Are You an Outsourced Ombuds? Probably!


Outsourced ombuds fulfill many roles including working with organizations to help them think through the benefits and costs of establishing an ombuds office. They serve as independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resources for visitors. They also support ombuds offices to work with visitors when cases are up and staffing is down, help define the impact of an ombuds office through reimagined annual reports, and discuss difficult cases with their ombuddies.

Many ombuds serve as consultants to ombuds and ombuds offices. If this applies to you, then you’ve been an outsourced ombuds! In addition to the activities above, outsourced ombuds lend their experience and expertise in the following ways:

  • Working with established offices to identify their value and how to convey this to leadership
  • Exploring secure and compliant case management systems that provide insightful reports and help ombuds develop policies and practices that allow for greater data collection while protecting identifiable visitor information
  • Reviewing procedures for managing cases and identifying improvements and efficiencies
  • Designing and delivering trainings, workshops, and other deliverables that are designed to build the capacity of the ombuds team to serve visitors
  • Working with ombuds office leaders to support and inspire associate ombuds, analysts, and admins. This includes celebrating their contributions to the office, helping them grow their careers, and ensuring they feel part of a team
  • Providing mediation, coaching, and other process management skills
  • Conducting climate assessments and providing feedback to ombuds offices and departments within the organization
  • Facilitating contentious or complex meetings that would benefit from a neutral and independent provider
  • Conducting informal audits of in-house (and outsourced) ombuds programs to identify strengths and areas for improvement
  • Strategizing with ombuds to build relationships with HR, EEO, Compliance, Benefits, and other formal channels
  • Sharing best practices around self-care techniques to keep ombuds energized, focused, and ready to support visitors
  • Drafting and editing job descriptions when hiring an ombuds and ombuds office support staff
  • Creating or updating visitor satisfaction surveys (while protecting the identity of the visitor), including reviewing how to analyze feedback and implement recommendations
  • Providing other ombuds consulting services not listed here.

How you can share your experience and expertise?

Whether you are an outsourced ombuds service provider or a retired in-house ombuds with a wealth of experience to share, please consider listing your skills with IOA’s Outsourced Ombuds Directory (OOD).

The OOD is designed to help companies, universities, and other organizations identify resources to establish and support ombuds offices. To learn more on the directory webpage or send an email to [email protected].

While you’re at it, please consider updating your member profile so the IOA can better serve you and other members.

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