One advantage of outsourcing talent is that it is more cost-efficient than hiring in house, but getting the best value from your service providers involves more than trimming your operational costs. Outsourcing talent isn’t just about picking a proposal with the lowest bid.
Selecting the right service provider may come as a challenge especially when considerations other than cost come into play. Taking note of these considerations and applying the following guidelines before making a final decision however will give you the best value in the long run.
Determine your company’s present and probable future needs.
What are your business goals? What kind of work do you need to outsource and what do you wish to attain after a certain period?
How do you see your company after a few months? A year? As a business owner, you would ideally have a vision for your company, and a plan for attaining your business goals. Operations may be simpler now but it may get complicated after three months. You need to be able to forecast where you want to go, how to get there and what kind of people you need with you on the journey.
Say, you’re looking for someone to compute for the payroll, but couldn’t foresee that somewhere along the way you would need someone who can keep track of company expenditure, prepare a financial statement and compute for profit and loss. There is an option for you to hire someone who can do the basics, but not the more complicated accounting processes—it may actually come out cheaper.
However, when the need for more complex sheets arrives, you will need a more qualified person to do the bookkeeping and most likely need to train the less experienced one. It would have been more practical to get someone more competent at the onset, but you weren’t able to foresee the possibility.
Measure the extent of expertise.
If you’re selling products or services or in the business of customer acquisition, then you will need customer service. Depending on the size of your business and customer base, your customer service could range from a single person to a team of 5, 10, or even 100 people. Customer service could be just email support at the start. Bigger corporations answer incoming voice calls from a queue.
Supposing you’re outsourcing customer support for email enquiries but eventually your market grows and your customer service needs change. Does your service provider offer training, just in case you need to level up your customer support process? Does it have the expertise and experience to provide the right people for more complex processes involving your business?
Prioritize competence over cost.
Before you even look at the price tag, check if it’s what you need. Get into specifics. You definitely want the best people for your business. If you’re outsourcing through a remote staffing firm, run a background check on its success with previous clients.
Try to get information on whether it delivers reliable staffing services and productive employees, not just the most affordable ones. Once you have a shortlist of applicants, opt for the one who’s most qualified for the role, but still within your manpower budget.
Look for signs of competitiveness and innovation.
Trends change and markets shift. A new kind or update on technology surfaces every few months. How does your outsourced staff respond to change? Do your people have a natural penchant for innovation? Are they competitive when it comes to keeping up with new and proven effective ways of getting things done?
For a business to survive in the digital realm, it has to make use of—and keep updated with— the latest technological trends. The business needs to adapt to the ever-changing habits of its market, and to do this, the team behind the operations must also be open to innovation.
Imagine yourself hiring developers and designers who haven’t taken the initiative to learn the latest web trends. What do you think would come out of your website? There are web design principles such as usability and utility that should never change regardless of what’s in style at the moment but the layout, feel and overall aesthetic of web sites have certainly evolved. If your homepage still looks like a collage of neon signs from the ‘80s, it’s probably time to get a new designer!
Hiring someone who has a natural thirst for innovation opens opportunities for you to reap more from the performance of your outsourced staff. A person who wants to learn more wants to do more, and if your team does more for your company, it could easily translate to success, giving you more business value in the long run.