This is the second article in a two part series. To read Part One, click here.
The key to successful, dedicated offshore staffing is effective communication.
When hiring local staff, would you turn them loose on their first day with little supervision, training and support? Didn’t think so. The same rules apply to offshore staffing.
The importance of integrating offshorers into your team mustn’t be overlooked. Developing a strong working relationship comes down to understanding expectations, determining who they report to and having clear lines of reporting.
The challenges of using offshore staff
There are three basic offshoring areas that have the potential to create challenges: technical, relationship and staff shortcomings.
If in any one day your phone goes on the blink, your internet is down, or the power cuts out, you could find your business grinding to a halt.
Power shortages, internet connection drop outs or PC and software glitches will have the same impact on offshore staff.
Fortunately, as infrastructure in popular offshoring countries improves, this will become less of an issue.
Communication is the foundation upon which a good working relationship is built. After all, it’s through communication that staff know what you want them to do.
It’s important that you’re able to clearly convey your requirements and be satisfied that they are understood. Initially this may require a level of micromanagement to ensure that your offshore staff are on the right track.
The benefit with dedicated offshore staff is that, as you work this through, staff begin to understand the requirements and move from working to instruction to working pro-actively.
If you are or have been an employer, you’ll be aware that there are a range of reasons why someone may not have been the right fit for your business.
It could be that they do not have the skills you thought they had or that they don’t show the duty of care required. Whatever the reason, the basic premise is that we’re dealing with people – with that comes the associated strengths and weaknesses.
The key learning here is that a successful outcome requires the right person be placed.
What can offshore staff do?
If the job can be done using a phone, computer and internet connection, an offshorer can provide a solution.
What are some of the positions we’ve filled to help clients gain critical leverage?
- Administration staff including virtual assistants, accountants, bookkeepers, back office admin, data entry, receptionists, transcribers, web publishing coordinators etc.
- Marketing and sales staff including web content writers, link builders, appointment setters, telesales, researchers, social media marketers, marketing assistants, SEO/SEM execs etc.
- IT services staff including web developers, flash developers, web designers, graphic designers, network engineers, technical support, CAD, CISCO etc.
The above is by no means a definitive list, but it should give you an indication of how you can use offshore staff to grow your business.
Sometimes the challenge is not what can be done by offshorers, it’s what can be effectively communicated by the business owner or manager. Here’s a process I recommend:
- On a blank piece of paper draw three columns.
- In the first column list the things that can’t be delegated – this list should be as small as possible.
- In the second column list all activities that can be delegated.
- In the third column list all the activities from the second column in order of priority.
What is the cost of offshore staff?
To access quality offshore staff from, for example, the Philippines, typically you will need to budget between AUD$5 and $12 per hour, or between $900 and $2100 per month ex GST for fulltime staff completing a 40 hour work week, depending on the skills sought. For more specialised skills the cost can exceed the $2100 mark.
As a guide:
- Data entry types, writers, transcribers etc. can be sourced at between $900 and $1100 per month.
- Skilled virtual assistants can be sourced at between $1000 to $1300 per month.
- Technical people such as developers or designers, SEO experts, bookkeepers etc. can be sourced anywhere from $1200 to $2100 per month.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing you can get highly skilled and dependable people with all the skill sets you need for $4 an hour. Or that you can find a bookkeeper, telemarketer and web designer all rolled into one. Finding and hiring good offshore staff is no different to finding and hiring local staff. You get what you pay for.
Based on the number of businesses that are adding offshore staff to their teams, it is becoming an increasingly important resource to manage growth and future-proof your company.
The critical issue for a business manager or owner to identify before going offshore is the areas that you need to address, the desired outcomes, the required skills, and the model that will get you there. Once you’ve achieved this you’re on the path to success.
This was the second article in a two part series. Fancy learning more about how offshore staffing’s revolutionising biz for SMEs? Stay tuned for part two of this series by Remote Staff’s Walter Fulmizi.