Company structures and workflows are evolving. Businesses, especially start-ups, are deviating from corporate culture norms and adapting the virtual workspace. Outsourcing staff –as opposed to hiring in-house— is now a common and effective way to get the job done. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing a company’s workforce that a business owner needs to consider.
Essentially, outsourcing is the practice of assigning a company’s business processes to external service providers. More often than out, these service providers are located offshore and work is assigned and accomplished remotely with the help of internet-aided project management and communication applications. There’s a wide variety of tasks that can be outsourced — from content marketing, web design and social media management to customer service, accounting and recruitment.
There are quite a few reasons why you would want to consider outsourcing, and also reasons why you might opt to hire in-house. Read on and weigh these factors before making a decision.
Outsourcing is cost-efficient.
Hiring remote workers means there is minimum operational cost. There are no overhead expenses for office rent, utilities and maintenance. Investing in technology and infrastructure would be very minimal or even unnecessary.
You can expect swift delivery and a high level of expertise.
Remote workers often specialize in their respective fields. If you outsource a designer, for example, you would want someone who has had significant experience in the kind of work you want done. The learning curve and adjustment would be minimal. Consequently, he would be able to deliver quality output much faster than an entry-level designer that the human resources department would hire in-house.
The focus would be on core business processes, rather than supporting tasks.
Outsourcing requires a business owner to identify which processes are essential to his operations. These are the tasks that need immediate and consistent attention and would therefore need to be fulfilled by an outsourced service provider. Supporting processes, such as office maintenance, won’t be necessary.
There is immense opportunity to innovate and deviate from outdated practices.
When you tap talent outside your organization, there’s an opportunity to learn from your new set of workers and perhaps adapt best practices and techniques that have yet to be learned by your team.
Outsourcing provides business owners more flexibility in managing operations and manpower.
As there are less business processes to attend to, owners can devote more attention to ones that require their attention. Remote staff providers can even manage the outsourced workforce.
The time zone difference provides the opportunity for round-the-clock operations.
Outsourced workers more often than not come from different countries. Hence, there is a time zone difference. This can be used to the company’s advantage by assigning and accomplishing the tasks during lean business hours and have everything ready when operations are in full swing. The time differential also allows you to assign workers to different shifts, round-the-clock.
There are disadvantages to outsourcing, as much as there are advantages. However, there are also ways to address such disadvantages.
Client focus considerations.
An outsourced labour force does not give business owners total control over what service providers do in their homes, thousands of miles away in a separate continent. It’s also possible for them to have other clients beyond assigned work hours.
There are however, ways to work around this issue. Provide just compensation for their services, so they don’t find the need to look for other sources of income. Also, utilise technology. There are productivity monitoring tools that will help you keep track of what your offshore staff is doing. Use them to your advantage.
Confidential information is exposed.
Outsourcing recruitment, payroll, accounting and other administrative functions involves sharing sensitive data to remote workers as much as it does with in-house staff. This is why contracts and confidentiality clauses exist. If you work with an outsourcing company that has the ability to create legitimate contracts and take legal action however, you are protected.
Time differential may affect service delivery.
Remote staff who work in a different time zone may not deliver output exactly when you want it. External factors beyond your control may affect their performance. However, this can be addressed by setting deadlines and managing expectations through open communication.
Hiring someone from the other side of the world may expose certain cultural differences that may affect communication among members of the team. Nevertheless, proper orientation, keeping an open mind and maintaining professional work ethic help dissolve issues that may arise from such differences.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing can make hiring offshore staff can work for you. Learn how.