In recent years, outsourcing has been gaining enormous popularity. For many growing businesses today, especially those based in the United States, outsourcing is slowly becoming an essential part of their operations.
When you hire an outsourced team, you don’t have to invest a huge amount of time and money in training and setup. Most outsourced teams consist of skilled professionals who already have all the tools they need to do the work required right from the start.
But how can you know that the outsourced team will deliver the work on time and up to your standards?
A simple answer would be to leverage remote monitoring tools, but there’s more to it than that.
Let's explore some of the ways you can easily monitor the work your outsource team does.
Even before your outsourced team starts working for you, you should set the expectations for what you are looking to achieve with them. The more they understand your project, the better they will be at doing it. You need to be clear through the entire project from start to finish.
You can start by drafting up the specific goals you are looking for them to achieve. It will be easier and more efficient for both parties if you have more achievable goals instead of just having one general overarching goal.
You can also set up specific KPIs (key performance indicators) which you would track on a regular basis to make sure the operations are running smoothly. If you’re outsourcing your customer support team, these KPIs should include the average wait time, the time it takes to resolve an issue for the customer, etc.
Establish a Strong Contractual Agreement
Words alone won’t cut it when working with outsourced teams - you need a strong contract in place to keep them accountable to their word.
You can’t expect an outsourced team to deliver on their initial promises unless you have a robust contract in place that defines the scope of your working relationship in no uncertain terms.
A contract is hands-down the best way to ensure accountability since it’s enforceable by law.
In it, you should include:
- Deliverables: Identify the deliverables that you expect from your outsourced team, and detail exactly what they include.
- Performance metrics: Outline the metrics you’ll use to monitor the outsourced team’s performance. You can even set up penalties for missed metrics to increase accountability.
- Data protection: Establish ground rules for how the outsourced team can and can’t use your data.
Get Involved With the Work They Do
After you have set achievable goals for your outsourced team and they have started working on your project, make sure you remain involved in the work they do, especially in the beginning. Being involved means occasionally checking in with them and what they do, as well as helping them out if they run into some challenges.
While you should regularly check in with your outsourced team and help them out, doing it from the beginning will likely push them to familiarize themselves with your work more promptly. Being involved with your outsourced team allows you to monitor their performance.
Check the Quality of Their Work
You should not be afraid to spot check the quality of your outsourced team's work. The best three options for checking the quality of their work:
- Conduct random quality assurance surveys with your customers
- Shadow the outsourced team while they work
- Ask your employees for feedback
The success of surveying your customers about the quality of the work your outsourced team has provided largely depends on whether you want your customers to know if you are using outsourced labor.
On the other hand, shadowing your outsourced employees requires time and possibly syncing with their timezone, because it is common for US companies to hire outsourced teams from abroad.
If your outsourced team is handling some of your internal operations, such as your accounting or IT, you should survey your in-house staff to learn about their experience with the outsourced labor.
Your staff will be best to tell you whether the outsourced teams are good at their job, if they fit in with the team, and whether their services contribute.
Use Technology to Monitor Performance
As technology has advanced, so too have the tools you can rely on to monitor performance both inside and outside of your business.
The best way to monitor an outsourced partner’s performance both in the beginning and in later stages is to use a remote computer monitoring software like Insightful. With remote monitoring tools at your disposal, you can easily track your outsourced team and whether or not they are actually doing the work you are paying for.
Remote computer monitoring software helps you track their work like they are sitting next to you. This ensures that they are accountable, which builds a stronger bond between you.
You can also use project management solutions such as Asana to track the real-time progress of projects. Adding external collaborators, you can include your outsourced partners in your internal processes and gain visibility into productivity.
Lastly, you can use communication platforms such as Slack and Zoom to touch base and stay in contact with your outsourced partners, checking in on progress towards strategic goals.
Feedback and Continuous Improvement
Tracking progress is one thing, but you’ll also want to create space for feedback and continuous improvement in your working relationship.
Through regular feedback, you can make sure that any outsourced teams you work with are meeting your expectations and have everything they need to make progress towards the goals you’ve already agreed upon.
You can collect this feedback through bi-weekly informal reviews, where you invite outsourced teams to submit their feedback (anonymously, if necessary).
Using this feedback, you can then review and refine your processes for working with outsourced teams and supporting them to be as productive as possible. You can also use the feedback to create training and development opportunities for outsourced teams.
That way, they can take accountability for their professional growth and learn skills that will increase the value they can add to your internal teams.
Keeping Outsourced Partners Accountable
Outsourcing can be a significant cost-saver for many US businesses. And more often than not, the experience with outsourced teams is positive. However, since outsourced employees represent your company externally, you need to keep a close eye on what they do.
For a positive experience with an outsourced team, you need to set proper expectations from the start, you also need to be involved with the work they do, and you need to check the quality of their work regularly. Doing these three things with the help of an employee tracking system will maximize your chances of having a successful relationship with your outsourced team.