Mike Foster Director of ManageMe looks at some of the key considerations for any business looking too outsource.
Outsourcing some of your business activities needs to be carefully considered and planned for. This article looks at 10 key things to consider when outsourcing locally or offshore.
If you have done the research you will know what outsourcing can bring to your business, how outsourcing works and some of the differences in how various services are provided. Before you start your outsourcing journey whether you are a Property Management, Real Estate, Construction Company or something else altogether you need to review your business and ascertain if you are ready to outsource. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, but as with any significant business change you need to plan effectively to ensure that you get the best result.
Before you start, ask yourself some key questions,
- Do you use Cloud Based Systems? If not, can systems be accessed remotely in a secure manner?
- Do you have Processes and Procedures in place for your key business functions?
- Have you clearly defined the outcomes of what you want to achieve from outsourcing?
If not, it makes sense to get these in place before engaging an Outsourcing provider.
Business Process Review
Once you are ready to take your first steps towards implementing an outsourced model, it’s time to start planning. Work through your business functions and identify which would best suit outsourcing. Prime candidates would be non-customer facing tasks that are repetitive in nature. These are often where businesses see the biggest return on investment from using outsourcing.
This is a great exercise not only for considering outsourcing tasks but also to confirm processes and procedures reflect your current reality and whether any improvements to current business processes can be made either through outsourcing or in other ways.
Start by breaking out your business functions then tasks within these functions. Look at individuals’ roles checking that they have up to date Job Descriptions and procedures for tasks. You will likely need to work with staff that are completing the tasks to validate the job descriptions and get an understanding for the time taken to complete tasks within their role.
Types of tasks that suit outsourcing are generally non-technical, have a low level of complexity and are repetitive. This isn’t to say other tasks can not be outsourced, it’s just that these types of tasks will be the easiest to outsource and give you good bang for buck.
ManageMe has expertise in this area and can assist with a business process review should you require it.
It is imperative that once staff are informed that outsourcing is being considered that you have a clear message on the rationale behind this focusing on the benefits for them and a plan on how this will be implemented.
The best results will come from having your current staff engaged and fully onboard to initially assist with determining the tasks that would be suitable to outsource and then with training new offshore staff as they come on board.
Ideally you will be able to remove some of their pain points and allow them to focus on higher value add activity where they can feel more valued and ultimately fulfilled.
The Importance of Technology
Whether it’s running Daily Meetings over Zoom or planning your team’s tasks on Wrike or Asana, your choice of Technology is essential to enabling you to reach your outsourcing goals. You and your team will need to utilise technology to collaborate, plan, provide transparency and track progress.
We fortunately live in an age where tools are available that allow us to work from any location. In most cases you should be looking to have the ability to provide offshore workers with the same level of access your onshore team has.
The importance of being able to work remotely has been seen over the last 18 months and this will already be in place for a large number of companies. At the end of the day the goal of remote working is the same whether you are working from home 10km down the road or from the Philippines.
ManageMe will not only onboard and integrate new staff into your business, but they cross train teams for year round cover and manage their tasks and productivity on a daily basis.
Ensuring that access to your systems is secure and that there is not a significantly higher risk of data breaches from outsourced staff than you have with local staff is imperative.
Using Single Sign On applications with hidden passwords, limiting access out of office hours and physical hardware limitations all contribute to this.
ManageMe follows all these precautions and offers a reduced risk for your business, ensuring their service is as secure as possible, in some cases, more secure than your existing arrangement.
Recruitment of staff through Business Process Outsourcers is done in different ways. The key to getting it right, is to have your Job Description well documented so the outsourcing partner knows your requirements and setting the expectations on output up front in the form of KPI’s.
Staff retention in any business is paramount but with remote teams this is even more so. Outsourced Staff like local staff like to feel part of the team. Establishing a positive team culture that everyone feels a part of makes a huge difference. Again, ManageMe encapsulates team culture and management all in their “plug & play” service.
How you onboard staff sets the scene for how you want them to work within your business. Being consistent with this and ensuring all important areas are covered off allows new staff members to feel part of the team as early as possible. You should cover off;
- The location of Key Information
- IT System Access
- Appropriate Channels for communication
- Escalation Processes
- Timesheeting & Payroll
- Working Hours
- Performance Expectations
Ensure staff are given time up front to be trained appropriately, without this investment your outsource staff will struggle. The time taken to train should be the same as what you would expect to spend training someone locally. Training Plans should be used to capture what needs to be covered and ticked off as a checklist as these are completed.
Management Of Your Offshore Staff
A traditional outsourcing model sees you being responsible for the day to day management of your offshore staff. This needs to be done in a similar way to local staff with consistent engagement, clear instructions and feedback. Don’t underestimate the time you need to spend in this area as it is key to the success of your outsourcing functions.
Choosing Traditional Outsourcing or a Managed Service
This will depend on the type of tasks you are looking to outsource and the level of involvement you want. Traditional outsourcing will have a lower hourly rate as you will be responsible for –
- Recruitment Costs
- Onboarding Staff
- Managing Staff
- Retaining & Building Culture
- Organising Holiday/Sick Leave Cover
- Retraining when staff leave
A Managed Service works differently in that you pay a higher hourly rate, this covers costs of recruitment & retaining staff and management. Staff are employed by the Managed Service provider and don’t have to be dedicated to a single client. Training & Day To Day management is undertaken by the Managed Service Provider and they provide cover where staff are absent. More detail on the key differences in service can be read here and are illustrated with a Comparison chart.
In conclusion, ManageMe covers most of the elements we covered in the this article, which offers a “plug & play” service, simplified to streamline the integration of a local or offshore task manager for your business. If you are interested in having a coffee, a chat and hearing a bit more about the possibilities of outsourcing please get in touch.