A common topic that comes up with many of my clients is “should I offshore some of my team?” This may look something like considering an offshore Virtual Assistant or looking at outsourcing your podcast production to an offshore expert.
It’s an interesting topic and one that certainly isn’t new.
In 2014, I actually ventured over to the Philippines to participate in an ‘Offshoring Tour’. I learnt stacks about this evolving trend. We started in Manila and travelled up to Angeles city, the two main hubs of outsourcing action.
I went over with the intention of exploring whether we could offshore the Marketing + Administration in my own HR consulting business, as well as becoming well educated on the topic for my clients. My husband came along with me. He owns a construction business and was interested to see if he could offshore a part of his quoting process.
Over 4 days, we visited a range of options. We met work-from-home workers, we visited work-from-someone’s-house workers, and we also visited a number of Business Process Outsourcing locations (a more formal structure where workers come to a central office). The options were as wide as the skills available.
Since then, I’ve had an “Offshore Assistant” for 5 years (thanks for the prompt, Facebook memories!) and I’ve worked through this process with hundreds of clients. I’m now uniquely positioned to be able to help entrepreneurs figure out if this solution is likely to work for them.
The first thing I want to share is that it’s NOT right for everyone.
When I’m looking at a business and having this discussion with the business owner – there are a few key things that help me determine the likelihood of success:
- Do you know how to do ‘the thing’ yourself? The most successful offshoring handovers happen when someone in the business knows how to do the task / activity to an efficient level.
- Are you willing to move through a training period to hand this over? Do you have the willingness, capacity and patience to show, coach, give feedback and work through expected communication hiccups until that efficient level is achieved by the offshore worker?
- Are you able to measure success? Can you articulate and tangibly measure what a ‘bad job’ would be versus a ‘good job’?
- Are you able to ‘check’ the progress of this job before it goes live (particularly through the training period)? If not, what impact would a mistake have on your business?
If you are a small growing business, hiring an Offshore Virtual Assistant can be an excellent business decision. Often you’ve been doing many of the tasks yourself, and so it’s easy to answer ‘yes’ to most of the questions above. But sometimes someone onshore may suit you better, and often that comes down to your personality and the type of future business and team that feels right for you.
When you are a more established business with a few team members already in place, you’ll need to consider team dynamics and who will take the lead in the training and hand over. Again, offshoring can be an excellent business decision.
Getting clear about your hiring options is one of the first critical steps in recruitment success. Offshore, onshore, subcontractor, employee… there is a lot of flexibility available to you, which is exciting but can also be overwhelming.
I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to invest a bit of time upfront in planning your requirements before you start recruiting.
And while it might sound simple, this all-important planning and strategising time is often rushed through or overlooked, when really it can be the key to your hiring success.
Have any burning questions about hiring? Reach out on email hello[at]paulamaidens.com. I’d love to hear from you.
If you're growing a team in-house or online, Paula Maidens can help!