The following will provide you with everything you need to know about how to begin your outsourcing journey including videos, templates and articles. From process reviews, recruitment, training and onboarding to implementation and future actions, this is your ultimate guide to setting yourself up for outsourcing success.
Offshoring can revolutionise your business for the better. But in order to get the most from hiring offshore staff, it’s important to prepare your business so that you are offshore ready. The following will take you through the process of preparing your business for outsourcing.
Once you have made the decision to integrate an offshore team into your business, it’s important to share the decision with your existing team. The most effective way is to engage your team up front, share your ideas and vision with them. Ask them to think about how an outsourced team member could help them in their job and day-to-day tasks. By doing this, you will be able to address any questions your staff may have which will allow you to manage any initial push back straight away.
The main reason you will get push back from your team is uncertainty. They will be uncertain about what the new changes will bring and how those changes will affect their role in the business. Your team will want to know what’s in it for them. Engage your onshore team by getting them to write down tasks they love doing in their job and the tasks they dislike doing. Most of the time, the tasks they dislike are mundane, repetitive and process driven; which are perfect for sending offshore. On the other hand, the tasks they love doing should be the revenue generating tasks that will ultimately result in business growth and more profit. Ask your team, “if someone else did the tasks you hate doing, what impact would this have on your productivity and happiness at work?”
There is no point making the decision to hire offshore staff if you don’t 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. This can be done via a process review.
More often than not, most businesses will outsource the time consuming, process driven, highly repetitive tasks; so the local team can focus on the high value, revenue generating tasks. To find out which tasks hold higher value than others, simply rank their importance. To do this, you need to engage your existing team. Ask them to help you by recording inefficiencies in their day, any business process improvements they have noticed during their employment and to take the time to truly understand the level of process documentation within your business.
This will help you identify what tasks you want to send offshore and will give you a better understanding of your business processes and if they are due for a review. Once completed, we recommend storing these in a process library.
Engaging the right outsourcing provider with the correct model for your business and work practices is crucial for ensuring success. Without being familiar with the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry, you could find yourself in a situation where you don’t 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. To ensure you are selecting the right outsourcing provider for your business, ask the supplier questions that will really drill into their operations. Make sure you understand how they will ensure all important metrics are met and measured.
Without technology outsourcing wouldn’t be viable. Technology is a crucial component for the success of your outsourcing journey so it’s important that you keep your software up-to-date to ensure smooth sailing. Basically, all you need is a computer, headset, webcam and web conferencing platform. Technology holds a lot of power in the sense that it allows you to communicate effectively and efficiently with your offshore team.
Recruiting the right staff for the right job is crucial for business success. Especially for your offshore team. This will ensure your business is reaping as many benefits out of the process as soon as possible.
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. If you decide this model works best for you then you are going to need to give your outsourcing provider 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 introduction of a job description (JD) is where you must gain the interest of the applicants so they continue reading to the end. Ensure the content you are writing for the introduction of your JD is engaging and exciting. The JD should read like a funnel, creating lots of interest at the top and getting as many applicants as possible interested in the role, then having people self-qualify as they read through to the bottom. Really take the time to get the JD spot on. It will determine the applicants that apply for the job and ultimately a future employee for your business.
As a standard, most providers will test applicants to assess their English and Maths skills. However, it is important to also have applicants undergo job specific testing to ensure they have the practical experience or the aptitude, to learn the skills required to do the job correctly. A job specific test is designed to examine how well a candidate can complete the tasks which they will be employed to do.
You can provide a brief to applicants and have them complete that brief in the office, while under supervision, with a time limit. You can then assess the quality of their output and make a judgement as to whether they have the skills to do the required tasks or potential to learn what is required. This concept can be applied to all roles, regardless of the nature of the required tasks.
Just like recruiting staff locally, the ‘job interview’ is an important part of the selection process. It is an opportunity for you to ask questions and develop an understanding of the applicant’s skills and experience, personality and behaviours, as well as a cultural fit within your business.
It’s important to introduce yourself and your business and explain a little bit about the role, but keep in mind that this is when you need to make the applicant feel at ease. Don’t give too much detail at this stage, instead, turn the focus to the applicant by asking them some questions to help you get to know them. Feel free to ask the applicant about their family, where they live, how they get around and what they like doing. This will give you the opportunity to develop a general understanding about what motivates them, their personality type and will set up the discussion for the more in-depth part of the interview.
Ask the applicant about any questions, anomalies or concerns you may have about their resume. Utilise this stage to clarify any queries you may have about the applicant. Make sure you cover everything off as you don’t want to be in a position where you hire someone you are not 100% comfortable with.
Describe a common scenario or problem that the role will be expected to deal with, and ask the applicant how they would handle it. When asking these sorts of questions, it’s important to remember that most Filipinos will not understand the context in which your business operates. In other words, the way a Filipino views the world will be different to the way you and your staff do. So, don’t be too concerned if the answer seems to be a little ‘left-field’ or not what you’d expect a Westerner to say; it may well be a completely acceptable solution in the Philippines. Just remember, you are assessing problem solving ability and NOT the effectiveness of the solution itself.
Now that your business is offshore ready and you have recruited the right team member, it’s time to onboard your new hire.
A common misconception associated with outsourcing is that the offshore team member will be trained and ready to go. Outsourcing is a partnership between you and the outsourcing provider. A partnership that requires equal effort from both parties in order to be successful. This common misconception is the reason why businesses endure negative outsourcing experiences.
Onboarding your offshore team and integrating them with your local staff doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember, communication is key to a successful outsourcing journey.
Here are the steps you need to take to ensure your outsourcing transition is as smooth as possible:
With today’s technology, offshoring has become extremely easy. You need to get familiar with it and use it well to get the most out of your offshoring solution. Set up a large LED TV with Skype or Zoom (or any other video/web conferencing platform you prefer) and have the connection permanently open in your main onshore work area, directly connecting your offshore staff and office. This creates an active portal at all times between both locations, and will encourage both teams to talk to each other, discuss issues and help each other out.
If you currently have an IP phone system in your business, it may have the capability to have remote call groups. This basically means that your offshore team can be set up with IP phone handsets (either hard or soft phones), with a phone number within your allocated number range and a corresponding extension number. This brings both offices closer together, as your onshore staff can then speak to your offshore staff via their IP phone simply by calling the appropriate local extension, with no call cost associated with it. Furthermore, if your offshore team members are required to make outbound calls to customers, suppliers, prospects, and so on, they can also do this through your own domestic phone system.
The following applications are tools we have used and recommend using in order to reap as many benefits from outsourcing as possible:
Skype: a telecommunications application that specialises in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices and so forth.
Zoom: offers communications software combining video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration.
Snagit: a screenshot program that captures video display and audio output.
Trello: a web-based list-making application. Trello keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details.
JIRA: a proprietary issue tracking product that allows bug tracking and agile project management.
Now that you know everything to set yourself up for success, it’s time to get started with your new offshore team. Here are some tips and tricks on the problematic areas that cause most people to fail during their outsourcing journey.
One thing Australians are well known for is our blunt communication style. Culturally, we’re not backward in coming forward. The downside is we expect everyone else to be like this. The simple truth is, not everyone is. You would think that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are pretty straightforward words with one meaning each. This is mostly the case, but in the Philippines, people are generally very grateful for a job and never want to disappoint their boss. So, if you ask your Filipino staff member if they understand something, often they will say ‘yes’, but not really mean it; the ‘passive yes’. This means they do not fully understand what you want, and are too afraid to ask questions. They think that a lack of understanding and asking for help will reflect poorly on them as an employee, when really that’s not the case at all. To overcome this simply:
Ask open questions
Check up on and confirm their understanding
Reiterate the brief in more detail if you suspect opportunities for misconception.
Australians are generally terrible people managers. We don’t manage people to tasks and it’s very rare to come across an Australian manager who has a framework that they use when managing teams. On the other hand, Filipinos love being managed through feedback, KPIs and other performance measures. This means the idea of building an offshore team and then putting them on ‘set-and-forget’ is doomed to fail.
To address this, make sure you:
It’s today’s technology that has made Philippines-based outsourcing such an effective option for businesses. Your computer probably already has everything you need to work with remote teams. All you need is a webcam, headset and web conferencing software; all of which is inexpensive and easy to set up. From a tech point of view, the only thing stopping you from running an offshore team is a closed mind.
Having well-documented processes is a must have for building an effective offshore team. This is always a massive sticking point for many business owners considering outsourcing.