What are the main benefits of offshoring?
Suzie said: “It's taken a lot of the pressure off my team to get everything done because they have someone supporting them.
“I want my staff to enjoy work and if you're under pressure constantly and don't have support, it makes life difficult.”
Angie said: “It has helped with the little jobs that always get put by the wayside, whereas now they happen in the background and you don’t have to think about them.”
Colin said: “Offshoring forces you to look at your operations and the way you work. We often don't have an opportunity to build relationships with people because we're snowed under with administrative and compliance tasks.
“An offshore team allows you to focus on improving customer service by increasing the capacity of your team.”
How do you choose an offshore company?
Colin said: “You've got to invest the time to ask a series of questions to make sure you feel comfortable with them, and they share the same values.”
Suzie said: “There are different styles of offshoring companies, but the environment I think works best is structured where there is a level of oversight and control so they have somebody to report to.”
Angie said: “The company we use organise weekend trips away, office competitions and lunches, and therefore their employees want to turn up to work every day.”
What are the costs involved?
Suzie said: “It will cost you less than half what you would pay for a similar employee in Australia.
“This brings in the argument of, is it cheap? Is it a bad thing to do? Are we taking jobs away from Australians? In most cases the answer is no, because the people working for these companies are getting fantastic wages realistic to what they would earn otherwise and they're happy to have these jobs.
“You're also employing people you wouldn't actually be able to afford to employ in Australia.”
How important is it to get the culture right?
Angie said: “We had our offshoring staff spend two weeks in our office which was great and helped everyone put a face to a name. We always include them in our meetings and have daily phone calls with them so they’re part of the office.
“It’s also important to make sure you have a point of contact in your office so if they have any issues they are comfortable to call them. We identified people who were happy to be the champions for each department which helps colleagues see their value.”
Colin said: “It is important to get the culture right because the first thing people think is ‘am I going to lose my job?’ You need to explain to your team the reasons you're doing it, but also identify the tasks you want to get done.
“You've also got to view, treat and conduct business with them as if they're sitting next to you.”
How do you carry out training?
Colin said: “It's vital you do role-plays and make sure they know when they're talking to people internally within your organisation. Run them through the suburbs and street pronunciations because that builds confidence with your local team and global team.”
Suzie said: “You must have respect for the staff in your office that will be undertaking the training. It is more challenging and time-consuming than training an Australian, because there are cultural differences.
“We have lots of Australian colloquialisms that don't translate and having someone in the middle who can impart instructions to the employee offshore is really important part of the process.