Should you hire or outsource. Here are 10 key points to consider before one should consider hiring local vs outsourcing to remote talent
It is quite easy to outsource vs. a traditional job offer and hire locally. The main reason being the right kind of expertise one can find in the outsourcing industry.
I have been hiring many technical and copywriters on freelancing sites like Upwork, and it is working for me.
One can hire experts in areas that can help convert the ideas into reality, which has opened up many new possibilities, which otherwise seems impossible.
I know a lot of people are now looking for getting things done remotely than doing it in house.
The advancement of technology has made it all possible. So someone sitting on the other side of the globe can complete the assignment and deliver it to you, and you can ensure timely delivery of work as well in a satisfactory manner.
With such benefits, numerous challenges are part and parcel of such technological development.
So let us look into what are the benefits and challenges of hiring a local talent vs. outsourcing to remote teams.
Expertise is one of the primary reasons for people to consider outsourcing over the hiring of local talent.
You may be looking for expertise that may be unavailable in your locality. However, with a global workforce, you can hire such expertise now, and it is such a big advantage.
With such a big advantage comes the biggest challenge of judging the right expertise. You can be bombarded with proposals for what you wish to get done. At times you have to be judging things based on just a business proposal.
With a remote workforce, you may even burn your fingers. Moreover, you will come across people who may be great in meetings and letting you know he is an expert. However, the actual implementation will show their true expertise.
At times, you may even feel like you are shooting in the dark, but being persistent and trying can help you hire the right person eventually.
2. Less overhead cost
It is always cost-effective to outsource than to hire someone.
Take this as an example
You found someone in your neighborhood to work from his home. It will be fairly cheap because if he is not using your office space. So you save on office rent space. Moreover, he is working from home and using his own real estate space to deliver work for you. He is also working from his internet connection. It saves overhead costs as well.
So if you just found someone who is living nearby and is working from home, it is much cheaper than one who would work from your office.
Office space isn’t cheap. It costs a hell lot of money and time to build infrastructure like furniture, electric equipment like ACs, Internet access.
Now imagine somebody living in a low-cost area and can work from his home, it can reduce the cost considerably for sure.
However, with the low-cost price tag come issues of cheap quality as well. Once you are looking for a remote team, you can be more focused on the price tag as the only criteria to judge the proposal. It can be, at times, become the root cause of burning your fingers.
Even full-time employees with lower salary expectations may not always be the right person for you, and so is the case with a remote team. Opt for experts.
You can outsource to someone in a time zone or for hours such that you can allocate extra time for a different project with your minimal interventions. You don’t need to be working with him, but he is there when he needs any help.
I hired a person for 3 hours per day from my 7 PM to 10 PM. He would do things as I instructed and can get in touch with me on Skype or phone if he needs anything urgent. I will just use my iPhone to clear doubts for him and had worked well for me. He was working full-time somewhere but worked for me 3 hours per day for extra pay.
It can be one of benefit, but you can also opt to build a team very easy to support for 24×7 support, which would have been a dream a few years back. One of my clients had a support team of 3 people that were geographically diversified to help him provide 24×7 support for his membership forum site.
At times outsourcing can make you more productive than hiring someone full-time. I have seen this happen to a lot of my clients. I used to work when they are sleeping, and they used to work when I am not online. It made things move fast and made developers more productive. They sent me the things I need to get it done for them before they are back to work.
I experienced similar things when hiring people from the US and UK. They may get the job done in one day, but, for me, it is in no time. Assigned them a task in my late afternoon in India, and often it is delivered the same day for them. However, for me, it is available early in the morning the next day. If it had been an in house team, the deliverables are available at the end of the next day instead of early morning.
The biggest disadvantage of such working culture can be the way you may be allocating your work. If you allocate in your morning time when your remote team is sleeping and want things delivered the same day, it can be tough.
The process that I follow is to allocate work to remote teams before they are getting started. The going off for the day team leaves the job such that the other team coming online can pick up where the other team left off.
Managing the allocation of work is the key ingredient to boost productivity levels.
Hire people you can trust. You should never hire someone who has trust issues.
I believe it is tough to start trusting someone from day one. So you should try small projects with them to start with. Moreover, move slowly to see how things pan out. Time is the best medicine to build trust.
So once you hired someone, trust him. Show your trust. Recently one of my writers had an issue with the content she posted. It looked like the content was copied, and I pointed it out.
I said it is all ok, and at times, things like that can happen and just replace the article. She replaced it, and we are still working together.
There were similar issues with other writers as well. Instead of replacing the article, they started to argue, and as expected, we completed the allocated number of articles but did not continue further.
6. Start Immediately
If you are hiring someone full-time in India and if he is experienced personnel, he will at least need one month to join you. He will just have to resign at his current job and possibly serve a notice period with the current employer, which is normally a month and then join your team.
Hiring remotely, and you don’t need to worry about such issues. You can outsource to someone from the moment you think it is the right time to get started as opposed to hiring the same personnel.
7. Communication and English
Good communication skill in English is a must when building a remote team. You will spend a lot of time with your team on chat and possibly use email as a primary source to exchange information.
A simple example of a nonprofessional is I have seen people just don’t use “Reply To All” when replying to emails. It is so annoying. Hiring people with good communication skills is a must.
If you have any other language of communication among the hired people, it is all good, but then I prefer to be hiring people who are at least good in English and avoid those who write SMS language in emails like how r u? As long as such small thing in the chat is fine, but when writing emails, SMS language means a complete rejection.
If you are writing business emails, you should be either use a smartphone, which helps type you in full or at least use a computer. You cannot just take a shortcut to write less. It means you are just making it hard for others to read.
Similarly, if they don’t use Reply to All, I prefer to let them know once. However, if I have to remind them repeatedly, then it becomes a clear rejection for me.
8. Self Motivation
I prefer to automate things that can be automated. I always try to find a feasible solution that requires very less of my involvement.
So I prefer to hire locally or outsource people who are self-motivated and prefer to provide all the freedom and resources needed to perform. Only a few have done well. I see that those who are self-motivated perform well when working from home.
Extremely motivated individuals with lofty goals and willingness to do well will take the freedom to perform well. Whereas laid back and lacking self-motivation just crumble when offered complete freedom. They always need to be instructed on what is needed from them.
9. A great employee may not be a great remote employee
You hired someone to work for you, and as you are growing, you want to hire more people but are constrained in the workspace. So one thing could be to make your more experienced employee work from home. However, I have seen time and again that the productivity of such workers goes down dramatically.
I have seen this happen too often and with too many people to conclude that a great employee may not be a great remote employee. The only reason I can see when people start working at home and still get paid a fixed amount the productivity goes down. Pay them on per work basis or hourly basis, and things will work fine.
The better choice in many such scenarios is to hire freelancers who already work from home and ask the experienced staff to manage them.
10. Monitoring the pay
In an office environment, we can track attendance, but in a remote workforce, it is difficult to track. How long each person is working and what they have been working on. If you have to spend too much time monitoring your outsourcing team, it may be more fruitful to hire locally.
I have been working for clients for a decade now, and still, I prefer to provide the same reporting hours that I did when I started. It is because I don’t want to be having any doubts in the mind of my clients about the hours I have worked.
I am not sure if some of my clients even look at hours I bill them. Still, I prefer to be sending the hours worked regularly and the format they are used to.
I never doubt if they question the hours because they have the right to find out. At times, you can lose on extra details as time goes by, and it may not look you are over billing. If you are true to your hours and if you bill hours that you would like to pay for the task done, it will always be justified.
Sometimes I even reduce the number of hours I have worked for hours I bill. It happens when I may not be as productive as I should be or love to be.
Sometimes you can have lots of phone calls coming up in the middle of your billable hours, or you can have fought among your kids and get distracted, or you can have some guests come to your place for a coffee. If I think the work done in hours is not justifiable, I reduce the billable hours from actual hours I have worked. It helps me to build the trust of my clients, and they know there is no chance of me billing the wrong hours to them.
I prefer testing new freelancers with short-term work to see how they handle issues I point out. How they communicate and how they manage to meet the deadlines. I have seen people in some parts of India, especially Kolkata, are more inclined to being hired as opposed to work from home and do outsourcing work.