Is your business outsourcing projects to specialized teams? You’re on the right track in taking that first step; it’s cost-efficient and feasible. There are also fewer worries in entrusting processes to skilled, experienced teams. However, you need to overcome a handful of challenges before you invest; have you considered how the employees in the company will respond the changes, and are you clear on the expectations set with your service provider?
Outsourcing work as extension of your business is beneficial in the long run, but you need to cover all bases if you want to milk all of the benefits. Here are four challenges you need to consider before, during, and after you take the plunge:
1. Transitioning the Management
Outsourcing parts of your operations could mean you’ll have to let some people go. At the very least, you’ll restructure teams as necessary. You need to anticipate the disruptions, manage it so the change wouldn’t be a liability. Existing employees may resist with lack of support; some may also seek other opportunities. Nip this at the bud with proactive strategies that gradually, seamlessly transitions the change in management.
Develop a professionally made communication draft, sent to all stakeholders affected by the transition. It’s best if you can personalize each message to the recipient; sending unique messages to different employee levels will also work. You need to address everyone’s lingering thoughts, “What about me?” and “What’s in this for me?”
2. Cultural Differences
You’re coordinating with teams from different timezones, sharing tasks with different cultural and corporate mores. Your corporate culture may be opposite from your service provider; are you willing to adjust rigid policies to accommodate your provider’s casual approach? What works for you may not work for your provider, and a compromise can be your best solution to achieve synergy.
Factor in national cultures, which can be categorized into differences in language, work ethics, work hours, and religion. Asian cultures are less confrontational than their western counterparts, and your straightforward approach may be received as aggressive, threatening by your eastern counterparts. Your service provider will likely have awareness training resource on hand; coordinate and trade notes in effort to merge the cultures.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
They say great expectations come with great disappointments. You’re partially at fault if you don’t clarify expectations with your service provider at the outset. It is true some companies expect their providers to take care of everything, which is hardly the case (unless stipulated). Set the bar too high and you’ll end up overcritical on the output, worsened by a barrage of negative feedback.
Your executive team need to be aware outsourcing isn’t the end-all of solutions; expectations must be realistic and agreed upon by all parties. Employees and stakeholders must be kept up to speed on developments, including setbacks encountered as the project unfolds. Managing expectations ensures there’s goodwill between the company and clients moving forward.
4. Protecting Intellectual Property
IP is always at risk when you’re working with outside parties. Non-disclosure and non-competition clauses should be airtight, and strictly enforced. Mitigate risks in areas affected, including access to information, physical properties like buildings and offices; implement administrative safeguards that sanction employee conduct.
Keep in mind the safeguards must consider the corporate and cultural differences mentioned, draft policies that anticipate and cover for loopholes. You can’t be too careful with your intellectual property, and it must be said that once that precious trade secret is out, it is out.
All things considered, the benefits of outsourcing outweigh its disadvantages. It’s just a matter of ensuring you’re on the same page with your provider every step of the way. You have everything to gain with efficient coordination, since your business is heavily invested in the results.