity – I'm in project management, and because there are two companies as I described above, there are two separate project management structures, one for infrastructure and one for applications. Projects are split along those lines, with some projects having two project managers if they require work from both sides. This can get confusing and it limits your exposure and what you can really work on. With everybody becoming employees of the system, this structure wouldn't make a lot of sense, and the idea is that project managers will eventually be part of one organization, and that the project managers would be expected to handle both infrastructure and applications sides of projects. This would give me more knowledge, more experience, and definitely open new pathways and opportunities within my field.
Overall, I'm pretty excited about the move, so long as they don't spring anything crazy on us, like a pay cut as part of the transition. All I know is that with every job I've been at, the one thing you can count on never changing is that change will happen. And, that's definitely holding true.
Readers, have you ever been part of this type of arrangement or something similar, maybe from a merger or acquisition? How did it all turn out?