When you're new to outsourcing, the process may seem daunting. It starts from hiring and training your offshore team, to facing the challenges of managing them, to evaluating your staff, and finally ending the contract. Rather than let you blindly test the waters, we've created this short introduction to outsourcing to help you sail through the process like a pro.
Finding the Right People
Skills are important, but a good work ethic and a desire to learn are more valuable for employers. Skills can be taught. Technical know-how can be learned through training and experience. But, a person's attitudes towards work and constant learning cannot be taught or easily embraced.
So, aside from looking at the resumes of your job candidates, ask for recommendations from people who knew them well as a person and a co-worker. You can also request for a personality test to be conducted by an HR professional. Better yet, hire a recruitment agency or rely on your outsourcing provider to select the cream of the crop.
Every year, colleges and universities in the Philippines churn out hundreds of thousands of diploma-bearing graduates. These new additions to the global workforce grew up watching movies and TV shows from Hollywood and reading books written in English, among other things. It's no wonder that Filipinos have a better command of English compared to their Asian neighbors. This makes them an attractive talent pool for small and medium-sized businesses looking for skilled workers with competitive rates.
Training Your Staff
Just because you hired the skilled ones, it doesn't mean they can do the job well as soon as they got on board. Even executive hires need to go through an onboarding process.
The process introduces your staff to your business. They learn what your mission and values are, and what your company does. They also learn what your expectations are of them and what metrics to keep in mind when doing their jobs. At the same time, you and your staff get to know each other better, so you can be more cohesive as a group and learn to get along well with one another.
Managing Your Staff Even If You're Not Around
Part of outsourcing to an offshore provider is managing a remote team when they all live and work in another country located in a different timezone. First thing you do is check the time difference between you and them. Use everytimezone.com or worldtimebuddy.com to schedule staff meetings and morning huddles.
Next thing to consider is the set of communication and collaboration tools you'll be using with your staff. The importance of communication can't be stressed enough. It's a vital component of any relationship, especially in a long-distance working relationship.
Make use of tools like Skype, Hangouts and Slack. Collaborative tools like Google Docs and Zoho are free to use. They're also easy to integrate with other apps or your preferred email client. Paying for an enterprise account adds more people to your team and improves the security for your emails.
Disciplining and Rewarding Your Staff
Most outsourcing companies offer actively managed services, wherein their top management takes care of everything, including employee-employer relations management. While you have the final say on who to hire, fire and promote, much of the work to accomplish these things as smoothly and peacefully as possible is done by your outsourcing provider.
Outsourcing is global collaboration. You're expected to participate in evaluating the performance of your staff, deciding who to hire or fire, and ultimately, choosing which ones to promote and raise their salaries.
Canceling the Contract
Many outsourcing companies offer a termination of convenience clause in their contracts. Because what you're essentially doing is staff leasing, your contract reflects the ability to end the relationship any time. There's no need to provide a reason.
As much as possible, outsourcing providers would rather see their clients go through an amicable separation from the relationship than leave them frustrated and angry. Outsourcing is not for everyone. It's definitely not for the unprepared or misinformed.