Our many years of experience in developing a successful small business using the exceptional talent available in the Philippines has taught us a few things about what to do to maximise your offshore strategy.
For offshoring to be successful you need a long term plan. It doesn't have to be documented or “strategic” but when you start your offshoring journey be really clear on what you want to achieve from it. What is the improvement you want to make by utilizing offshore talent and how are you going to impart the knowledge, skills and experience on the talent you engage to deliver that improvement.
Ad hoc, unstructured offshoring doesn’t work.
Whilst there are a lot of similarities in engaging talent offshore and onshore, there is always a level of “presumed” or “culturally acquired” knowledge in any local hire that will be missing in your offshore talent in the early stages. It might surprise you what comes up as new or novel information for a new offshore hire. Expect your offshore talent to take longer than a local hire to understand your business and what you expect from them. Expect to explain concepts or processes in greater detail than you are used to. Be prepared to train your offshore talent in concepts that an onshore hire may already know.
Be prepared to put the time and effort into training.
Investment in your offshore talent will pay enormous dividends over the long run. But manage your expectations as you upskill your offshore team to avoid frustration and disappointment. Remember we think linearly, so we tend to expect an incremental, day by day growth in the things we invest our time in. In this case the value your offshore talent delivers. In reality the value proposition of offshoring is more exponential than it is linear - like any “innovation”.
Early days, be prepared for your expectations to be ahead of the value your offshore team delivers - stay the course and you will enjoy the exponential growth that comes. We see it time and time again, give your talent (and yourself) the time to truly learn and you will unlock value not possible in a local context.
They may be on the other side of the world but the more integrated your offshore team becomes into your normal business operations and your onshore operations the more value you will unlock. Treat your offshore team as you would your onshore team, involve them in meetings, internal communication and online social interactions as much as you can. Filipinos love to be part of a team and they value collective achievement over individual success.
Offshoring is about growth not cost cutting. The best way to get buy-in from often reluctant onshore team members is to identify opportunities that offshoring can bring to their day to day lives. Utilize an offshore approach to support your current team, not threaten their position. Take those “boring” highly repetitive, mundane tasks offshore early in the process to free up their day. Our experience is that they will fall in love with the support that an offshore team member can provide them.
Offshore processes - not roles or people - processes. Find the processes in your business that are best suited to offshore execution, document them and find consistent ways of starting, managing and approving those processes. Find a standard way to send those invoices for processes, be consistent with how your VA’s are tasked, and with what information you provide them each and every time. This article can help you determine what processes might be best to offshore and what might be best avoiding. Get some tips on documenting your process here.