Successful Strategies For Outsourcing

September 24, 2014

“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” says Laura Lee Sparks owner of Legal Marketing Maven–a firm that helps law firms streamline their practices through outsourcing. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”

Outsourcing can improve operational efficiency in a very short amount of time, which in turn increases profits, provided it is handled the right way. Here are three strategies that have proven successful for outsourcing.

 

Create Clear Job Expectations

Having clearly set expectations for each job you want to outsource will help your business on many levels. First, it allows you to specify what will be covered, and by whom. Detailing specifics will help you contract with an employee who is a good fit for the job right from the beginning. Clearly defined objectives further avoid overlap- so no time gets lost redundantly doing work that has already been done by someone else.

Communication is important for any business to operate efficiently, but especially so when outsourcing. Because you are not necessarily talking to and seeing outsourced personnel on a daily basis, there is less opportunity to view and adjust their work. With lessened communication comes the need for even more direct and clear objectives transmitted the first time. The outsourced work should come with instructions stating what needs to be done and why it is important. Employees should understand their job and its expectations well enough that they know where their performance can improve, and when they need to ask for support. Knowing both their expectations and resources will continue to improve operational efficiency. Conversely, when an employee does not fully understand what is expected they may feel that they are doing their best at their job, yet their boss never seems satisfied because what the boss needs to have done is not getting done. The employee can not be expected to meet expectations that were never communicated to them.

When outlining your job expectations there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • State directly and concisely what you want.
  • Identify what is significant by having a prioritized list.
  • Focus on communicating specific results by relating measurable outputs including: quality, timeliness, cost, and quantity.

 

Provide Training

As owner of your company it can be hard to relinquish control. Your business is your baby, and after all of the time and work you have put into it you want to make sure things are done right. Training your outsourced employees yourself will ensure that they know your methods and the way you want everything to be done. This allows you the peace of mind to trust another person with that specific job. Then you can let go, knowing that they have the knowledge and resources to fully handle that aspect of the work, and you are free to focus on running your business.

An easy and effective way to train is video training. To video train you can make a video of yourself going through the process, and then make that video accessible online for each employee who may need it. We use and recommend using Jing by Techsmith.com. Jing is a free download that allows you to create and share 5 minute videos via online screen casting. Also, don’t be afraid to use stock videos. If someone else has created a video that does the trick, use it! Why re-create the wheel when you don’t have to? Video guidance streamlines the training process for all employees and offers an efficient way to increase operation. Since videos can be viewed over and over, they reduce business costs substantially and give flexibility to both workers and employers. Video and virtual classrooms are ideal for educating outsourced employees because by nature they are at various distances and on different schedules. Another benefit is that employees are able to review the video as many times as needed, ensuring that they will remember and have access to resources that they need.

 

Have Accountability Checkpoints

Once your outsourced personnel knows their expectations and has been trained they are ready to complete their tasks. At this point you only need to check back from time to time to ensure that it continues to be done correctly. The employee should already be aware of certain measurable outputs, and what you expect for each one. Inspecting the outputs will help you as an employer make sure of quality, quantity, deadlines, problems, costs, etc. When they know you are examining them, employees will be accountable and have added incentive to their work. An employee can feel that they are making important contributions when their work is vital enough to be followed up, and that you care how it is done. Checkpoints also allow you to provide feedback that can improve operational efficiency. It gives you the opportunity to compliment, encourage and bestow any further needed direction. Following up further makes you aware of potential problems in time to head them off, while keeping communication open so when concerns or questions arise employees know where to go.

So What do YOU Think?