Outstaffing is a new normal these days since high mobility and frantic pace of our lives create perfect conditions for hiring and managing employees in other countries. Of course, there are many challenges along the way, but when there is demand, there is supply. Businesses that realize foreign teams will add value to their organization can now use the services of remote outstaffed teams.
Contrary to what most of us think, outstaffing is not only about software development or customer support. It is an option worth exploring for companies that have to expand their teams due to seasonal work or during particular specific business periods. Logistics, agriculture, pharmaceutics, trading, retail – a whole range of fields would like to enrich their teams with professionals but don’t require a long-term commitment. Some of the jobs call for specific expertise, and this is where outstaffing companies come to help. They offer you a talent that you lack in your in-house team and take care of all the legal and HR issues that go together with hiring a foreign professional.
Your task, in return, is to make full use of your new employee’s talent since they will be dedicated to your enterprise only. Basically, you get a team of professionals who are employed by another company but work for you remotely – on one or several projects.
But can you build communication with your outstaffed team efficiently? The way you manage remote workers will have a direct impact on productivity and value, so here are several tips on how to build the process correctly.
Outstaffed team follows the rules of the company they work in, and sometimes, the business approaches they are used to may differ from those of your organization. Therefore, providing a short recap of how things work at your company is a great idea for efficient communication with the outstaffed team. Say, you have specific job protocols that should be followed by your employees, including the remote ones. Or you have a particular reporting model that might seem unusual for the outstaffed team. Or there’s this innovative approach to customer support that makes you stand out among competitors – remote employees have to know the insights to perform their duties properly.
Cultural peculiarities are another thing that has to be cleared if we talk about teams from other countries. It covers religious or state holidays, specific working hours, communication habits and so on. Sometimes, weekends don’t match; people in countries with a hot climate prefer to work at night; religious practices might take some time off a workday, etc. Once all details are cleared, communication between the headquarters and outstaffed teams will run faster.
Updates are vital for the outstaffed team that needs to be on the same page with other departments. If you make changes to the marketing strategy, they have to know about it. Had your prototype tested? Tell them about the results. Customers are head over heels about the new feature? Your outstaffed team has to know this as well. It will not only help them become part of your organization but will guide them, too.
In your office, you have daily meetings, coffee breaks, or meetups with partners when new ideas and best practices are generated. Don’t forget to ask the opinion of your outstaffed team about the changes you are planning to introduce – their experience with other projects may guide you toward a new perspective.
Sometimes, calls and conferences are just not enough to build solid relationships with the outstaffed team. Schedule a few business trips to get to know your employees personally, talk to them, understand their approach to work and life. It’s best to “face” cultural specifics on the ground, too. The outstaffing company might not even realize there are certain differences between the two cultures or find it hard to get them across. Learning them first-hand might be your best bet.
Calls and reports are essential, as well. Build your communication in a way that would allow all members of your outstaffed team approach you – or a responsible person – with any questions and via the channel that provides a quick answer. It’s frustrating and unproductive when you have to wait for a reply or confirmation for several hours or even days, so having a person who’s always in touch with the remote team will take your efficiency up a notch. By the way, emails aren’t the best choice if you ask us. Social media and other direct messengers, very popular and very responsive, might be a path worth exploring.
Sometimes, you just can’t do without time tracking, since this is the only way to control certain kinds of tasks. But let’s be honest, it is rather old-fashioned and ineffective, especially if we talk about software development, design or creative work. You should make it clear what you need from your outstaffed team – eight hours in the backlog or the job done. Well, of course, if you hire your remote workers to be online 24/7 as a contact center or customer support – and you pay hourly or daily – there is no way you can avoid time tracking. What we want to say here is that you should get your priorities straight and put either ongoing control or the final result first.
Communication with the remote outstaffed team is a critical challenge of outstaffing. Your money is literally at stake here. The status of your corporate bank account is linked -more tightly than you might think – with the way you assign tasks, make decisions, respond to changes and use your talent. Take your time to source the information from the outstaffing company about your remote employees and do try to meet them personally. The most critical points of communication are staying in touch and keeping people posted about the particular project and the overall strategy. Work hard to make your outstaffed team part of your company, and watch them add much sought-after value to your very own business.