For those organisations that are looking to offshore operational functions, there are a number of paths that you can take.
If you are looking to build a large team, you may look to rent your own space, hire local operational, IT, finance, human resources and administrative staff and then likely place expat resources to set up and manage the operations.
Alternatively, you can partner with a BPO provider for your office, finance, HR, IT and administrative functions and instead focus on hiring the right people to best serve your customers.
When Change Fox founder, Chris Winfield-Blum, was tasked with setting up his first team while he was the COO of an SME software provider, he took the latter approach. It was the challenges he faced through this process, as well as the people that he met and the impact that he had on their lives that inspired Change Fox in the first place. It was obvious to him that there were things that BPO providers did great, but there were some things that they were just not in a position to do effectively, and this leads into the topic of reasons why you should engage with an offshoring consultant/specialist or consulting firm such as Change Fox.
There are different types of offshoring advisors or consultants in the market ranging from BPO tours and introduction services to more integrated approaches, such as Change Fox, that aims to get you up and running effectively and then integrates with your business through an ongoing engagement in a staff and team management/advisory capacity.
01. Partner alignment
Offshoring consultants will have much more exposure to the many BPO providers in the market and should be able to recommend those that are a good strategic and operational fit.
A good consultant will be able to answer the following questions for you;
- What regions are they primarily servicing?
- What types of roles and operational functions are they specialising in?
- Do they prefer to deal with “task” based resources (i.e. jobs) rather than “self-managed” resources (i.e. you manage the job design and team members performance and tasks)?
A quick note, you should absolutely ask about any “arrangements” or “relationships” between the consultant and the BPO providers they are introducing you too. Many offer introduction payments that may encourage one BPO being presented over another and I’ve even heard about tours that culminate in an introduction to their own BPO centres.
Consultants who exit the engagement after the BPO Provider has been selected will not be able to provide the additional benefits listed below
02. Their expertise in the industry
Given their history of working with many organisations, offshoring consultants have the unique expertise associated with building and managing offshore teams successfully. They will be able to provide input to your current processes and areas of needed improvement to effectively manage an offshore team and their day-to-day work.
An effective offshoring consultant will be able to answer these questions too;
- How should we communicate with and manage our staff effectively?
- How should we effectively integrate our offshore team members?
- What changes does the organisation need to execute to be successful with this initiative?
- What cultural awareness training should the organisation provide and to whom (hint: it shouldn’t just be for the offshore team)?
03. Get focused on what matters to you
As stated previously, many BPO providers do a great job in relation to their operations; HR, IT and administration but they, obviously, have a focus on operational factors that while critical, do not necessarily have significant value-add to your team or organisation.
Offshoring consultants who engage on an ongoing basis, on the other hand, need not worry about those day-to-day operational factors (unless something is really wrong!), and can, if they are any good, focus on how to instil continuous improvement principles to not only improve your offshore team and their outcomes, but your organisation as a whole.
A worthwhile offshoring consultant will be able to answer these questions in their sleep;
- How can we best use our new found resources to achieve our short-term and long-term objectives?
- How should we gather and encourage feedback from within our team?
- What new processes should be rolled out across the organisation, rather than just the offshore team?
04. Increase staff retention rates
Again, offshoring consultants that stay actively engaged with your organisation and the offshore team are able to apply strategic human resources management principles to increase staff retention rates.
Change Fox, for example, utilises community managers that will engage regularly with your staff and provide regular feedback to both the chosen BPO provider and your organisation.
They will work with your organisation to define development plans and actively seek input from your team on their progress towards reaching the agreed organisational, team and personal objectives.
A superstar offshoring consultant will be able to answer these questions without blinking an eye;
- How is my team going?
- How are they feeling about their jobs and their future with the organisation?
- What areas of improvement should our organisation be focused on in the coming weeks and months?
05. Drive positive team culture
Offshoring consultants and their community managers that are visible and accessible to your offshore team have the ability to drive positive team culture by reinforcing defined organisational culture and team values.
We are able to execute on your initiatives on your behalf such as team events, corporate apparel distribution and even weekly treats like fruit baskets. May not sound like much but it can really make a difference to team satisfaction knowing they’re being thought of and treated well by their organisation.
The team at Change Fox will be able to answer these questions for you at any time;
- How well aligned are our corporate culture with the offshore teams?
- What exercises can we run to build a bigger sense of team?
- What events are upcoming that our team can participate in?
06. Reduce your overall offshoring costs
It may seem odd to consider that by engaging with a consultant you can reduce your overall offshoring costs but with the value that Change Fox can add to your organisation we are confident that you will agree.
Other than the overall strategic and managerial expertise that you will get access to when engaging with and offshore expert, you will also be able to reduce costs by;
- Reducing the management overheads associated with managing your staff, particularly in the performance management and feedback data gathering
- Reducing the frequency of visits from head office and their associated travel costs, although we encourage semi-regular visits regardless of our involvement
- Not making the same costly mistakes in time, effort and cash that organisations make when offshoring for the first time
To make things even better, it’s never a bad time to engage with an offshoring consultant/specialist.
If you’re just getting started, we can help. If you’re already building your team, we can help make it better. If you’ve got an existing team that’s not performing to expectations, we can help with that too. We would love to hear about your organisation and their goals! We can then discuss how offshoring can help you achieve success!
This article was originally published in Change Fox website.