Outsourcing vs Outstaffing

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Dear Forum members,

I wonder as to what your opinion is on any difference in meaning between these terms, though "outstaffing" must be in use mostly in post-Soviet countries.
I've googled them a bit and below's what I've found so far.
Outsourcing:
Example:
"Even hotels have begun to outsource traditional functions, including cleaning services."
So if you outsource a function, probably the following conditions are fulfilled:
  • you no longer perform the outsourced function yourself;
  • the staff employed by the external company reports to that external company as their employer, not to you.

However, here's an example with "Outstaffing":
(I've made up this example taken from real life, since I haven't been able to find one on the Internet) "The automotive plant concludes outstaffing contracts every year to hire temporary staff to work on its assembly line, or in its body shops, when there are staff shortages".

As far as I can judge from these two examples, the difference might be that when you outstaff, you do the following:
  • you hire temporary external staff via a contract with a staffing agency to work in your own business functions;
  • you do not outsource these functions;
  • the hired temporary staff reports to you for the "rent" period, not to their actual employer (=the staffing agency).

Interestingly, sometimes these situations are interleaved one under another, and here's an example:
"The employment structure at the warehouse where Caudillo and Rodriguez work is complex. The facility moves goods exclusively for Walmart. But it isn’t owned or operated by the giant retailer. Instead, Walmart contracts with a New Jersey-based company called NFI to run the warehouse. NFI in turn contracts with temporary-staffing agencies to hire and supervise the workers -- several hundred of them." (taken from here Workers protest pay, conditions at Walmart warehouses).
So, Wamart outsources the operation of the warehouse to NFI (a supply chain management company), and NFI outstaffs its own operations to staffing agencies (you can guess what may be left as actual workers pay).

Dear Forum members, I wonder how "outstaffing" real-life situations are usually termed in your countries? And have you encountered them?

Thank you very much for any feedback.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It would be helpful if you gave your reason for the question - curiosity or practicality?

    I looked up "outstaffing" and the first site I saw (2014) said "outstaffing is a relatively new term." I do not and never have worked in a sector that did this, so I've little experience. However, one of my sons took a few jobs with an employment agency, and he expressed the idea of "outstaffing", although he did not use the word, as "hiring/taking on employees from an employment agency" - this is also what I would say. Prior to your question, I would have no reason to use outstaffing.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've never heard "outstaffing".

    Outsourcing is assigning a task or service normally or formerly performed within the company to an outside source.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    As far as I can judge from these two examples, the difference might be that when you outstaff, you do the following:
    • you hire temporary external staff via a contract with a staffing agency to work in your own business functions;
    • you do not outsource these functions;
    • the hired temporary staff reports to you for the "rent" period, not to their actual employer (=the staffing agency).
    This has been a very common business methodology for at least 100 years. It is called many things, but outstaff is not one of them.

    Outstaff an invented term. Not standard English. Do not expect anyone to understand it.
     
    Thank you all a lot for your input!
    So, I'm now 100% sure this is a "Russian neologism" coined on an English word (or two words, for that matter)...
    I'm sorry if I've misled anyone, and thank you again!
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    One difference that is so obvious no one has mentioned it is that "outstaffing" could only refer to people, whereas "outsourcing" may refer to people, equipment, services, software, supervision, risk management, legal compliance, and many other things.
     
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