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Strategies to effectively manage outsourced work

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Today, outsourcing is a popular choice for businesses looking to cut costs and execute business functions that require specialised expertise. By outsourcing, businesses can get help from skilled professionals, without the recurring costs of retaining full-time employees. While this can be a significant advantage for many businesses, it's important to note that outsourcing comes with its own challenges. Fortunately, there are strategies your business can adopt to oversee and maintain quality when outsourcing.

In this blog post, we will delve into these strategies and provide practical tips on effectively managing outsourced work. Whether you're outsourcing a one-time project or a recurring task, these strategies will help you achieve your desired results.

Find the right hire

Outsourcing can significantly increase efficiency and productivity, but it's only an effective strategy when you choose the right person to work with. To ensure your outsourced project is a success, finding a professional who can meet your expectations and deliver the results you need is crucial. As a first step, spend sufficient time reviewing each candidate's portfolio and past experiences to see if their work aligns with what you're looking for. Check for testimonials from their previous clients to see if they have a track record of delivering quality work on time, and are easy to work with. For high-stakes projects, it's even worth considering running background checks to ensure the person is trustworthy. Once you've found a potential candidate that checks all your boxes, reach out to them to verify that they have the resources to deliver the quality you require.

Be transparent about your expectations

Before outsourcing any task, it's important to create a detailed project plan that outlines the work to be completed, along with your expectations for timelines, deliverable quality, and any other requirements. For example, if you're outsourcing email support, you need to specify the number of support hours required per week, along with the expected response and resolution times, and the tone that should be used for communication. When you clearly define and document your requirements, you can avoid misunderstandings down the line and be assured that your outsourcing partner is in sync with your expectations.

Create a communication plan

Discuss and agree upon when and how often you'll communicate, and what platform you'll use for your conversations. Based on your project's complexity, you can choose to receive updates on a daily or bi-weekly basis. You can even consider using a project management tool to make collaboration and productivity easier. Many tools can help you communicate, review, and share updates and documents in one place. By setting clear guidelines from the beginning, you can minimise the risk of miscommunication later on.

Be flexible and empathetic

One of the biggest obstacles of outsourcing is working with someone unfamiliar who may have a different working and communication style than you. There could be some hiccups along the way as you adjust to one another's way of working. To maintain a productive relationship, it's necessary to be flexible and open to finding a compromise that suits both parties. Building trust with an outsourced worker will help you achieve the result you are looking for.

Avoid micromanagement

Every individual has their own way of approaching and executing tasks. No matter how important a project is, nobody enjoys constant monitoring. When you excessively monitor your outsourced employees, you may make them uncomfortable, which can hinder their efforts to complete the job you hired them for. While you should check in and monitor their progress, too much monitoring or continuous communication can quickly become counterproductive. Instead, trust your outsourced employee and give them the space they need to deliver their best work.

Share constructive feedback 

Sharing timely feedback is an important part of managing an outsourced employee, but it can be tricky to do it in a way that is both constructive and upfront. To provide effective feedback, it's important to first acknowledge the effort the employee has put into the project. From there, be specific about what you liked and what needs improvement. Avoid giving vague comments that could be misunderstood. For example, instead of saying, "I don't like the background colour," you can convey your message more effectively by saying, "The design elements on the website are excellent, but I believe changing the background colour would enhance readability."
Remember that feedback is meant to improve the quality of the project; not to make the person feel judged or criticised. Therefore, it's crucial to be respectful and allow your outsourced employee to ask questions and respond to your suggestions.
Managing outsourced employees can be challenging at first, but it often gets easier with practice. To reap the benefits of cost savings and increased productivity, it's important to have patience and give yourself time to navigate and adapt to this new kind of working relationship. We hope this blog post helps you understand how to manage outsourced employees more effectively. Are there any other blog topics you'd like us to cover? Let us know in the comments.

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