Offshoring can be a challenging process if you have never done it before. What can make it even more challenging is that the information available is often little more than a glossy piece of marketing that talks about how simple it is to get started.
The below five tips are for organisations considering and currently executing an offshoring strategy, enjoy!
Reflect on your organisation
Understanding your organisational strengths and weaknesses will enable you to better identify the processes and other aspects of the business that will need to be addressed prior to integrating an offshored team into your organisation.
The first question we ask of our customers is “are you ready to offshore?” and this is often broken down into a series of more direct questions about the types of roles being offshored, how work will be assigned to your new team members, what targets will be placed on them and how will they be measured.
To answer these questions effectively, you will need to invest appropriate time to honest organisational reflection to identify your strengths, your weaknesses and then how these may influence your effectiveness when working with dispersed teams, such as you will in the case of offshoring.
Having answers to all these questions is a great start towards offshoring success!
Find a great partner
Look for providers that will challenge you and your teams; that ask strategically significant questions and don’t simply ask for a job description to post online.
Going in alone with an offshoring initiative can be daunting, and most information is provided by business process outsourcing (BPO) providers themselves. Never forget that this is a highly competitive industry, as such, you should question the standard “send us a job description and we’ll get started” approach.
We strongly recommend engaging with downstream service providers such as business tours or consulting and management providers such as Change Fox that can independently guide and facilitate the most appropriate staffing providers for your needs.
Especially look for providers that seek to add value to your organisation through ongoing engagements, they are more likely to provide input that will lead to long-term success rather than short-term wins.
Do not cut corners on recruitment
Do not ever take the “best candidate available”, look for the “right candidate”, even if it takes longer than you would like.
We have witnessed a tendency to relax recruitment processes or expectations when hiring offshored staff, and this is rarely going to lead to a positive outcome for the organisation. Invest the time to educate the recruiters on your needs and expectations, not only the job description. Talk about organisational cultural, desired personality traits and talk about those non-negotiables for your organisation.
Ensure that you are screening your candidates effectively and if possible, be onsite, or have your trusted partners be onsite in your place and see how well each candidate interacts and engages with you. Test them, challenge them and most importantly get to know them well enough to feel comfortable that you and your team can work with them effectively.
Invest in training and development
Investing in the training and development of your staff is one of the greatest ways to grow together as a team and achieve your organisation’s goals, that doesn’t change with an offshored team.
There are many studies out there that will draw a correlation between training and development and team member effectiveness. Training can come in many forms; internal training on products and processes; internal technical training or workshops; external education such as certifications or support during higher education studies.
Within the context of an offshored team though, you’re adding new team members who very likely have different cultural values to your local team. Cultural awareness training is sometimes conducted with offshored staff by BPO providers, however, understanding each other, should be inclusive of the entire team. Any organisational cultural compromises must be made by both parties for them to have any impact on team effectiveness and processes. Therefore, cultural awareness training of both offshored and local staff will help your team members to understand and work effectively with each other.
To add some statistical context, our research indicated that over 40% of offshored staff did not have a development plan in place with their host company. That means that 40% may not have understood how their career can progress with that company. Taking this approach is a risk to the success of your initiative.
Own your team culture and retention strategies
Don’t rely on a provider to build your teams culture and retain your staff, that is your job!
The integration of your offshored staff is going to be critical to the success of your offshoring initiative and team culture and retention strategies are going to form a key part of that.
You should never rely on a provider to develop your team’s culture, it should happen internally, and should be a conscious, considered process for defining your organisational vision, mission and objectives. These things will lead to organisational values, team culture and strategies for how you plan to retain your staff, both local and offshored. Again, remember that you’re likely hiring staff in highly competitive locations and our research indicates that over 50% of respondents were contacted at least monthly by recruiters and head-hunters.
Include your offshored teams in strategic planning and team development sessions where appropriate and ensure that their understanding of the organisation’s vision, mission and objective is solid. Again, relating this back to our research, none of our respondents rated their understanding of their host companies vision, mission and objective as being greater than five out of ten! If they don’t understand the big picture of “who, what, why”, how can they contribute effectively to your organisational success?
This is a handful of our tips and ideas about making your offshoring initiatives successful, what do you think? Let us know below, and of course if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.