How to Choose an Offshore Staff Provider (or BPO)

If you are thinking about engaging offshore staff it pays to take some time when picking your BPO service provider. Things to consider include:-

Industry specialisation of offshore staff

If your provider knows and understands the industry you work in this will help a lot. Industry specialisation helps ensure they:

  • understand the type of work you want done
  • have access to staff with the right qualifications and/or experience
  • have a suitable technology platform
  • can provide ongoing operational assistance, training and support in a way consistent with your industry norms and needs.

Location

The location of your service provider will significantly affect the quality of offshore staff they can recruit for you.

If you require people with good qualifications and/or experience, you will need a provider located in one of Manilas’ business districts. On the other hand, if university qualifications are not a priority and you plan to train the staff yourself you will have access to lower cost staffers outside of Manila. Having a provider in the wrong location may greatly hamper your ability to recruit the right offshore staff.

The quality of infrastructure also varies greatly within the Philippines. You are far more likely to have reliable electricity, internet, and transport within rather than outside of Manila. These may not seem like significant issues in Australia but they certainly are in Manila. Also, make sure you ask your provider:

  • do they emergency back-up power?
  • are their premises subject to flooding?
  • do they have a back-up internet service provider?
  • are they close to staff transport?

Some providers source staffers who work from home. It is important to understand if this is the case as many quality and security issues come into play with this offering.

Australian presence

A provider with a local Australian presence will help greatly when you come to roll out your offshore plans. Everything from negotiating your agreement through to training your local staff and resolving the inevitable issues which will arise is made much easier when your provider has a local presence.

Extra services

Not all providers offer the same level of service. Some do little more than provide a serviced office with recruitment support. It is important to understand the level of additional services you require. Additional services can include:-

  • Assistance with IT setup including data security plans, data location and connectivity solutions.
  • Human resource management assistance including development of position descriptions and KPIs and conducting regular performance reviews.
  • Assistance with day to day operational issues and monthly reporting.
  • Training and workforce development plans.
  • Training for your Australian staff.
  • Staff engagement and retention strategies and activities.

Customised

Some offshoring providers make you comply with their processes and procedures. Others customise their solution around what you want. Customised solutions can include things like developing an employment agreement specific to your needs, agreeing and implementing performance metrics and customising the training and workforce development program for your offshore staff.

Employee engagement and retention strategy

The biggest issue by far to think about when engaging your provider is staff retention.

Many providers have offshore staff attrition rates in excess of 5% per month.

For an offshoring strategy to be truly effective, low staff turnover is crucial. To achieve this, the BPO must have high-quality staff-friendly facilities, a good reputation in the market, and a properly thought through engagement plan supported by an appropriate budget. The best people for the job are attracted by these things.

Contracts

Many providers look to lock their clients into long term contracts. This is not necessary and is not desirable from a client perspective.

Diversify offers all these services to get you started on your offshoring experience. Contact us today if you are interested in implementing an offshore strategy for your business.

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