Should You Outsource from an Overseas BPO Company or Hire A Remote Worker?
We guess by now, other than costs, you’re quite familiar with a few pros and cons of outsourcing to a remote staff or overseas BPO company.
But this article is not meant to convince you on what is the right or wrong way to outsource because there’s no ‘standard’ really to outsourcing.
We’re here to help you decide on which option is the best for your company based on the advantages and disadvantages that we’ll tackle here.
So sit back and relax, as we give you some of the common differences between hiring a remote staff and outsourcing from an established overseas staffing company.
Advantages of Outsourcing from an Offshore BPO Company
Cost. When you might get from an offshore outsourcing company the same work done locally for a quarter of the cost, or less, this is something of a game changer, isn’t it?
Nevertheless, the burden of paying health insurance, week-long vacation leaves, and other remuneration will no longer bother you. Then, you could invest the cost savings for other operational expenses.
There are, however, some opinions that suggest on the extra time outsourcing entails, such as the cost of managing and preparing an offshore project before you turn it over to the outsourced company.
So you need to account these factors before signing an outsourcing agreement with an offshore firm.
Commitment. Outsourcing offshore can free you up from signing up an employee for far longer period of time even when he or she has already accomplished the project or task. You’re eased off of paying the associated costs when you hire on a per project basis.
Corporate Processes. In most cases, offshore companies which have been existing for a decade or two have already established a strong corporate culture, efficient work processes and the resources to scout, hire and train talent. When you hire from these companies, skills matching to your business needs will not be too difficult to achieve.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing from an Offshore BPO Company
Quality. Although hiring an offshore company would be a promising deal, quality-wise, there’s no 100% assurance that quality will be delivered, however. There are some factors why this is comes off as an often-complained of issue, such as language barrier, internet-based miscommunication, and how invested the employees are to your success.
But in many established and experienced offshoring firm, the issue on quality has been addressed through the adoption of a couple of strategies to mitigate this risk. Some would even hire and send someone local to visit the offshore company and spend some time there as consultant and trainer of offshore staff.
Language Barriers. Although Filipino workers are educated well in basic English – which has been mandatory in primary schools up to tertiary level education – there remains a few challenges. Relaying instructions for certain projects or tasks prove to be a hurdle when English is not the first language of the staff.
Some industry-specific jargon or American slang may come lost in translation in some cases, but this is light considering how Filipinos embrace American culture like it is their own.
Attrition Rate. The issue of workers leaving their work for bigger pay has been one of the persistent issues in the BPO industry, recent data, however, shows some positive developments.
Many established outsourcing companies have learned this the hard way and now matured enough to address the issue with strategies geared to retain employees, such as giving employees more perks, bonuses, health and social benefits, and more.
Advantages of Hiring a Remote Worker
Cost. There’s no denying that there’s hefty cost savings from hiring a remote or home-based workers individually than singing up an agreement with an offshore virtual staffing company. There’s a clear cost advantages from no longer minding the legal cost of hiring a full-time staff from your area, such as expenses out of employee benefits and taxes.
Access to Diverse Talent Pool. This is one of the big advantage from hiring a remote workers that are not from your area. Sometimes local employment pool may be limited only to what is your area’s focus industry, whereas you can find the right individual for your needs from anywhere across the world.
In the Philippines, for instance, you can hire remote workers who are not only adept at producing impeccable graphic designs, motion graphics and superb outbound call center service. For a quarter of cost you pay a local employee from your area, you can find someone from Manila, Cebu or Southern Luzon a virtual staff who can manage social media presence or blog for your business.
Efficiency and Productivity Advantage. Entrepreneurs operating a 24-hour business, the idea of having an international worker provide customer support by the time the locals in your area are having their breakfast in the morning sounds appealing. Managing your remote staff efficiently albeit time zone differences can prove to be helpful in impressing to your customers your care and consideration for their needs.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Remote Worker
No Meet-up in Person. There’s a pretty big chance you held your interview with your remote worker via Skype. You let your prospective independent contractor tell you about his previous works, asked about the software he or she uses and strategy behind SEO, but that will never get you as far as knowing other crucial things about the employee.
There are instances that you will need/want your staff, in a physical sense. Not just for anything fancy or what. But come to think about the times when you need to have your staff during company meetings or grand scale corporate events.
For some companies, they try as much as possible to book a flight to visit their VA or remote contractor for quite sometimes. Others, with bigger budget get to the point of bringing their VA over their home countries.
Reliability. Some remote staff are not home runs and can simply disappear without you being informed of their plans or whereabouts. This can be undeniably frustrating when you’re about to launch a client website or have to have someone fix a grammatical lapse on your Facebook brand page.
There is no assurance of complete availability from a work-at-home worker. This does not mean that your staff have to be present or available for 24 hours to be there for your needs. It just means that your staff may be juggling multiple works similar with yours and they may not be focused to you – and you alone.
Another challenge to consider when you have an independent contract worker employed come in logistical terms – when you need your staff at a time when they wouldn’t be in their best shape to work – middle of the night.
Communication Barriers. Poor communication habits or low English-language proficiency can hamper the success rate of your project for yourself or your client. Always remember that when your remote staff only uses English as a second language, be prepared to encounter a few debacles translating some instructions about a particular task.
Being proficient in English is not enough to understand some subtleties and complexities associated with Australian’s or American slang, and without discounting from the equation some industry-specific business jargon.
Then there is also the challenge of the local knowledge that an overseas worker will not have as when you have a staff in your own room or building. Since your remote staff have never been ‘there’ with you in your community or country, some tasks that you will assign may come off too late, if not slower.
The Deciding Factor
As an entrepreneur you want the absolute best of your business. To seize every advantage there is to outsourcing, it is best to base your decision on the current stage you are in with your organization.
If you’re just starting a new company, it can be helpful to have a remote staff doing some virtual assisting you in your daily operations. This can also be particularly helpful for tasks that demand hours and hours of repetitions, even if you’re already grown. Some of these tasks do not require extremely skilled employees to complete.
So the rule of thumb though is to have a list of what job you will outsource to your overseas staff or outsourced BPO company. Ask yourself whether the job you will outsource is something that you deemed best done in your office or building or not.
There’s simply no right or wrong thing way to hiring overseas workers for your startup or your business.
What you deem is the best for you should be your criteria when choosing to outsource. Whatever your reason, think a hundred or thousand times over if it is cost savings you are after or quantity, quality or long-term sustainability.
Some overseas companies like Big Outsource, which has been around in this business for years, offers some flexible, affordable and reliable solutions for companies seeking a quality BPO company.
We hope that you’ll let us know your own experience so we can tell you ours to help you make up your mind about what outsourcing option is the right way to go for your business.