As the world changes dramatically due to COVID-19, organizations are searching for solutions to a wide variety of problems caused by or exacerbated by the pandemic, including finding cost-effective ways to continue operations without reducing the quality of service.
But even this presents some challenges. Outsourcing companies, too, have had to adapt to changing circumstances, and it can be difficult to find the requisite talent for certain projects. So, what do you do?
Identify the Best Areas for Outsourcing
You may have already been forced to lay off in-house employees to cut costs during a financial disaster. Or, there could be areas of the business that could be made more efficient by outsourcing. Perhaps there are services you need but don’t have in-house.
Take stock of your operations and priorities and identify the areas that lend themselves best to outsourcing. Consider areas where you could not only save money by looking outside your company but also those that could be improved by leveraging talent and expertise beyond your immediate location.
You might, for example, be able to find expertise in software development that you’re currently lacking in-house. Or perhaps you need a more efficient payroll system. Whatever it is, make sure you prioritize these specialties before creating a plan for outsourcing.
Research, Research, Research
Researching a prospective outsourcing partner is always important, but given the disruption caused by COVID-19, it’s even more pivotal in the current climate. Businesses have changed considerably because of the pandemic, and you need to make sure any organization with which you’re considering working still has the means of delivering quality services.
Consider factors such as the region. For example, Latin America is a leader in information technology (IT), while other regions may specialize in different areas. You should also look at reviews of the partner in questions, as well as a portfolio of recent work — as in projects undertaken since the pandemic began — to assess whether the caliber of the work has changed.
You should also research market costs, which have decreased in most areas since COVID-19.
Conduct Virtual Interviews
Businesses have had to adapt their hiring process to account for a lack of in-person contact over the past few months. But virtual interviews were always a part of many freelancing and outsourcing arrangements, given how partners are often in different areas proximally.
Depending on the location of each partner, Skype, Zoom, and other video conferencing platforms can serve as forums for getting to know your prospective vendor. While you can, of course, email or discuss project specifications over the phone, face-to-face communication can help you develop a better rapport.
Keep Your Employees Closely Involved
Outsourcing work doesn’t necessarily mean replacing your full-time employees. In some circumstances, your employees will be working closely with third-party vendors to complete certain projects and meet your goals. Because COVID-19 isn’t like anything the world has ever seen, everyone is experiencing trepidation, and your employees may be justifiably concerned about their jobs.
Make sure you take care of your employees and keep them apprised of your work with the outsourcing team, whether or not they’re directly involved in the specific project. Keeping them in the loop is one small step you can take to give them peace of mind.
Understand Your Partner’s Infrastructure
Everyone is experiencing difficulties because of the pandemic, and outsourcing companies are no different. Before you sign a contract, it’s essential to understand how your partner operates, what resources they have, who will be working on your project, and so on.
This is important no matter when and how you outsource. How big is the outsourcing company? Do they have the right tools for completing the tasks they need to? Can they provide security? These questions can also help you assess your compatibility with the provider.
Figure Out a System for Collaboration
Chances are you’ve devised an efficient system for collaborating with your team members remotely, using tools like Zoom and Slack. You’ll need to do the same with your outsourcing vendors. You’ll want them to keep you apprised of your project’s progress and any updates. You’ll also want to be able to contact them regularly with questions and concerns.
Determine upfront how you’ll communicate. Perhaps you’ll use a project management tool like Trello to keep track of your project’s progress or expect emails at a certain time every week. Make sure the system is one with which you’re both comfortable.
Be Frank About Your Current Situation
You want an outsourcing company that will rise to the challenge of meeting your needs at a time when the world is going through unforeseen challenges. In order to find the partner that’s right for you, you’ll need to be forthcoming about any difficulties you’re experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may have put a financial strain on you, and you might have had to lay off workers.
Being frank about what you’ve experienced will allow your prospective partner to accurately assess what they would need to do and whether they’re able to do it. It will also inform them as to what you’re looking for in a partner.
Plan for the Future
As much as it feels like this crisis is neverending, there will be a time when the world returns to some semblance of normalcy. As a business, you should start putting plans in place for how you’ll adjust in a post-pandemic period. An outsourcing partner can help you do that. Consider what you’ll need to overcome challenges COVID-19 has presented and what type of company can be there to assist you.
As you’re searching for a partner, make this a focal point of your discussions. You want a vendor that will not only help you weather the storm but also put the pieces back together once the storm is over. Look for someone who is interested in and has ideas about how to meet those goals.
Increasingly, businesses have turned to outsourcing models as an integral component of their work. Now more than ever, they can assist organizations of all types in continuing to work toward their objectives despite the many challenges the current state of the world has presented. Finding talent can be difficult, but doing so will allow you to continue to keep your organization running smoothly.