Business owners and those in upper management roles often mistakenly believe outsourcing to be a ‘set and forget’ exercise – and then wonder why it hasn’t worked for them. But unless outsourcing is given the right amount of forethought, any short-term benefits experienced are unlikely to be sustained in the long term.
To ensure outsourcing is successfully implemented in your business, I recommend taking the time to consider a number of critical factors – beginning with the answers to these questions:
- Are you going to engage the contractor directly or use a third-party provider?
- Will you engage an overseas contractor or go through a local (Australian-based) established business?
When contemplating which option is right for you, it’s important to realise there are pros and cons associated with both. For example, while going direct and overseas can seem considerably cheaper – the risks associated are higher, which may result in unpredicted future costs and pain points within your business. You may also discover:
- A lack of certainty with the quality of their work. Without a person who understands your needs or the Australian market and the standards that are deemed acceptable, a lot can be left to individual interpretation. Can you afford to redo the work you’ve paid someone else to do?
- Often this is not a dedicated resource. Your business is just one of many clients so your work may not be prioritised. Contractors often have multiple clients and will juggle work and priorities as it suits them – not how it suits you.
- If something goes wrong, there’s no backup and no one to cover the work or liaise with you. Unless you have a team of overseas contractors deployed, downtime can seriously affect your business.
Alternatively, if you choose to engage an outsourced third-party supplier whose head office is based locally in Australia, you will always have someone to liaise with if things go wrong. This also provides a much more efficient means of process mapping and deployment, plus you don’t need to worry about resources being sick or on annual leave. That’s an issue for your local supplier to manage, not you!
If you do decide to go direct with your outsourcing, to ensure your journey is as successful as possible I’ve created a handy checklist when evaluating the set-up and structure of potential overseas providers.
- How long have they been in business?
- How much will they charge for providing HR services?
- Do they provide good working conditions and pay rates for their employees? This is an essential point, so if possible take the time to visit their office and check this out for yourself.
- Can they provide a very clear job description that defines their responsibilities and skillsets?
- Do they have processes in place to hire staff that are in line with the values of your organisation? Don’t forget that team cohesion and the right work environment applies here too!
- Can they provide on-going staff training and skills improvement?
I also recommending testing your potential provider’s skillsets yourself, as there is often a marked difference between what employees say their skill sets are and what the HR provider will say, versus what you require. To avoid this, conduct the first interview yourself and ensure you undergo some practical testing. And remember – even though the business is based overseas, it’s important to treat them as an integral part of your business the same way you would treat your local staff.
If you’d like to discuss overseas outsourcing, please feel free to get in touch. The Perth-based Knight BPO team are specialists in assisting businesses to successfully outsource in the key areas of finance, accounting and administration. We look forward to hearing from you!