To have an offshore team or not? That is the question many practices ask themselves as more and more of their competitors begin leveraging offshore workforces.
Whether it be to grow without increasing fixed costs or allow for more value to be added to client relationships; making the ultimate decision to offshore can be difficult.
Navigating the minefield of opposition, understanding the value an offshore team can add, assessing whether or not client perception will be impacted; these are all issues that will undoubtedly be raised when undertaking the decision on whether or not to proceed.
What an Offshore Team can Bring
One of the most significant issues we find that can hold firms back from making a decision is whether or not quality can be maintained.
In such a heavily regulated and compliance based environment, ensuring a high quality of work is maintained is essential.
There is a general stigma that offshore workforces are unable to replicate the quality of local employees (refer to recent PA article).
Now, there are certainly instances of sub-standard work being sent back from outsourced workers – I am not disputing that. However, before making a calling on whether the work is sub-standard, I encourage you to consider the people and processes behind the work being sent offshore.
- Have they clearly defined the processes being utilised by the offshore team?
- Are the processes easily translated and understood?
- Were the processes working well at the local level before being sent offshore?
- How were the new processes communicated to the offshore team?
Patience is a Virtue
With any new strategy, time must be invested into it before actively rolling it out within the business. Changes must be mapped, stakeholder impacts must be assessed and technologies need to be tested for viability.
Not taking the time to assess and plan your offshore implementation may impact the quality of work being delivered and ultimately affect the success of your offshore approach.
There are many ways firms can ensure the quality of work being delivered is of an acceptable standard.
- Don’t offshore client work in the first instance – look at offshoring low level clerical work as a part of a pilot program to assess offshore readiness
- Clearly map-out and define all internal processes at the local level – ensure that each step is clearly documented
- What sort of quality control processes are in place for ensuring local team member work is of an acceptable standard? These need to be replicated for your offshore team members.
Taking the time to assess your current operation and understand the people, technology and processes will position your firm well for a successful offshore implementation.
Assessing the Different Factors of Your Business
It’s important to remember that offshore team members should be treated just like your local employees. Work should be routinely checked and assessed as a part of a quality control process, as with any local employee, and regular audits should be conducted.
Are you only offshoring low level clerical work or are you offshoring more complex client work?
What are your long term plans for your offshore team? To start with a small clerical team and then grow to client work?
Mapping out your long-term objectives will make your offshore journey more tangible and assist you in visualising what success looks like.
Ultimately, how much time and effort you invest into getting the frameworks and processes in place will impact on the quality that your offshore team delivers.
It’s very easy for people to say that the work is substandard and inferior, but taking a closer look at the systems behind a successful team, and an unsuccessful team, you’ll get a good idea of why work quality varies.
On the Significance of Quality
It’s safe to say that any firm having issues with work quality has not invested the time and effort into getting the right infrastructure in place for a successful team to thrive within.
Offshoring, as a business strategy, will only continue be more widely adopted and pressure will mount on businesses to take this approach to remain competitive.
Quality should not be a reason for you not to consider an offshore team – many businesses are successfully leveraging low and high skilled team members to deliver client value.
Finally, some firms or opponents of offshoring as a strategy comment on its impact on graduate positions. By offshoring low-level or process intensive functions, firms can allow graduates to focus on client facing or complex work; accelerating their development and giving them an opportunity to work on more value-adding initiatives.
Research has event proven that offshore can create even more jobs than it replaces with findings indicating that offshoring ‘increases productivity and reduces costs prompting firms to expand domestic hiring enough to offset jobs lost’.
When taking the time to consider whether or not an offshore team is for you, remember 40% of top tier firms are already offshoring with the number growing to 30% for smaller mid-tier firms – the question, are you going to embrace it or fall behind?
Thinking about getting started on an offshoring plan? Contact us today to get started on your journey.
- Washington Post – Offshore creates as many U.S. jobs as it kills, study says
- Public Accountant – Smaller firms embracing offshoring