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Effective Outsourcing Strategies for Cost Efficiency

The world economy is currently experiencing a slump. Now more than ever, businesses are trying to find ways to increase their revenue and decrease their expenses as much as they can. One of the solutions that many are turning to is outsourcing. Thus, companies are looking for effective outsourcing strategies to increase their operational efficiency.

 

Outsourcing is the practice of hiring external parties to perform services and operations more efficiently. By applying effective outsourcing strategies, you are able to cut costs and increase revenue.

 

Firstly, what are the benefits of outsourcing? Secondly, what outsourcing strategies should you apply to increase revenue and decrease expenses?

The Benefits of Using Outsourcing

Outsourcing is not a new practice but it has gained popularity in recent times. Businesses opt for outsourcing to increase their operational efficiency. This leads to an improved competitive advantage. By streamlining your production process, your operations become more efficient. An outsourcing strategy defines what can be outsourced to increase productivity and efficiency.

 

Here are a few benefits of using outsourcing strategies:

Gaining Access to Skilled Experts

Outsourcing provides you access to skilled people at a fraction of the cost. By allocating tasks to these outsourced workers, you have more time to focus on the core mission without having to supervise them.  

Focusing on Your Primary Business Activities

There are secondary functions that can detract attention and resources from your primary work. By outsourcing, you have the ability to delegate these functions to a third-party. Their primary business activity is dealing with the outsourced function.

Improved Risk Management 

By outsourcing, you are able to share risks with your outsourcing partner. Tasks get done well the first time around. 

Operating Your Business Around the Clock

More often than not, companies outsource to third parties located in different time zones. This means that, when your employees go home, your outsourcing partner continues with your operations. In fact, with these extended operation hours,  your clients can experience 24-hour service.  

Shorter Turnaround Times

Your outsourcing partner is skilled in their respective field. This means you will be able to get deliverables to your clients faster. Customers love fast, high-quality service and outsourcing allow you to give them exactly that. 

Using Outsourcing Strategies is Cheaper

By outsourcing, you have the ability to convert fixed costs into variable costs. This is because you no longer have to pay for staff housed in your company full-time.  In some cases, the actual cost of labour is cheaper. We strive to provide low-cost services to our clients at Noon Dalton.

Increasing Your Competitive Advantage

By operating your company efficiently, you are able to provide your clients with the best possible service. This gives you a competitive advantage over your industry rivals. As a result, you have the ability to increase your productivity and manage your resources efficiently at a fraction of the cost. All these benefits accrue to your clients in the long run.

 

Outsourcing has many benefits, not only for you but for your clients too. What outsourcing strategies can you apply to your operations to decrease expenses and increase top-line revenue? How do these outsourcing strategies work? Which outsourcing strategies are right for you?

Practical Outsourcing Strategies for Your Business

Regardless of the size of your company, cost reduction is always welcome. Cutting down on costs isn’t always an easy thing to do. But ultimately, if done correctly, you are able to increase your top-line revenue. Firstly, one of the most convenient ways to reduce your costs is by applying outsourcing strategies to your operations. Here are four outsourcing strategies that increase your operational efficiency and save you money, too.

Comprehensive Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

This is one of the most complex outsourcing strategies. A comprehensive BPO is a long term engagement with a third party to manage a broad set of processes across many areas in your organization. Both parties commit to contributing resources to the operations over the agreed period. Even though this strategy is comprehensive, you will still have to manage some operations.

 

Comprehensive BPOs consist of many contracts, including:

  • Master service agreement (MSA)
  • Multiple service level agreements (SLA)
  • Statements of work (SOW)

Selective BPO

This strategy is also complex but less integrated than comprehensive BPOs. With selective BPOs, you are responsible for training a third-party team. They manage many processes in one functional area of your business. For example, you could hire an external service provider to design a process for your operations. But, they would not be in charge of implementing the process themselves.

 

Selective BPOs are also governed by MSA, SLA, and SOW contracts. But, they are less complicated than the contracts used for comprehensive BPOs.

Licensing Agreement

Of the available outsourcing strategies, licensing agreements are used to source tangible assets. Examples of these assets can include software applications and real estate. Licensing agreements are usually taken on for many years and allow you to pay for the costs over longer time periods. If the costs are low, the payments usually occur on a month-to-month basis.

 

Licensing agreements for technologically-related assets are “Software as a Service” (SaaS) contracts. They have well-defined purchase order terms with specified unit prices per time period.

Contracting

This BPO is often referred to as “labour for hire” and is the least complex of the outsourcing strategies. With this type of BPO, you pay for a contractor to work on a task for a set amount of time.

 

This is used when you want to limit the complexity of your engagement and the length of time required for the deliverable. Thus, it is the most flexible and least risky way to manage your relationships with your external service provider. It’s one of the most cost-effective outsourcing strategies that you can use.

 

Contracting uses purchase orders with well-defined terms about specific deliverables. These prices can be determined per unit time or project term.

 

Thus, by applying one or more of these outsourcing strategies, you can streamline your operations. These are a few functions that you can outsource when deciding which types of outsourcing strategies to use:

Outsource Your Bookkeeping Function

Bookkeeping is a key function of your business. Consequently, mistakes in this department cost your company a fortune. You can mitigate this risk by outsourcing this function to another company. 

 

The risk of mistakes is also reduced because the company would specialize in offering this service. If mistakes are made, the legal and monetary consequences would fall onto the outsourced service provider. 

Outsource Your PR and Marketing Functions

One of the ways to attract clients is through your brand power and how well you market yourself. There are firms whose sole purpose is to work on your marketing strategy and improve your media presence.

 

By using this as part of your outsourcing strategies, you rely on professionals to grow your customer base. By increasing your customer base, you will maximize your top-line revenue. Your outsourcing partner can increase your interactivity with clients on social media platforms. As a result, you improve your overall customer relations.

Outsourcing Your Call Centre Function

Call centers can be exceedingly expensive to maintain in-house and one of the most commonly used outsourcing strategies. In fact, maintaining a call centre incurs the following costs:

  • Training costs
  • Maintenance of administrative resources
  • Office rent and technical costs
  • Data analysis
  • IT infrastructure costs
  • Employee recruitment costs

By outsourcing your call centre function, these costs are incurred by your outsourcing partner. Above all, this means that you have an even greater reduction in your overheads. 

Outsource Your Production

If you are a business that offers physical products, this is one of the most effective outsourcing strategies that you could apply. The cost of manufacturing in-house is quite high. So, by outsourcing to an external service provider, you achieve the same output levels (or higher) at a fraction of the cost. Thus, issues such as quality control are managed internally by your outsourcing partner. 

Outsource Your HR Processes

In a small business, HR is a manageable task. Once your operations start to expand, HR management becomes a time-consuming process.

 

By outsourcing HR-related functions, your outsourcing partner incurs the costs of these processes. In other words, your workforce can focus on the functions that generate income. This is one of the many outsourcing strategies that result in visible operational efficiency. 

Outsource Your Software Development Needs

All businesses tend to need software to manage their internal processes as well as improve their customer relations. You could hire a software engineer, but this can prove to be quite expensive and an exhausting process. 

 

By outsourcing this function, you have access to a team of software engineers who work to design customized solutions for you. Instead of having one software engineer, you have an entire team at a fraction of the cost. 

 

All of these outsourcing strategies result in increased top-line revenue and decreased expenses. You have the option of applying these solutions in isolation or using more than one of these outsourcing strategies at the same time. The key is finding the right partner for your outsourcing strategies and requirements. 

Noon Dalton: The Perfect Partner for Your Outsourcing Strategies

Our philosophy is simple. We engage with our clients to evaluate, establish, and manage remote teams. Noon Dalton helps to improve processes and increase productivity and profit. Furthermore, create customized outsourcing strategies to fit your business and help you to achieve your desired outcomes.

 

We constantly upskill our remote teams to ensure that they are on top of their game and ready to provide you with the best possible service. Our remote teams are based in India and the Philippines. Therefore, you have access to large populations of skilled people.

 

The power of the USD in comparison to their currencies means that labour will cost you less than it would in the United States. The aim for us is to generate value for your company and to keep your operations running, regardless of the state of the economy.

 

And so, by applying these convenient outsourcing strategies and partnering with Noon Dalton, you can increase your top-line revenue and decrease your expenses with minimal effort.

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Leading Your Company Through the Transition to Remote Teams

Change is always met by challenges. When outsourcing to remote teams, these challenges are two-fold. Firstly, your existing workers may be reluctant to accept your new remote teams. This could be for several reasons, fear of replacement chief among them. Secondly, a different management style is required for motivating and inspiring your remote teams.  Dealing […]

How to Choose Between Remote-Staffing and Outsourcing

Working in the ‘gig economy’ can help grow a business faster than before. When setting up a workforce, it is convenient to have access to a slurry of freelance workers. There is only so far you can expand when relying on freelancers. But, more workers means more space, and creating a bigger workplace presents a challenge for up and coming businesses. 

 

But, the modern workspace has evolved. With technological advances in telecommunications, we no longer need a physical office. There is no point in investing large amounts of capital in setting up a workplace when the same work could be done remotely.

 

The question is, how do you instil a distance working culture in your business? There are two options, either you can use an outsourcing firm or a team of individual remote workers. Each method has both advantages and disadvantages – the way forward depends on your unique business needs.

What’s the Difference?

Virtual team members are just that, team members. These workers are integrated into the structure of your workforce. Once these teams are established, they are managed by your business as an extension of your core team. The tasks best suited to a remote worker are continuous and repetitive tasks, such as administration and data capturing.

 

With outsourcing, you only have contact with the firm’s project manager. There is no contact between you and the workers. This is suited to projects that have a set number of outcomes and those that need specialized skills or equipment. Because of its large workforce, outsourcing is good for projects that require large amounts of work. 

 

There are several overlapping qualities of remote-staffing and outsourcing. You may hire remote staff through an agency or have an outsourced team that reports directly to you. Every company is different. 

The Cost

It’s all about the bottom line. Outsourcing may result in a lower cost-per-project, as defined by an agreed set of outcomes. Following this model, outsourcing has a more rigid pricing structure.

 

Remote-staffing provides flexibility, quickly allowing up and down-scaling. As the size of the team changes, so do your costs.

Level of Control

Outsourcing typically involves a single-point-of-contact between your business and the outsourcing firm. In contrast, remote workers are often managed in-house. This means that you are involved in the work process and thus have more control of the final product.

 

Control is traded for effective time management. The more hands-on control you have on the final product, the more direct management is required. The same is true for distance working operations. If you decide to use an outsourcing firm, you will not be required to directly manage the team, saving time and resources. 

 

The reverse is true remote-staffing. Remote-staffing requires intense involvement in the management process. This translates to time, energy, and other resources being spent on the project. 

 

There is an advantage to using an outsourcing firm over remote workers because the system checks and balances are already in place. When learning to manage your own remote team, you have to establish these protocols from scratch.

Pick Your Team

In contrast to outsourcing, remote-staffing gives you the ability to choose your employees. With outsourcing, you hire the company and have little to no say on who is on your project. Outsourcing firms typically have access to a wide range of talent. This makes finding the people with the right skill-set for your project an easy and streamlined process.

 

If you hire each remote worker individually, it may be more difficult to find properly qualified personnel. 

Company Culture

Your company culture is essential to any business, particularly a new one. Remote workers communicate with the different members of your core team. They are as much a part of your company as any physical worker. Whereas, using an outsourcing firm has more of an air of separation from the main team.

 

The tough choice is to decide what kind of ethos you want to create. This largely depends on the function in question. For example, if you are outsourcing accounting functions, the core team won’t need to be involved. If you were wanting administrative tasks done, your core team would need to be involved.

Breaking Down International Barriers

One of the chief drawcards of distance work culture is that you can hire people from all around the world. Outsourcing firms offer a benefit in this regard because they often have international branches.

 

This has the added bonus of finding employees in countries where the price of labour is cheaper than in your base countries. You can do this by finding a group of remote workers. But, outsourcing agencies have preexisting global ties, making this process effortless.

Scalability

The choice of whether to outsource or use a remote team is largely dependent on the amount of work to be done.

 

If there are huge quantities of work, it may be easier to hire an outsourcing firm than to set up a remote team from scratch. Simply because outsourcing firms already have access to a large number of skilled workers on-hand. This also makes outsourcing a better choice for projects that will need to be rapidly upscaled and downscaled.

 

Both methods of distance working improve scalability. By negating the constraints of the physical office space, you create space for infinite growth.

Key Points

  1. The ‘gig’ economy has allowed businesses to grow by employing freelance workers. There does come a time when your needs outgrow individual freelancers. This means that you will have to get more hands to do more tasks. Expanding physical office space is expensive; this makes distance work an elegant alternative. 
  2. There are two main types of distance work: outsourcing firms and hiring remote workers. Remote workers become a part of the core team of your company. They are well suited to repetitive tasks, such as administration and data capturing.
  3. Outsourcing is suitable for large projects and business processes that need specific skills and equipment. Pricing is generally based on project criteria or hours of work required.
  4. Remote-staffing takes a more hands-on management strategy. This gives you more control over the final product. But, with outsourcing, you communicate with a single project manager who oversees the rest of the team.
  5. Both methods allow for workers from all over the world. There is no physical barrier, making room for a global search for talent. This may also lead to decreased labor costs. It is easier to do with an established outsourcing firm, as they already have international contacts.
  6. If you are recruiting your own team of remote-workers, it may be difficult to find personnel with the skills you need. If you work through an outsourcing agency, there is skilled labor on hand.
  7. Although outsourcing may be cheaper per project, remote staffing offers more flexibility. This is because there is no fixed contact with an external firm.
  8. Both methods improve the scalability of your company. Once protocols are established, the group of employees can be added to the team with minimal effort. Using a large firm can help scalability, as there is access to a greater number of skilled employees.

A business cannot survive on freelancers alone. When you start to break through your shell, you need to make sure you have enough people to help you through the transition. Bringing on more full-time staff is expensive and requires an expansion of the physical workspace.

 

Thanks to developments in telecommunications, this is no longer necessary. Remote workers and outsourced teams can be just as productive – or even more so –  than physically present employees. At Noon Dalton, we are able to customize the perfect solution for you and your in-house team. 

 

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Managing Your Technology Costs in the Middle of the COVID-19 Crisis

The world of business as we know it has changed because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown restrictions have led entrepreneurs to rethink their method of operation to continue with production. 

 

Some companies have taken the approach of equipping their teams with the necessary tools to work from home. This may sound fairly straightforward but, in the long term, other costs may arise as a result of this decision. Your business may need more IT staff to manage the introduction of new technologies into your operations, and you may want to invest in newer technologies to improve efficiency.

 

Most companies are experiencing a financial slump at the moment. Spending copious amounts of money on state of the art technology might not be feasible right now. So, how can your CIO optimize the available budget for the technological upgrades? How can they manage your business technology costs during the pandemic?

Understanding the Bigger Picture

Before making any decisions, your CIO should look at the requirements for the new technological portfolio. The cost process can take place once they have an in-depth understanding. 

 

So, how can they get a better handle on the needs of your company?

Departmental Customization

If your company has many different units, there is a chance that the IT department might not have a full understanding of what each unit needs. Some units may add customizations to continue with their operations without your IT department’s knowledge.

 

Understanding the needs of each business unit is important to plan cost reduction strategies that cause little disruption. Your CIO and IT department will have to gather the necessary information to have a full understanding of the scope. 

Technology Business Management

It’s easy for your IT department and CIO to fall into the trap of applying ad-hoc cost-cutting measures. The desired strategy should have long-term cost-saving benefits, with a forward-thinking approach.  An effective way to create this strategy is by using the Technology Business Management (TBM) framework. 

 

The TBM framework enables you to integrate IT into every unit of your operation. It provides you with a mechanism or pathway to achieve this integration. Before, IT departments were divisions that were separate from other units. With TBM, your IT department is at the core of all goals and objectives throughout your company. 

 

The key is to make informed decisions, as opposed to spontaneous and panicked ones. All cuts should be made after careful consideration and research into the cascading effects that they may have. Now is the time to remember that the ultimate goal is to remain ahead of your competitors in the long term. The decisions that you make now could help you to achieve that goal or could leave you miles behind the competition. 

Prioritizing Spending and Projects

Your CIO and IT department can make informed decisions once they understand the technology needs of each business unit. This includes knowing the assigned value (overheads) required for each of your products and services. You might need immediate cost-cutting to keep your company afloat right now. But, strategic decisions will ensure the sustainability of the applied measures. 

Do Your Research

To decide on how to spend money and rank projects, CIO’s and their IT departments should do some research. They need to gather as much data as possible to explain their decisions to other executives. 

 

Your CIO must take the lead and ensure that they make the best possible technological changes for each department. Including scaling down your on-demand cloud services or evaluating your applications portfolio. Any overlaps in these areas can be consolidated or removed completely. 

Re-evaluating Investment and Governance Protocols

Your company should re-evaluate its policies surrounding investment and governance. Especially in light of the pandemic. Changes in the market will have an impact on your internal processes and outputs. You should reassess the targets and forecasts for each department and predict how they may have changed. Under the new conditions, tracking costs against deliverables will be key to understanding how your forecasts should look.    

  • Re-Evaluating Business Processes

Before the lockdown, waterfall-style project-based systems may have been ideal for completing projects. The standstill may have revealed some flaws in that system. The method might not be completely obsolete, but your CIO should check if there are more efficient ways of getting the job done under the circumstances. 

  • Flexibility is Key

As with any major disruption, flexibility is key to ensuring the long term survival of your company through the pandemic. Your IT department must adopt agile processes to keep your business flexible and able to handle any new changes that could happen. 

 

This pandemic has shown the importance of being dynamic and,  potentially, the need for automation. Applying these two factors to your company’s investment and governance processes could ensure the sustainability of your operations. The goal is to create strategies that build your company and make it resilient to sudden changes. 

Managing your Technology Costs

Flexibility and resilience are the secrets to making your business operations sustainable. You should ingrain these qualities into all aspects of your processes, especially your technology cost management. 

 

During this time of great change, IT is going to become critical to your company’s operations. Right now,  the temptation may be there to spend as much as possible on new technology in the shortest time. The uncertainty of the market and revenue generation makes this a risky choice. 

 

Your approach to dealing with change should be strategic. Engage with all the business units in your company and use an integrated approach to assist and manage their operations. The IT department can become a very resourceful tool to achieve this, especially if they apply frameworks such as the TBM. But, even then, mindful and data-informed spending should always be the priority. 

 

The ideal outcome is to create and apply strategies that can make your operations leaner and more cost-efficient in the long run. If done correctly, the productivity of your company may improve and these strategies can still be used long after the pandemic has ended. 

 

The key is to have a long-term mindset and to understand how valuable your IT department can be to improving your organization as a whole. This will make changes not only to your internal environment but to your company’s ability to deliver its products to its clients. Happy clients mean higher revenue. That can bring even more positive change to your employees and your organization as a whole.

 

We are helping companies to scale their operations throughout this crisis and beyond with virtual employees

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A Guide to Promoting Gender Equity in the Office

The issue of gender equity is societal. As individuals or even organizations, facing such a massive issue is daunting – seemingly impossible. What we can do is look at our individual workplaces and lead by example. This post is going to focus on improving gender equity in the office. 

 

We are mainly going to discuss gender equity in the office as it pertains to women, although gender itself is not binary. We must protect the rights of those who are different and don’t fit into a specific category. 

Strategies to Improve Gender Equity in the Office 

Before creating any new program for gender equity in the office, it is important to lay out a strategy 

  1. Systemic thinking: Remember that gender inequality has been a systemic issue in our society for generations. You’re not going to fix these deeply embedded issues by placing individuals under pressure. Rather, you need to identify the leverage points in the system surrounding gender equity in the office. Once you have identified these points, use them to fix the situation.
  2. Mutual buy-in: Everyone in your office is a part of the system, therefore, everyone is going to need to work together to change the system. It is particularly important to get the support of senior management and board members. Without this, there is no real change or development. When there is a lack of buy-in from the top, it results in the ‘glass ceiling’ – limiting women’s promotion opportunities due to their sex.
  3. Work with managers: Give your managers the skills to identify and harness diverse talent. 
  4. Including men: Gender equity in the office is not an exclusively feminine issue. Including men in the conversation is difficult, but important nonetheless.

Supporting Working Mothers 

In homes with children, women are usually the primary caregiver. When surveyed, nearly 80% of US adults responded that women face pressure to be involved mothers. While less than 50% said the same about men. 

 

The fact that we use the term ‘working mothers’ says it all. We don’t really refer to ‘working dads’. As it is assumed that a father works, it doesn’t have to be specified in speech. On the other hand, the term mother trends to infer that the woman is at home caring for her child and so, we use ‘working’ as a qualifier. 

The Motherhood Penalty

Statistics show that working mothers earn an average of 3%  less than childless women. This is aptly named ‘the motherhood penalty’. Interestingly, the opposite is true for men because fathers tended to earn 15% more than childless men. 

The Motherhood Penalty in the Remote Office 

Now that schools are closed, child care has become dramatically more demanding. Coupled with working from a home office, the results are stressful – to say the least. Holding a high powered Zoom meeting with a Toddler screaming and crying in the background is far less than ideal. 

 

This situation disproportionally affects the ability of working mothers to perform – exacerbating the motherhood penalty. Just another contributor to the gender equality gap in the workforce. 

 

True gender equality in the office must include remote workers and virtual employees.

Work-Family Justice

In her book, Prof Collins of Washington University describes the importance of achieving work-family justice and thus gender equity in the office, for women. Her main argument is that working moms don’t need life hacks or performance tips. They need justice – it’s the only way for meaningful gender equity in the office.

 

While governments and policies are essential in achieving this justice, social changes need to be made at a grassroots level for any real change to happen. 

Gender Equity in the Office by Supporting Mothers

Let’s look at how we can support working mothers and thus advance gender equity in the office.

Flexible Work Arrangements 

While we have highlighted the pressures working remotely can have on mothers, it may be the answer for some. For work arrangements to be truly flexible, virtual employees should be allowed to choose what works for them on an individual level. The flexibility could be in terms of time and location. As experts in remote staffing, Noon Dalton does our best to support flexible work arrangements.

Parental Support Programs

To be effective, parental support programs should offer equal benefits to any parent, regardless of gender. This has two purposes. Firstly, it’s a social statement. It says that men and women have equal responsibilities when it comes to child-rearing. Secondly, any program that singles women out will ultimately land up being stigmatized. Normalization is the key to success. 

 

Another strategy for normalizing working parents is by encouraging employees to display pictures of their families in their workplaces.  

 

Let’s consider Deloitte’s parental support program as an example. They offer working parents additional work flexibility – in terms of both location and time – for the first three years after the arrival of a child. 

Women in Leadership Positions 

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to improve gender equity in the office is to have women in key leadership roles. Again, changes to the leadership structure of your company should not be for show. To make a genuine impact, one token woman manager will not do. Note these key factors when creating your female leadership promotion program for internal and virtual employees:  

  • Equal training opportunities should be available to both men and women as well as the opportunities for advancement after training.
  • Challenges: it is important that women in leadership are not treated as tokens but given challenging tasks.
  • Develop mentorship programs: mentorship is key in bringing out potential leadership qualities in others. This also aids the mentee in developing their own personal network.

Noon Dalton is committed to promoting leadership diversity – take a glance at our team.

Identify Any Harassment

Gender-based violence stems from and gives rise to gender inequality. The work environment is no exception to this harsh reality. Statistics show that over 50% of women have experienced harassment in the workplace. Despite this, the same study shows that over 95% of perpetrators aren’t punished. Protecting women from both physical and emotional harm is essential to promoting gender equity in the office. Some key elements of an anti-harassment campaign are: 

  • Allow for anonymous complaints 
  • Ensure that each staff member has received anti-harassment training
  • The perpetrator must be punished, even fired if they are found guilty.
  • If the perpetrator is found guilty, your company should assist the accuser with filing criminal charges, if possible, as much as possible. 
  • If a complaint is made, try by all means to find out if there are any more victims.

 

While implementing an anti-harassment policy is essential to improving gender equity in the office, it is not the only step. As we have emphasized, gender inequality is a systemic issue – nothing is isolated. 

The Pay Gap 

Research shows that in the US women earn $0.79 for every $1.00 earned by men. The issue is not only that women are filling more junior positions as compared to men, but are actually being paid less for the same work. Gender equity in the office can only be achieved if everyone is paid fairly for the work. These are some essential steps in removing the pay gap: 

  • Allow employees to openly discuss their salaries.
  • Ensure that each job title has a defined salary. Sometimes the salary may be defined as a bracket. In order to achieve gender equity in the office, there must be clear criteria for the sliding scale. The most common criterion is experience. For example, a candidate with 5 years of experience might be paid 10% more than a candidate with no experience. 
  • Ensure that promotions and bonuses are considered in an unbiased manner. 

Key Messages

Gender equality is a complex social issue. In the wake of the global pandemic, returning to the office gives us a chance to address our institutional behaviours. Everything is changing right now, we might as well try to change it for the better. 

  1. Gender is non-binary. Your plan to promote gender equity in the office must cater to those who do not fit into a category.
  2. Gender equity in the office needs to be addressed in a systematic manner.
  3. All players must buy-in to improve gender equity in the office. Encouraging upper management and men to join the conversation is important for overall success. 
  4. The current global crisis has affected men and women differently. This is largely due to the social pressures of women to be involved mothers. This has exacerbated the ‘motherhood penalty’. 
  5. Flexibility and parental support are key in addressing the motherhood penalty – and by extension gender equity in the office. 
  6. The cycle of gender-based violence feeds into the issue of gender inequality. Ensuring the safety of all employees is a key part of promoting gender equity in the office. Implementing an anti-harassment policy is an important step here.
  7. Having women in key leadership positions and equalizing the pay gap are essential parts of promoting gender equity in the office.  

 

Gender equality is a complex social issue. While individuals and organizations don’t have the power to enforce wide-scale change, we can brighten our own corners. Outlining a plan to promote gender equity in the office is essential to creating any change.

 

We are a BPO services company helping businesses to scale their operations through the help of virtual employees that can assist with e-commerce, customer support, bookkeeping and more. 

How CIOs Can Overcome COVID-19 Challenges with the Help of Outsourcing Providers.

There is no denying that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the world. It has changed how we interact, how we live, how we travel, and how we work and communicate. Every aspect of our lives has been affected.

 

Governments across the world have put strong measures in place to halt the spread of the pandemic. Specific measures, such as lockdowns and shelter-in-place guidelines have shown promise in blunting the spread. However, they have also created challenges for CIOs in managing the implications of the crisis and supporting their organizations.

 

There are many actions CIOs must take in their response to the pandemic. Actions including supporting a workforce currently working from home and battling potential cyberattacks. Aside from this, they also need to consider whether to manage their outsourced services to maintain business continuity or to manage IT costs better in anticipation of challenging economic times.

The Philippines, which is home to more than 1.1 million call-center workers, instituted a 47-day lockdown. Similarly, India, with an estimated 3.1 million call-center workers, instituted a 40-day lockdown. Because of these measures, companies in these countries were forced to react quickly. Outsourcing providers placed significant volumes of orders for new laptops, while also adopting other tactical solutions. These included shipping desktops to their employees’ homes.

 

Demands on many outsourcing providers have also increased at the same time. To manage the increased demand for broadband packages as more people work from home, a media company had to hire 500 people to manage the sharp rise in call waiting times.

 

There is no denying that the outsourcing industry has been integral to the crisis response for many companies across all sectors. As an example, one CIO faced challenges with call-center support with the lockdown in the Philippines. With no disruption to service or quality, their service provider moved more than 50% of the call-center volumes to India – all in a matter of days. This would not have been possible should the business have had to rely on their own internal operations.

 

With the scale and prevalence of outsourcing in so many industries, CIOs must now work with their outsourcing providers to manage immediate issues. They want to position their businesses well for emerging implications in the long-term.

There are two areas on which we believe CIOs should focus their energies in this time:

  • Resolving any immediate issues
  • Building resilience for ongoing effects.

 

Resolve Any Immediate Issues

First and foremost, COVID-19 is a human tragedy, and now is the time to take care of your team – including your outsourced team. Like other companies, outsourcing providers are focussed on trying to remain healthy and taking care of their loved ones whilst doing their jobs effectively. Despite the stressful and difficult conditions. This requires flexibility and empathy from CIOs.

Actions

  • Ask your outsourcing providers how they are supporting their employees’ well-being during lockdown.
  • Work with your outsourcing providers to develop guidelines for the health of on-site employees. This can include dividing the workspace into smaller zones.
  • Ask your outsourcing providers to offer appropriate mental-health support for their employees. And, if possible, find a way to supplement that support.

 

The lockdown and remote-working model are putting unprecedented strain on the infrastructure of every outsourcing provider. Smaller, more nimble outsourcing providers may have given employees the necessary equipment for working at scale. However, internet service providers in areas that are heavily affected by the pandemic are experiencing service degradation. This is due to capacity overload or lack of robust infrastructure. This could compromise employees’ productivity.

 

There is also the possibility that a provider employee with critical knowledge of your company’s security, process, systems, and infrastructure, could fall sick. With no backup, your business continuity and technological ecosystem could be at risk.

 

While many CIOs have taken immediate steps with regards to COVID-19, deeper integration with outsourcing providers on crisis-response actions should be considered.

Make sure that employees providing critical services can work effectively remotely. 

Though many outsourcing providers have enabled their staff to work from home, CIOs must track their productivity and their ability to work in real-time. Ensure that outsourcing providers scale up key enablers, including:

  • Work protocols, such roles and responsibilities, decision rights and issue management
  • Processes such as communications and workflow
  • Technology, such as VPN, collaboration tools, network bandwidth, video conferences, and security
  • People management, such as health tracking and support.

 

Try to establish a daily crisis-response call with your outsourcing providers until the new working model proves itself.

Plan for any possible capacity rebalancing needs with your outsourcing provider. 

Productivity in infrastructure support has been expected to drop by as much as 50%, thanks to a lack of remote infrastructure availability. Work with your provider to understand their current capacity, and to plan for the possible impact of productivity decline.

 

Design rebalancing plans between outsourcing providers and/or locations. Encourage your outsourcing providers to give you early enough warning about any impacted services or resources.

Safeguard the continuity of outsourced critical hardware and infrastructure services. 

Have a detailed day-by-day plan with your outsourcing providers to track, monitor, and address any developments with critical servers, data centers, and network support. This plan should account for both reduced productivity of client and provider employees. It should also look at increased network usage and reduced productivity of both client and provider employees.

Ensure any BPOs, call centers, and help desks are ready for increased volume and any crisis-related customer questions. 

Many support services have seen surges in calls, even as their capacity is under pressure. CIOs should share any weekly workload forecasts and identify possible options for addressing potential surge capacity. CIOs should also work proactively to identify and address any emerging FAQs.

Build Resilience for Ongoing COVID-19 Effects

Once any critical needs have been addressed, CIOs should work with their outsourcing providers to prepare for what may come next. Proactivity is key for addressing the likely ongoing effects of the pandemic. This might include planning for possible capacity reductions, dealing with issues surrounding remote work, or developing approaches for addressing emerging needs.

Actions:

Build real-time crisis-monitoring dashboards.

Work with your provider to build real-time dashboards for tracking necessary metrics. These include service levels, status, capacity, and risk areas.

Assess back-up capacity for critical subject-matter experts.

Identify any critical subject-matter expert roles with your outsourcing providers and build backup plans. This should include documentation and knowledge transition, to back up resources. Assess the possibility of outsourcing providers using or sharing capacity across locations or services in case of shortages.

Reallocate resources to critical projects. 

Work with your business partners and outsourcing providers to identify and prioritize technology solutions that are critical for business. There may be common industry solutions that your provider could be able to make you aware of. Consider reallocating any resources from non-priority projects.

 

As businesses come to terms with the human toll of the pandemic, they will also need to work closely with their outsourcing providers. So as to understand the financial implications, as well as find solutions that could benefit both parties.

Work with your outsourcing providers to improve your financial resilience. 

Work with your outsourcing providers to assess how they could help your business to weather the current crisis. This could mean pushing out payments, adjusting the mix of labour in locations, or implementing lean transformations. Understand the needs of each party, and plan any financial arrangements accordingly.

 

For example, one organisation changed the spend mix with its provider from capital expenditures to operating expenditures. This provided immediate cash benefits to the provider in return for favorable in-year credits. These credits were redeemable at the end of the year or within the following year. Explore any options available for cutting discretionary spending from contracts – even minor spending such as expense-line items and travel.

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for strong partnerships with outsourcing providers. And the need for critical technology resilience. The effects of the pandemic may yet continue to shape the industry for years to come. For example, business continuity planning may come to be defined by how effectively a provider could shift workloads across geographies.

 

Becoming comfortable with remote working could also provide CIOs with the opportunity to accelerate the shift to new operating models. With the ability to work with talent in any location, teams could be empowered to work without in-person face time. They could build support models with the flexibility to ramp up and down quickly across locations, or institutionalize agile methodologies for distributed or remote work at scale. In some cases, working with outsourcing providers offers the capability to accelerate important transformational programs.

 

Whatever the path, CIOs must work with their outsourcing providers to not only manage the current crisis but to power business forward.

 

Whether you need to expand your workforce or assess your costs, our BPO services can help you to navigate this pandemic. 

 

See:

 

Why Maintain, When You Can Grow Your Business During Covid-19?

The world is facing a challenge unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. The COVID-19 Pandemic has raged through the word like wildfire, leaving the global economy in a near depression. Social distancing practices and country-wide lockdowns have caused demand to plummet. Businesses are closing their doors. Millions are losing their jobs. Many feel that staying afloat is the best we can do for our business. 

 

Let’s challenge that mindset. Let’s use this time to grow instead of just maintain. This pandemic is only in its beginning stages. Experts predict that it may be as long as two years before they find an effective vaccine. In other words, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

 

Social distancing, and other coronavirus prevention practices, are here to stay, at least for the near future. Adapt or die. In the face of a global recession, business growth is going to be difficult, but not impossible. Your growth is good for everyone. Economies are built on the backs of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can save economies as well.  

Take the Time to Find Your Feet 

The change in the global demand structure is having a unique effect on every business. Most have had a massive decrease in cash flow. On the other hand, there are those experiencing a massive surge in demand. This is true of medical supply companies, video conferencing platforms, and e-commerce based companies. You need to assess where you are before you can try to move forward. 

So, Things Aren’t Looking Good…

Your business is suffering? You are not alone. This challenge does not mean the end of your business. It is of the utmost importance to step back and evaluate your position. This is the only way to chart a new course toward growth. It may be overwhelming to look at problems in their entirety. The following questions should help you break down these complex issues, one step at a time. 

  • “What is the precise cause of the decrease in demand?” This may seem like a senseless question, but it is crucial. You need to narrow down exactly what factors of social distancing protocols are affecting your trade. A well-defined answer is best. The answer may include several points, but it should be as clear and exact as possible
  • “Can I adapt my current business to the new socio-economic climate?” This is a follow-on from the previous question. Once you define the cause of your trouble, you can put together a plan to overcome it. If you are a retailer, your problem may be a lack of face-to-face contact. A simple solution here would be to set-up e-commerce sites and delivery services.
  • “Are there any barriers to servicing my existing clients?” Servicing your existing clientele has never been more important. When the dust settles, your clients should have the confidence that you are reliable. This comes from weathering this storm together. Your normal means of customer servicing may be unavailable. For example, you may be unable to travel to meetings or prohibited from doing physical maintenance. Use available technology and resources to overcome these obstacles. This may even be as simple as a call to check-in with your customers.
  • “Are there any gaps in the market?” A successful entrepreneur is always looking for a way to address the needs of the public. Try to find innovative solutions that will allow you to use your current resources to bridge any market gaps. An example here would be 3D printing companies. Many companies that use 3D printing technologies are producing ventilators that are essential in fighting COVID-19. 
  • “Are new resources required?” Changing your business model is no mean feat. You may find your needs have changed. Extra resources such as staff, equipment, and IT support may be needed.
  • “What can I do to maintain growth when the economy returns to normal?” Although we are going to be fighting this disease for a long time, the economy will hopefully normalize in the future. As a society, this pandemic is likely to cause long-lasting changes in behaviour. That being said, when this is over, we must still be able to deliver our current services to our customers. In other words, make sure you put measures in place to protect your current business before focusing on growth.

We’re Doing Great!

On the other end of the spectrum, your business may be experiencing a boom. The demand for your product or service has grown. Which is great! You deserve hearty congratulations on this front. Yet, you are at a crossroads in your journey. You need to make a decision on how you are going to meet this surge in demand. You have tough decisions to make. You need to increase your supply. 

 

Companies rely on their employees far more than employees rely on their jobs. Without your people, you can’t function. So, you are probably in a position where you need more hands on deck. This can be tricky. If you increase your staff complement by too much, you may find that when markets return to normal you are left with a salary bill you can’t afford. If you grow by too little, you won’t be able to meet demand without compromising quality. A decrease in quality is never acceptable. 

 

Time is another problem. With a rapid change in demand, the change in supply needs to be equally as fast. If you cannot meet your clients’ needs, they will find someone who can. Putting your business under immense pressure. 

 

Merging these ideas, you need a workforce you can grow to meet a rapid surge in demand. This growth must be fast. Maintaining the ability to shrink your workforce back down is also essential. Outsourcing offers an elegant solution. When outsourcing, you bypass the recruitment process, which is often extremely time-consuming.

 

The onboarding process of remote workers is generally a lot quicker and easier than training full-time employees. If you work through an outsourcing agency, the onboarding process is normally handled for you. Additionally, remote workers generally do not have the same contractual requirements as permanent employees. This gives you the flexibility to match your workforce with demand. 

Room to Grow 

During this time of restricted movement, it is easy to focus on what you can’t do. Shifting perspective and focusing on things you can do is good for growth. Some key areas to focus time and resources are:

  • Outreach

The world is upside down. Economies are crashing and health systems are overloaded. Governments, private companies, and citizens have been giving selflessly towards fighting this pandemic.

 

SpaceX has started manufacturing face shields, hand sanitisers, and hosting blood donation drives. This is just one of many inspiring contributions made by big business. Join this fight. You don’t have to make a multi-million dollar donation to help. 

 

Evaluate your resources, perhaps there is some small way you can help during this time. An act as simple as using social media to share correct information about social distancing can go a long way. As much as outreach does look good for public relations purposes, this should not be your main goal. Uplifting your community during this time is a small step towards fixing our global economy.  

  • Web Presence 

Digital marketing has become even more important in the current crisis. As many adopt a work-from-home model, more time is spent online. Developing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is the perfect lockdown challenge. There are many ways in which companies present themselves online. You need to find the best way for your company to reach its target audience. Focus particular energy on:

  1. SEO Campaigns. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial step toward helping customers find your business. When a potential customer searches for your business or a key phrase related to your business, you want to be on the first page of results. The easier it is for customers to find you, the more customers you are likely to get. Publishing high-quality content incorporating well-researched keywords is the best way to bolster your SEO score.
  2. Social Media Presence. Social media is a major part of any digital marketing campaign. There are many ways to use social media to become more visible. The most important thing to bear in mind is that your campaigns should be audience-specific. Advertising focused on corporate clients is much more likely to be successful on LinkedIn than Instagram. 

  • Expense Management

Everyone hates budget cuts. In a time where you are trying to grow your business, you need to make sure you are spending money in the right way. Try to invest more money in avenues that result in growth. In order to do this, you will need to cut the budget for other areas. No expense is too small to be evaluated.

  • Keeping Your Team Motivated

Every ship needs a crew. This is an extremely difficult time for everyone. Changes in business operations are likely to add more stress for employees. In this time of social distancing, communication is more important than ever. Constantly checking in with your staff can help to add some much-needed stability. 

 

So, how do you make sure all of this happens properly and with little detriment to your business? Well, consider starting with outsourcing. 

Outsourcing With Noon Dalton 

Outsourcing is a way to promote business growth while maintaining the bottom line. The current crisis is causing us to change our approach to business. Doing all of these changes in-house can compromise quality on both new and pre-existing functions.

 

Noon Dalton offers a full package to meet all your BPO needs. We care about the growth of your business. Your growth is our growth. This is why we offer consultation services at no extra charge, along with:  

  • Virtual Employees. The shift toward remote working has been accelerated by the fight against COVID-19. We provide an excellent team of remote workers. The function of your remote force is only limited by your imagination. Outsourcing administrative tasks such as document processing, or even managing social media posts, are just a few popular tasks for remote workers. Businesses are likely to experience fluctuations in demand during this COVID crisis. Outsourcing allows you to up or down-scale your workforce according to your demand.  
  • The Switch To E-Commerce. As we have discussed, web presence has become even more important amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Many businesses do not have the in-house expertise to properly manage their online functions. E-commerce management presents a major challenge.  At Noon Dalton, we have many years of experience in e-commerce support. You can focus on selling, while we focus on the nuts and bolts of your online platform.  
  • Customer Service. Servicing your existing clientele is extremely important. Noon Dalton offers a range of customer service solutions. These include telemarketing and call centres, among others. 
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). The recruitment process is time- and labour-intensive. Full-time human resource managers are expensive. Yet, the knowledge and expertise provided by a skilled HR team are irreplaceable. Outsourcing the recruitment process helps you find the talent you need, as soon as you need it. With the added benefit of saving your pocket.