Today, insight is given into what is expected if you work alongside a BPO for your outsourcing staffing solutions.
Specifically the recruitment process and the coordination of the staffing process by Angela McDonald, a Scot who now resides in the Philippines. This is done based on her incredible experience in recruitment and also as the operations manager for a BPO called Deployed. We focus on the machinations involved and the inherent benefits in BPO, particularly in identifying a suitable BPO provider.
- BPO is available to every corporation regardless of its size, be it small or huge corporations. There is a lot more of skilled candidates coming through the market and more millennial are focused on BPO’s boom, making it available to everyone.
- Issues concerning geographic specific knowledge in BPO is solved by focusing on finding an experienced person in that area or train employee (s) up in that location specifics.
- The first key point to look out for in seeking a BPO provider is ‘good relationship.’ Good relationship with your BPO provider makes you know the kind of support you will get should you have any issues or concerns with your team or their services.
- The standard fee structure of a BPO provider in the market lies between the range of $500 and $1,500 as a monthly fee, which covers all employee related cost which include legal and proposed government contributions amongst others. At the same time, the employer will be responsible for all the direct employee cost.
- Non-Voice support services provided by BPO companies have grown consistently for the past few years.
- BPO gives room for an independent running of the day-to-day operations. They do not interfere with the running of operations. And in cases where structures, clear activities, performance markers reviews are their priority, such is process oriented.
- BPO aims at promoting indigenous business by buying into Philippines’ company and culture in order to make them grow.
- BPO’s activities bridge the gap between an employer and its team, which brings about maximum efficiency.
- Companies should partake in the initial task and responsibilities that are needed and make sure all the tools are there for a BPO to work with.
Derek: Hi, and welcome to another episode of the outsource accelerator podcast, my name is Derek Gallimore and today we have a special guest, her name is Angela McDonald. And as the name might suggest, she is a Scottish class that left Scotland some years ago now and found herself in the Philippines, I think about seven or eight years ago.
Angela has fantastic experience in terms of working alongside Filipinos and previously she was working in recruitment and now she is the operations manager for a BPO called Deployed.
So, we tap into Angela’s vast experience of the Philippines, of Filipinos, of recruitment, of BPO and so this is a really great podcast, and Angela is just a wealth of information.
If you want any information about Deployed or Angela or want to get in touch, go to our show notes, they are at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode4. And all the information is there and I believe also Angela’s available if you do want to ping her, drop her a line and she can offer some advice and certainly help with services.
So, in this podcast we discuss all things BPO, we will give you a little bit of an insight of what you should expect if you engage with the BPO and also the recruitment process and engagement process with your staffing at the BPO. Strangely, you know, a lot of similarities with hiring anyone for your company as you would do in any country and then there is also differences to consider.
Derek: So, Ang. fantastic to have you. Thanks for coming.
Angela: Thanks Derek.
Derek: And we are gonna talk about BPO operation specifically today. You work for Deployed which is a BPO specializing I think in the New Zealand market.
Angela: Yeah, New Zealand and Australia market.
Derek: And it is a recent startup here. BPO is obviously the topic for the podcast, that’s very close to our hearts and I just want to get some insights from you and some of your vast experience about how it works and the machinations.
So, first of all, I suppose you give us an overview and tell us what you think of the BPO industry; how it’s going.
Angela: Sure, I think business is booming at the moment and there is more and more SMEs coming over to the Philippines to explore the service, before, it was all huge corporations but now whether you are setting up one or two people all the way up to two hundred, it’s available for everybody which is great news.
In a nut shell, I suppose basically your BPO helps keep your rules clean, you can hire the staff that works directly for you but the BPO provider will just be the middle man and take care for all the legal headache, the labor responsibilities, that they are the employee relations. So, you can get on with managing your team and they will just hire them in their serviced office, provide their equipment, helps the performance reviews, recruits hires, on-boards and just make sure that the relationship and synergy between the two are working really well.
Derek: So, I am really intrigued by the democratization of BPOs because if it was true in the beginning, maybe even just ten years ago, it was just the world conglomerates that had any options with outsourcing but are you now seeing that everyone’s doing it?
Angela: I think everybody needs to do it now. Before, mostly when you are speaking by the huge contacts said to us like Sykes, Convergys. It was all voice rules, they didn’t really see the Philippines as having skilled professionals in accounting, assistance, IT, it was just purely voice rules, but the American influence that used to be here, the accent, those very mutual are much better than the likes of India or Thailand or Vietnam, so it took off then.
During that time obviously, there has been a big push in education here, so there’s a lot more skilled candidates coming through the market, their CPAs, everybody having a degree, some sort of information and technology. A lot more of the millennial are really focused on the boom that has happened and they know that the voice rules won’t last forever. So, now it’s available for everyone.
Derek: So, we are seeing in the Philippines and we’re seeing not only smaller and smaller, well the opportunity opening up to smaller and smaller companies but also the breadth of skill and the services offered, broadened to virtually every office skill out there.
Derek: It’s an exciting time.
So, what are all the popular roles in BPO, as you mentioned the whole thing started on voice support, customer support but what do you see in the key roles now?
Angela: Key roles now, I think the boom is taking off in IT, from back-end developers, lot of tech usuals are coming in, accountants and book keepers, depending whether it’s industry specific or not. A lot of the push for our boom effort seems to be there never seems to be the back-end and the Philippines seems to be doing the bulk of the work being reviewed in your own location then over to the client, the same for developers, it’s exactly the same, they are doing the bulk of the work, that is, may be not so rear skilled specific. Being reviewed by the team in your home country. Just moving on from that, book keepers, admin assistants, and virtual assistants.
Derek: There’s kind of a knack isn’t it to knowing which roles can be easily replicated in the Philippines or within the BPO setting. I have found that roles that have very geographic specific knowledge so that they need to know about a particular city or something that is very specific, then it’s harder to replicate that. Whereas, if it is accounting, if it’s something more generic then it’s very easily replicated.
Angela: Yeah, when it becomes location specifics, for example accounting, if you needed someone familiar with doing GSTs, touch and turns in that area. You would need to focus on finding somebody who has got experience in that or train them up yourself.
If they have got the skills and got the degree and got a CPA then they can easily pick up the small tasks, it won’t take them long to get the flow in it. What our clients have done, thus, the only thing that they have made sure that they have kept in-house is the client communication. They will call them if there is any queries rather than anyone from the back office calling them.
Derek: So, there is a bit of a knack in terms of identifying which of the best skills to keep in-house and the best skills to —
Angela: It should complement them.
Derek: I know there is a million different models and BPOs which you have discussed — Tell us about standard fees, what is the standard fee structure if you can give one standard?
Angela: Basically, what a BPO provider will do is they will charge you for all of the employee related cost which will include all the legal, government contributions that you will see, which go on and on, it is not too expensive.
You will be responsible for all the direct employee costs and the BPO provider will charge you a management fee on top of that which will include; your internet, your seat, your workstation, your hardware, the environment, the whole shebang and should also help you with performance reviews that are coming up, reminders or take care of any internal employee relations that you don’t have the time to handle or to understand legally where you stand on that.
Derek: There are a lot of different ways of structuring cost but it seems like that’s the best way to go isn’t it? It’s the most transparent for you, you pay for the employee’s salary and then there is a desk fee on top and that includes all of those services, so there is complete separation and transparency within that.
Angela: It’s a great way just to dip your toe in the water in the early stages until you get your confidence up. Your provider, Deployed, will take care of all the legal headache, they will help you with all the recruitment and the on-boarding but it’s up to you after that to take care of your employee and see them as an extension of your team and not just forget about them.
Derek: So, fees, what are the real numbers, I mean you don’t need to speak about Deployed but what is the range that you see in the market?
Angela: I think it would range anything starting as low as $500 a month as a fee, all the way up to $1500 a month.
Derek: And so for that then you are getting, it is all the recruitment, it’s sort of end to end support of that work but it is not managing that work or necessarily managing that process, that still falls into the camp of the business signing up as any employee would be.
Angela: Deploy don’t interfere with your day to day operations, I think it would be foolish to have that, for too many of the drills.
Derek: And I think that’s a critical point that a lot of people need to learn isn’t it, these are still your employees. Even though they are held within the BPO as supported environment, but they are your employees, so, they take all the same amount of training, nurturing communication that any other employee would.
Angela: Absolutely an extension of your team.
Derek: So, what are the key points on contracts that should be noted within the BPO? What are some things you need to look out for?
Angela: I think when you are selecting a provider, obviously cost comes into it, so you want something that is not gonna break the bank. I would be careful of the bums on seat, for that seems to be going on at the moment. If you got somebody saying yeah, yeah, yeah! Great, we have got them, we will get you ten profiles over tomorrow, guaranteed, they don’t understand the brief.
I think you need to have a good relationship with your provider, have a chat with the HR manager that’s in there or at least be introduced. You got to know of the support that you have got that’s gonna be supporting your employee, those in here.
Make sure that you have got the tools and the preparation, and your BPO provider should be helping you. If they definitely say yes to absolutely everything, they are probably not telling the truth.
Derek: That’s another misconception as well that people think, as soon as they sign up to a BPO, if they want one team member or ten or hundred, the day they sign up, they should be able to get those bums on seat the next day and it’s not like that. It’s like any other environment where if you need an employee or ten employees, there is got to be the recruitment process, you have got to find those people, you don’t wanna rush it because you want the good people. And it’s actually an appreciation just finding or going through that process as well. There is no BPO that just has a hundred great people on tap, just seating there and waiting for contracts, so it’s not going to work.
Angela: I mean for skilled positions, the client needs to interview them because they obviously has to have a culture fit with their team as well. If they are working, they are gonna be on a 30 day notice period.
If you go with the pressure of getting a bum on sit, you are definitely not going to have the best experience and you will sacrifice quality.
Derek: In terms of a prospective client, if they find a BPO they love, if they are happy with Deployed and they then get a staff member that they have chosen and like. What is it that the client actually needs to learn, the business owner, what are the key things they need to know about how to deal with this?
Angela: First of all, they need to be prepared, so, if you are gonna spend a time on this recruitment drive, you find someone you like and you are ready to get them on board. Getting on board and inform, whatever you use, your BPO provider can help you with this.
Partake in the initial task and responsibilities that are needed, make sure that all the tools are there. Make sure you have got your communication set up, whether it’s Slack, Skype, Google or Hangout. Make sure you have got somebody ready on board to help with the facilitation of the tasks, introducing them to the team.
So, work out your plan for the first couple of weeks, what you are planning on doing and what they should be doing, do you have any training videos that you want them to share or is there any research that you want them to do. Touch base with them again at the end of the week, how is everyone feeling? Making sure you understand them that they are alright and they understand the communication.
Derek: And that’s quite critical isn’t it, because the guys in the Philippines, probably more so than the west, they want structure, they want clear activities, they ideally want KPIs, they ideally want performance markers regular performance reviews, and they actually really kind of crave for that structure —
Angela: So it’s process orientated. You have to be clear on what the processes are and if there are ways around them, be clear in the initial stages, what tools they have got to move on from A to D if there is an issue C or anything like that.
It does fight well, specifically, process orientated jobs, that’s fantastic but you do need to build a bit of rapport and make sure that your employees understands what you are asking them to do, just from a cultural point of view. So, giving instructions, asking them to reflect it back to you or asking them to put it in bullet point and then email, just for the culture side, it’s very much yes sometimes, but it is not really understood.
Derek: So like any new employee as well, you know, regular check-ins, see how they’re going. And also there is also the social element; isn’t it, just making them feel at home, making sure they are part of your company culture and they know the identity of, and the mission that they are on with.
Angela: Try introducing them to the team. Deployed, we always check in with both the employee and the client. Are you alright, are you comfortable, how is your communication going? Just a five minute catch-up to see how they are feeling.
Derek: And that is one of the value adds of coming with a BPO because obviously you can go on and grab a remote worker in Upwork, but, there is no support there is there and BPOs and Deployed, they are not only supporting and providing a good work environment for the employee. But they are then also supporting the business – who is the client.
And if it is their first employee in the Philippines, I imagine you help and guide them on these things, guiding them in terms of the effect of communication and things like that.
Angela: Yeah, I mean they need to buy into your company and culture to help it grow. The thing with Upwork and Odesk, the ones in the past, it’s all project based. So, they are only looking until the next job comes along then maybe a higher bid.
Derek: Perfect, thank you Ang. Fantastic.
Angela: No problem, thanks Derek.
Derek: Okay, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Angela McDonald of Deployed BPO. If you wanna get in touch with Angela, if you want to know anything more about what we discussed in this episode, go to our show notes, that is at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode4