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Productivity / Outsourcing

Nine outsourcing mistakes to avoid

There are certain outsourcing practices that, if done correctly, will lead to outsourcing success, but if they are disregarded outsourcing mistakes can lead to total failure.

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Outsourcing can be quite a daunting task. It can be a lot easier however if you avoid the nine biggest outsourcing mistakes.

Have a vague idea of the job role

Having a defined job role is critical to outsourcing success. If you don’t know the specific tasks or projects you want accomplished, how will your staff? Before you even start the process of finding a virtual assistant or other staff member, create a thorough and descriptive job description outlining the duties of the role and the qualifications/skills you are seeking.

You hire someone with poor English

If you frustratingly hire someone with poor English skills, not only will you lose your patience, but the quality of work will tend be inferior because your directions can be misunderstood. If you are hiring offshore, there are certain countries such as the Philippines where English skills are generally high, however, always make sure you speak with the person before you hire them.

You don’t conduct a thorough and proper interview

One of the worst outsourcing mistakes you can make is not administering a rigorous interview process. Always interview on Skype and make sure the person is someone you have confidence in, and also someone you want to be working with on a daily basis. Give your top two or three candidates a mini project or test, and hire the person who completes it to your liking.

"Although most staff won’t need to be ‘babysat’, providing clear instructions on what needs to be accomplished is pivotal when outsourcing tasks."

You don’t give clear instructions

Although most staff won’t need to be ‘babysat’, providing clear instructions on what needs to be accomplished is pivotal when outsourcing tasks. Hold a daily or weekly meeting at a set time and go over what was completed and what’s on the agenda. This helps staff understand what is expected and also gives them a chance to clarify anything before they begin work.

Want more outsourcing mistakes articles like this? Check out the outsourcing section.

Your expectations are too high (one of the outsourcing mistakes!)

Don’t have unreasonable expectations of your staff. When you are creating a job description, define the exact role you’re after. Vague roles lead to subpar candidates which lead to subpar results, but be realistic about what you want them to do.

You treat remote staff differently

Just because your staff member is working remotely and not in the office doesn’t mean you should neglect them and treat them differently than office employees. Make them feel part of the team by including them in meetings and company emails. This will go a long way in ensuring loyalty, engagement, and hard work.

You don’t communicate frequently

If there is one thing that will all but ensure outsourcing failure, it is lack of communication. Communication is key especially for virtual employees. Make sure you communicate via voice or video chat at least once a week and be in contact by email or messaging daily.

You don’t efficiently collaborate

When done properly, working in remote teams can be just as efficient as working in an office-based setting. There are various tools that can make the transportation of data and ideas seamless. For example, Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello and Basecamp are all great tools to create and manage projects and documents. When working with offshore developers, make sure they are saving all code to a central depository such as GitHub.

Disregard cultural differences

If you hire offshore staff, there are certain cultural differences you should learn and be aware of. Understanding these differences is vital if you want to forge long-lasting business relationships. Differences such as communication style, life priorities, and conflict resolution all impact the way someone conducts business. The better you comprehend these differences, the more you will get out of your staff.

Avoid these outsourcing mistakes and you ensure a happier team and healthier business.

What are your thoughts on these outsourcing mistakes?

Kevin Mallen

is the Sales & Marketing Director for Virtual Coworker. He connects qualified Virtual Assistants and Web Developers from the Philippines with Australian Businesses.

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