We all know the old saying, ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’. We don’t want you to be that person, which is why we created the following 8 step outsourcing plan with links to really useful and practical blogs and eBooks. Don’t start your outsourcing journey without checking this out.
1. Tell your staff
Once you have made the decision to integrate an offshore outsourced team into your business, it is important to share the decision with your existing team and ensure you manage any initial push back straight away. The alternative is to sit on the decision and then surprise your team when you actually start making changes to assist with onboarding your new outsourced team member. It is most effective to engage your team up front, share your ideas and vision with them and ask them to think about how an outsourced team could help them in their job and day to day tasks. We have written two blogs which will give you the tools to ensure you manage your business through the change brought on by integrating an offshore team:
- Change Management: Your biggest barrier to success
- 8 steps to successfully implementing an outsourced team in your business
You may also be interested in watching our On-demand Webinar, How to get buy-in from your local team.
2. Identify what tasks you want to outsource
There is no point making the decision to bring on outsourced resources when you do not know what tasks they are going to complete for you. Once you have made the decision to outsource, you need to clearly define the tasks within your business that you are going to have your outsourced team complete. More often than not, you want to outsource the time consuming, process driven, highly repetitive tasks; so your local team can focus on the dollar producing, revenue-generating tasks.
To do this you need to engage your existing team and ask them to help you by recording down the inefficiencies in their day, workshopping business process improvements and understanding the level of process documentation within your business.
The first article of our 5 part education series, The three steps to identify which business processes you need to offshore to maximise growth, will provide you with all of the tools and information you need to make sure you are outsourcing the appropriate parts of your business.
3. Engage an outsourcing supplier
Engaging the right outsourcing provider with the correct model for your business and your work practices is crucial in ensuring success. Without being familiar with the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry you could find yourself in a situation where you do not really understand what to expect from providers, whether what they are selling represents good value and whether or not you’re opening your business up to unnecessary risk.
This is precisely the reason we wrote the ebook, 33 questions to ask your outsourcing provider. When you are shopping for an outsourcing provider make sure you go to any sales meeting armed with these questions; and you will very quickly learn who is the right match for you.
4. Get your technology right
Today’s technology is what makes outsourcing offshore such an effective business solution. The tech is incredibly cost effective and easy to set up and operate. Basically, all you need is a computer, headset, webcam and web conferencing platform (we use Zoom). If you want more info on what you need (some of the following is optional) to set up your staff and office to make working with remote staff as simple as possible then read the following two blogs.
- What you need to create a professional video conferencing setup to meet with your Virtual Assistants
- 7 tools everyone with offshore staff should be using
5. Create a Job Description and Key Results Areas
The outsourcing model that we have found works best for any business is to contract an outsourced staff member on a full time basis who works for your business 100% of the time. The benefits to this arrangement are: consistency, your new resource gets to know your business from the ground up, meet all of the personalities in your business, and build their own corporate knowledge bank. If you decide this model works best for you then, you are going to need to provide your outsourcing provider with a ‘brief’ outlining the kind of person you are looking for and what sorts of tasks you will need them to do for you. The best format for this is a Job Description (JD) and a Key Results Area (KRA) document. Put simply, the JD outlines what skills you are looking for and what tasks you want the person who fills the position to do; and, the KRA outlines how well you expect those tasks to be completed.
The third article of our Education Series, The four steps to recruiting the right staff for your offshore team, will help you design your own Job Description and Key Results Area.
6. Develop a training plan
A very common concern for businesses looking to outsource for the first time is ‘how long will they take to train’? The answer: If trained correctly then no longer than training someone you hire locally.
You need to be very clear about your training goals and how you are going to deliver on them. You can either travel to your outsourced staff’s location, bring them to you, or simply adjust your usual training methodology to account for the tyranny of distance for best results. Regardless of which option you choose you will need a training plan.
The fourth article of our Education Series, The three steps to onboarding your offshore team and integrating them with your local team, will provide you with step by step advice on how to maximise your training for long term benefit.
7. Manage your outsourced team
Think of all the effort you have gone through to manage the introduction of an outsourced team in your business, choose a provider, recruit a resource and train them, and fit out your office with the right technology, for it all to fall apart because your offshore team is not being managed on an ongoing basis.
The set and forget technique does not work with the management of anyone, let alone an offshore team. You need to have an effective management framework within your business that is consistently used to manage your outsourced staff.
The 5th article in our education series, The three steps to onboarding your offshore team and integrating them with your local team, will provide you with the framework you need to ensure you get the best results from your offshore team for the long run.
If you’d prefer to watch our webinar, How to maximise productivity in your outsourced team, then click here.
8. Grow your team
Once you have brought on your first outsourced team member, you will very quickly become comfortable with how it all works; and, you will start to see for yourself the incredible benefits outsourcing can have for your business if it is done correctly. Once you get it right once, you will begin to see other opportunities within your business where outsourcing could play a big part in improving a process, servicing customers better, or trying a new marketing tactic.
I’ve referred to the Education Series quite a few times throughout this blog. I created the series because I had heard so many horror stories and I wanted to provide businesses with a comprehensive, practical guide on how to get outsourcing right the first time. That guide grew into a 5 part education series. You can download all of it here.
If you’ve been through this article in detail and read all the linked blogs and eBooks, and are now searching for more information tailored to your business then it is probably worth contact us for a free business consultation. You can arrange for one of our people to call you back here.