Effective Outsourcing: Making It Work Beyond Its Worth
Take control with modern-day outsourcing
There is a terrible misconception that when outsource professional services, hard work is finally over. You just throw out some functions to an “outside team,” you go on with your business, and everything works out just fine. This is a dreadful lie and the polar opposite of effective outsourcing.
There are two things you need to know when you start outsourcing: First, it is a partnership, not just a contract – it needs an active collaboration between your business and the provider. Second, it is an investment, and just like all other investments, it takes time, effort, and care before it grows.
We live in an era of modern outsourcing. Gone are the days when outsourcing looks like a row of cubicles with people isolated in their own headphone-covered world of work. Gone are the days when outsourcing means letting go of control over a business function solely for cost-cutting purposes.
Modern outsourcing models are geared towards providing customisable business solutions. Because many countries have mature outsourcing landscapes with global-oriented policies and technological advancements, providers have become flexible to their clients’ needs, down to the last detail.
Whether you need a few individuals to fill some seats, a full team to work on a project, or full end-to-end business solutions, effective outsourcing can do that for you. Are you an established business looking to expand overseas or a startup needing help in recruiting talent to be competitive? Outsourcing has got your back.
Current models of outsourcing even let you integrate your brand into your team, tweak governance structures to effectively manage your staff, and choose whether to adopt onsite, remote, or hybrid work. Effective outsourcing today gives businesses more control than ever.
With all the changes in the outsourcing industry, one thing remains for certain: You get to reduce costs and have more savings. But that’s just one aspect of outsourcing, the other lies in the unprecedented level of control you get over your team – a key to reaching the full potential of outsourcing.
The level of control a company gets when it outsources begs for a higher level of participation and involvement throughout the whole outsourcing process. From initial talks, recruitment, onboarding, to team management – your input will be crucial in making the most out of your partnership.
It might sound daunting, but in truth, it’s not so different at all from getting the ball rolling with a project. It takes a certain amount of effort to build the foundations, but when you roll it out, management becomes seamless.
When you sign a deal with an outsourcing provider, the first step is to build the team. We have already revealed a few trade secrets on how to successfully build an outsourced team, so here, we list down a list of insider tips on how to get the most out of your deal.
Communicate, get involved, and be transparent
Outsourcing, as mentioned earlier, is an active partnership, which means it needs you to get involved throughout the whole process. Right after signing the deal, it is crucial for you to sit down with your partner and discuss in the detail your requirements. All the information you give will be the basis of the setup you will get for your team.
Agree on a realistic timeline and always be responsive when your input is needed, especially during the recruitment process. Outsourcing is a highly competitive industry, and every delay has big repercussions. Always make yourself available for interviews as soon as a candidate agrees because that person may take the next offer he gets without hearing you out.
Communication and transparency are two key factors in maintaining good business partnerships. Even when your team is up and running, always keep a channel where every party can quickly reach you for any concerns. Encourage your in-house and outsourced managers to have regular catchups to avoid any miscommunication.
Get your in-house team involved
It is easy for your in-house employees to see outsourcing as a threat to their job security, especially when they hear about it from rumour mills. The best thing to do is get them involved, communicate your goals, why you need to outsource, and their role in the upcoming changes. In this way, you get their buy-in and nobody loses morale.
When you have buy-in from your core team, it will be easier for you to integrate their workflow with the outsourced team. You may even find opportunities for your in-house employees to collaborate with the outsourced team whose members would benefit from the learnings they get in their joint activities.
Start small, learn the ropes, and scale when ready
Outsourcing does not have to be big and grand all at once, especially when you are a startup trying to outsource some roles for the first time. Dip your toes and test the waters first before diving deep into outsourcing. Start by outsourcing, perhaps, two or three people to do back-office functions as you learn the dynamics of having an outsourced team.
The most successful companies start with a small team. They take note of the challenges they encounter on recruitment, onboarding, and remote team management. Current outsourcing models allow companies to scale up easily when they are ready, especially when they have all the learnings from the experience with their first team members.
There are many cases where companies outsourcing to the Philippines started with a small team doing back-office roles, but when they discovered the deep and diverse talent pool available, they quickly expand and outsourced roles that require specific technical expertise to help them with other high-value business operations.
Establish a sound governance structure
Managing a team, especially when you outsource offshore, can be daunting if you don’t have the right governance structures in place. Communications fail, productivity dips, and the promise of outsourcing goes down the drain. But it doesn’t need to be that way as there are established best practices on effective management in outsourcing.
Start by making reporting lines as clear as possible. So many things can be lost in translation when it comes to remote management. So, it would be a great start to at least have a point person to serve as the direct line between you and the outsourced team. Have your outsourced team learn your organisation’s structure and their place in it as well.
You can utilise your provider’s customer experience managers as your direct line to the staff or hire a dedicated country manager according to your own requirements. Some companies use their own in-house manager to manage the outsourced team. There are many options available for this and you only have to talk with your provider.
Own your team, it’s yours anyway
If outsourcing is a partnership more than a contract, then your outsourced staff is more of an extension of your team outside your headquarters. Modern outsourcing models allows you to realise this by providing options to customise workspaces, board rooms, and activities according to your brand.
To be successful in truly owning your team, you must take the time to learn about them, their culture, aspirations, and the things they value the most. Use shared values as a starting point of establishing a good working relationship. Some companies, for example, would celebrate small milestones with their employees, sending them gifts during their birthdays.
Engage your outsourced employees in weekly catchup meetings to check on them. Include them in company-wide meetings and events. Celebrate with them so they celebrate your company’s win as well. The key here is to treat your outsourced team the same way you treat your core employees. It may sound simple, but this goes a long way.
Reaping the benefits of effective outsourcing
Once you get the hang of outsourcing, expect the whole process to move like clockwork as you go along. The best thing about this is you get to maximise the full benefits of outsourcing beyond the usual outsourcing price reduction.
Outsourcing providers let you access technologies and systems to improve business processes, like management platforms customised to your specific requirements. Developing management platforms on your own can be expensive, but you get it as part of the package when you outsource business services.
By outsourcing, you don’t only get huge savings, but also expertise on certain business functions that can otherwise interrupt some of your core operations. With a global talent shortage, some skills are hard to find in certain regions, but outsourcing solves this problem with access to global talent.
Moreover, letting qualified professionals handle certain functions lets you focus on tasks that generate added value to your organisation, such as problem-solving, developing strategies, enhancing products and processes, and more.
There are many reasons why outsourcing continues to be one of the best options for industry leaders, and one of them is simply because it works. Now that you have an idea of how to make it work effectively, it may not hurt to consult several outsourcing providers and see if one of them can help you out.