For any major project to work well, it is very important that it fits in with the business’ overall strategic plan and is well thought through. Offshoring initiatives need to be driven top down through the business if they are to be truly embraced and the potential benefits fully realised.
Those businesses considering using offshore labour for the first time should consider first running a pilot program to fully understand the considerations which will arise. To have an effective pilot program, it is important to document at the outset what success will look like, agree how long the pilot program will run for and fully review and evaluate the results of the pilot once completed. Incorporating the learnings from the pilot program into future plans will be very beneficial.
What to start with?
It is best to start offshoring with simple internally facing functions. Ideally, functions that will free up existing bottlenecks or otherwise make life easier for your current staff will help greatly with staff buy-in. Initially, avoid client facing functions as you want to ensure that things are running very smoothly and that you have thought through you clients’ likely reactions before you make the decision to expose them directly to your offshore team. Marketing and accounting support roles are easy ones to begin with, some examples of roles to consider beginning with might include data entry, bookkeeping, paralegal support, graphic design and search engine optimisation.
Once you have made the decision to use offshore staff, you need to consider how you will communicate this to your local team. In the absence of any formal communication, they will assume the worst and this may lead to local staffing issues. If you don’t plan to make any local staff redundant but are merely looking to add resource and replace people as they leave through natural attrition, you should let your staff know. Even if you are planning to make staff redundant, letting everyone know in advance who is likely to be affected and who isn’t will help a lot with your internal change management.
Take your time
The most important thing of all when thinking about moving to engage staff offshore is to take your time. There will almost certainly be issues which will arise and by starting small and growing as you learn, you will minimise any likely impact and allow you the time understand how to make offshoring work for your business. In addition, you should let your staff know from the outset that there will be teething issues and ask for their patience in working these through. Expectation management is very important to ensure that they give you the time to make the offshore staff strategy work for your business.
Treat your offshore team the same way you would treat your local team.