Outsourcing is a practice used by different companies to reduce costs by ‘outsourcing’ or transferring labour to an outside supplier or provider. If used properly, it can be a highly cost-effective strategy due to the fact that it can be comparatively more affordable to source work or supplies externally, especially via overseas offshoring. This can be an incredible advantage to Information Technology companies, mainly due to the most significant benefit: the availability of abundant IT resource. The fact that IT is a universal code allows outsourcing to be an unlimited strategy.
However handing over business projects still comes with its risks and doubts, which is natural. Below are some questions answered and handy tips to help you combat these misperceptions, educate you on outsourcing advantages and how to effectively work with an outsourced team.
COMMON CLIENT CONCERNS AND QUERIES
Where do you outsource?
Choosing an outsourcing company’s location depends on your business reasons and industry. More often than not, outsourcing doesn’t have to be at a distant offshore city, with many global corporations choosing nearshore outsourcing to combat further cost reduction, cultural differences and workday overlap. That said, countries where close collaboration with your provider is possible, which can present one of many outsourcing advantages through similar time zones and cultural similarities is beneficial and can increase project productivity and management flow.
What is the difference between outsourcing and offshoring?
Outsourcing is the process of obtaining goods or services from an outside company. Offshoring refers to a company relocating some of their workload to an overseas location due to lower labour costs. Although similar in definitions, outsourcing does not exclusively mean offshoring – it could involve companies within the same continent or in countries only a short plane ride away.
Will I have a skilful team?
Just like a regular job application process, there are various factors and processes that need to be completed to ensure a successful team is hired. This is a prime factor when considering outsourcing advantages, as your employee prospects are no longer limited to your own country. Starting off by researching your prospective provider’s background for relevant information such as experience, reference and certifications is a sure fire way of filtering your options. Secondly looking closely at their management team will help you ascertain the individuals and how they work within projects together, as well as hosting conference calls to evaluate their interpersonal communication skills. Most importantly, it’s imperative that you research into the provider’s recruitment process and HR policies, especially in regards to employee retention and satisfaction. This determines whether your team members will have the motivation to last during work hours. By following these steps closely, there’s a positive chance you will be left with a high-quality outsourced team.
How will I communicate with my team? Will we be able to communicate?
In order for you to be on top of your business projects, regular monitoring and communication during working hours is essential. There are plenty of online tools that enable this which have little to no cost, such as Skype. By frequently communicating with another, this develops close collaboration and maximises productivity. English proficiency is thus very beneficial when it comes to selecting outsourcing providers. Usually employees being offered already have proven to be proficient in spoken English – nonetheless this should be integrated into your recruitment process.
How do you manage your team and keep them motivated at a distance?
Another of many outsourced advantages is present through the fact that by employing a team, it requires minimal supervision and management at your end. However constant communication is key to a well-oiled team. By making sure your offshore staff feel apart of the mainland company and encouraging engagement between the two parties, it can not only increase motivation but also bring out creative solutions and innovative ideas. Various companies tend to remote staff to the outsourcing company to oversee the progress and maximise communications – despite this trend, it is not necessarily a requirement by any means. Contrarily it can affect productivity if there is tense communication or cultural differences involved. The most recommended method is just to personally meet the team face to face initially before undergoing project.
What work should I outsource?
Confused as to what work you should pass on? Cater to your business’ strengths and the skills your outsourced team can provide with premium service and little supervision. Outsourcing maintenance work is a popular choice due to time difference zones which enables offshore employees who are a couple of hours behind to cater to customers who may be calling from outside of your local business hours. This is an extremely beneficial as it increases customer satisfaction, making it another addition to the list of outsourcing advantages.
What if I want to stop working with my provider?
Regardless of whether they are physically in your office or not, all your employees are entitled to the same basic workers rights, including being let go. Simply make sure that business relationship termination clauses are stipulated within your contract and allows you to do so with proper due notice.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSUL OUTSOURCE COLLABORATION
It is vital that you are aware of the steps and implementations necessary to ensure that the benefits outweigh any difficulties and that your outsourcing advantages are maximised. Here are a few tips to effectively utilise outsourcing using the three key relationships factors: trust, understanding and cooperation.
Although it is a popular saying that trust is earned and not given, a successful partnership is quite the opposite. Constantly giving someone the impression that there is limited trust present may discourage them and minimise productivity. This is why the recruitment process is so significant. If the time is taken to carefully select a provider with team members proven to be reliable, being able to trust the team to complete their workload with minimal micromanagement becomes easier. Regular team meetings are still encouraged, but it should realistically be the only time you question their progress.
The primary aspect to a successful management practice is transparency and patience. Not only do you need clarity and accuracy within your communication explanation, but you also need the ability to be patient with the people you are submitting the project to who may have an array of questions needing to be answered. It is important that you don’t let this irritate you. Questions are an indication that they aim to achieve a complete understanding of what you are after to minimise any blunders or miscommunication which could result in wasted time and effort later down the path. The sooner the questions appear, the sooner they can reach complete comprehension, which will evidently mean more accurate timelines and quicker implementations.
Teams work best when they work with you, not for you. Being able to communicate to your team members on a head level sends them the message that they shouldn’t shy away from approaching you at any given time. Weekly or fortnightly team meetings and progress reports ensures that a project is developing according to the plan and that goals and objectives are being met. It also provides opportunities for further questions to be asked and details to be clarified. Setting aside a constant time and day for this will make sure it is not accidentally missed and becomes habitual.
In addition, deadlines should be of a reasonable nature. A proper deadline should still retain a sense of urgency for completion without compromising quality. Similarly, it shouldn’t be push too far into the future that it loses priority. Listening to your team members and gaining their opinion on the likelihood of strictly meeting the deadline certifies that there is no frustration if dates could not be met simply because of its improbability.
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