Outsourcing Summit #6: CEO Panel – Outsourcing Deconstructed
Watch the Outsourcing Summit 2020 video replay
The Outsourcing Summit 2020 – Session 6
This episode features the last part of the six sessions from the Outsourcing Summit 2020, held on the 8th of October.
Drek Gallimore is joined by CEOs Marge Aviso of TeleWork PH, Tim Vorbach of EMAPTA, and Lloyd Ernst of Cloudstaff. They will share their vast experiences in the outsourcing industry and how businesses can master offshore staffing. They will also face issues involving offshore services and respond to the participants’ questions and feedback.
Why should businesses try offshore staffing?
Telework PH CEO Marge Aviso stated that the COVID-19 pandemic “has literally accelerated the need for businesses to outsource, not specifically to the Philippines, but [generally] all over the world. With outsourcing, businesses are given the opportunity to be able to tap on low cost talent but of superb and high quality service delivery.
While in the past, outsourcing was “limited” to call centers and customer support services, today outsourcing “is taking over.” Marge said that today, you can outsource “pretty much anything” in the Philippines, ranging from IT and engineering to human resources.
Additionally, EMAPTA CEO Tim Vorbach said that the Philippines has been “the backbone for many of the US’s largest corporations for 40 years,” and it’s because of the incredible ways that offshore staffing can help a business. He noted that it’s a huge industry that’s been going on for many decades. For those in doubt, Tim said that the question really is “Why wouldn’t you outsource?” and “Why wouldn’t you at least consider it?” He noted that there’s no technology reason, there’s no personal reason why BPO companies can’t deliver what is required.
Cloudstaff CEO Lloyd Ernst noted that “one common enabling element” that makes outsourcing work “has been the cloud.” Everything can be done through the cloud, so that’s meant it’s been very easy for customers to be able to make sure that they maintain all their systems, all their security, because everything’s just delivered through the web browser or the terminal server.
Advantages of offshore staffing
According to Marge, who used to work as a BPO agent and a freelancer, one advantage of working with an outsourcing company is the guarantee that they provide. She said that they make sure that employees are equipped with the right equipment, internet connectivity, and infrastructure for a conducive work environment. BPOs also ensure that staff remain engaged and motivated.
Further, Tim noted that “there’s a big difference in having the security and the commitment of full time dedicated employees versus freelancers.”
In terms of data protection and security, Lloyd said that “different organizations and different tasks have different requirements.” For Cloudstaff, they have a secure vault that is guarded by metal detectors and 24/7 guards, and “connections inside there go directly into a special router which then connects to the customer.” While some clients want strict security measures in place, some need their employees on their phones to chat with customers. Lloyd said that “customers want that flexibility,” and this flexibility is their advantage on large corporations with a one-size fits all approach.
The flexibility of BPO pricings
Pricings will always be flexible, as they depend on the quality of the talent. In EMAPTA, according to Tim, they’ve got the teams on the ground that can do all the screening, all the checking. He added that for transparency, their pricing and the talent are selected hand in hand with the client. They will discuss with the client what their budget requirements are, what their needs are, and then the company puts forward a whole range of different talents.
Tim added that there’s no markup in salaries, and clients have complete visibility of all the costs. They charge $499 a month for all of the company’s services – fully comprehensive, and there’s no conflict with the staff.
Lloyd added that because of these transparent models, if clients want to reward the employees, they’re the ones who set the salary increase. The Cloudstaff CEO remarked that “it’s having full control, it’s like having staff inside your own office and that’s the best way to think about it.”
Is outsourcing ethical?
There’s some concerns in the West that employees in BPO companies are not getting paid enough, with images of sweatshops full of overworked employees coming to mind. While this has been cleared as we toured the company’s top-notch physical offices with state-of-the-art facilities, Derek still asked the CEOs regarding this huge misconception.
Marge said that the Philippines offers a lot more cost-savings in terms of employment or offshore hiring, but it doesn’t come at the expense of the employees’ salaries. She added that “the wage [in the Philippines] is definitely fair for what we are offering to our community.”
Further, Tim added that regularly, some of their staff members will “go to Australia or the States and they’ll spend time in the clients’ operations, and they’ll come back to us.” He stated that these employees will say that they don’t want to live overseas, because they look at the comparative value of things. Tim furthered Marge’s point by saying that their organizations are sourcing and employing the top three to five per cent that they consider to be premium talents, and they provide the best facilities and great career opportunities.
Lloyd thinks that they’re “creating the middle-class here,” adding that the employees that work for their customers are that aspirational generation. The middle-class people. He emphasized that they have a completely different model, and that they give opportunities that big corporations don’t. According to Lloyd, their employees have two families, their Cloudstaff family, and their customer family.